Matthew here, checking in from the Windy City.
Day Seven has come to a close and it’s been … well, a day. I’ll give you a quick rundown of what happened.
As you can probably guess, we didn’t get up on time — again. I have absolutely no idea why this has been so hard this trip, but we’ve really struggled. I’m not even going to tell you how late we were because it’s just embarrassing.
After we finally left the Airbnb, we headed to a nearby coffee shop, Gaslight Coffee Roasters. Unfortunately, they did not have a roaster on-site, so I don’t have any cool pictures to share with you. Pictures of our food will just have to do.
After wolfing down our breakfasts (which were delectable), we headed to Shedd Aquarium.
It’s quite the operation. Penguins, turtles, seals, whales, dolphins, snakes and even a few monkeys (yeah…we don’t quite get that one either) were all featured in their simulated habitats.
The aquarium is situated on a point to the south of downtown Chicago and afforded a pretty great view of the skyline, so we had to grab a few shots of that.
Then began the trek toward the Art Institute of Chicago.
This was mostly for Valeri — just as the Aston Martin dealership was pretty much just for me — but I will say that it was really neat to see some of the super-famous artists’ work in person. You can’t help but appreciate it. I did lose track of Valeri a couple of times throughout the many galleries. I couldn’t help but wonder if I would ever see her again … between an art gallery and a bookstore, she might not end up needing me for very much.
The Art Institute’s in-house eatery featured Illy coffee and had some amazing looking confectionary treats … and we couldn’t resist. Anything made with Nutella pretty much has “Resistance is futile” written right above it in my eyes. A little piece of heaven is in every hazelnut-ty/chocolatey bite.
On the way out of the Art Institute we got to listen to a few street drummers, banging away at the tops of buckets with all their hearts.
We then hopped aboard a bus bound for even more food. I’m really not sure how many calories we’ve ingested during this trip — and I don’t know that I want to — but this restaurant was aptly named Fatso’s Last Stand.
Fatso’s is a Zagat’s best-rated Hot Dog and Burger grill. It’s a tiny, greasy little place, but everyone knows that usually means the food is great … and it was.
Valeri had a Single Fatso with cheese and I had a Dipped Italian Beef with Giardiniera. Quite tasty!
Due to switching some events around, we had some free time to fill, so we started north toward MicroCenter.
If you’re not familiar with it, MicroCenter is a hobbyist electronic store and is definitely another thing that is pretty safe to assume is just for me. I am a sucker for an electronics store, and this one is as big as they come.
The route to MicroCenter isn’t serviced by an L-Train, so we got on yet another bus … which was no problem at all. The problem came when we didn’t get off the bus.
Yep, we missed our stop by about 30 minutes. The bus was hot and sticky, so it’s really amazing that we weren’t listening for our station name so we could disembark from our
bakery bus … but we weren’t and didn’t, so we wasted away in there, oblivious to the fact that we passed up the stop at the corner of It’s Cooler Out Here Lane and Sweet Relief Boulevard.
We finally caught on to our mistake and got off the bus, catching one going in the opposite direction.
Now, I should say the whole point of this trek was to pick up something that I could very easily have ordered online, but I have a bit of an issue.
For whatever reason I’ve made up in my head, I don’t like to order things online, which makes absolutely no sense —— especially knowing my age and that I work in the tech industry. In my head, there is just something about walking into a brick and mortar, picking up an item, deciding that is definitely the wrong item, choosing the correct item, then taking it home right that minute … or talking myself out of the purchase altogether.
So, there’s that. I now own all the components to make a Raspberry Pi Zero-powered hygrometer for my guitar case. If all goes well, I’ll get it assembled with only minor injuries and maybe a bit of my sanity left. Pray for me.
We decided to drop off my goodies at the Airbnb before our last stop for the day — Navy Pier.
This place was massive. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that. There are little tourist-trap retailers and food vendors scattered through a conglomerate of buildings along the core of a pier that extends 3,300 feet into the (at this time, icy) waters of Lake Michigan. It’s a great way to kill some time and get a few sights in.
It was getting late and we kind of skipped supper, so we decided to find some food on the way back to the Airbnb. We definitely found food.
Dough Brothers serves some of the biggest sub sandwiches I’ve ever seen, and man they were great. We were arriving to the shop just in time to catch the end of the Raptors vs. Warriors game. If you know me at all, it won’t surprise you to hear that I had to look up the names of the teams just now, because I had no clue there was even a game tonight — let alone who was playing. I’m not much of a sportsball fan, but the rest of Chicago definitely is. We heard cheers in the streets and saw many faces glued to screens.
Right. Well, that was our day. I hope you haven’t been bored to death by my attempt to recount the details. If you have, please accept my most sincere apologies.
Check back in with us tomorrow for our final full day in Chicago!
“I give you Chicago. It is not London and Harvard. It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib. It is alive from snout to tail.”
– H. L. Mencken