Surviving Chicago: Day Eight

Val here. Bear with me as I try to knock out this second to last post of Chicago.

9:30 a.m.
• Arbor
We were a little confused when we first walked into this building because the coffee shop isn’t the only thing there.
It looked to be the lobby to an apartment building at first, but when we did find the coffee shop, we decided it was a business space in the bottom two floors and lofts above those.
It’s an interesting find. The coffee shop has a minimalist theme in an open space.
It’s a hard one to explain, but the coffee was good.
Matthew wanted to try their Sunflower Berry smoothie and enjoyed every bit of it, but then we remembered that Matthew needs caffeine in the mornings … no one likes a decaf Matthew. He’s a bit grumpy.
So we’ll be in search of another coffee shop soon.

10:30 a.m.
• Magnificent Mile
Okay, I have to preface this with the fact that I’m not a shopper. I don’t mind window shopping, but I have to be in a certain mood to actually do some shopping.
… And I’m not in the mood this morning.
I mean, it has taken us an hour and a half just to get through the eight (EIGHT!) floors of Macy’s and the mall it was linked to.
That’s just one block of the Magnificent Mile.
It’s all a bit overwhelming and a shopper’s dream … but a shopper I am not.
So other than Macy’s (and the mall it was connected to), we were only able to hit H&M and Best Buy before it was time to eat.
I want to pass out from the (physical and mental) exhaustion that place causes.

11:45 a.m.
*Note: Matthew has still not had coffee … things might get ugly.
I have a photo of him sleeping on the bus, but I won’t post it — I need to stay on his good side since he’s the one who makes coffee for me in the mornings.

12:15 p.m.
• Portillo’s

I’m not sure we knew which way to look when we first came in … there’s so much going on.
Matthew was happy to find an Italian Beef and Sausage combo on the menu, while I had a cheeseburger … this is the second place we’ve been to that stated their burgers were the best in the city, so I had to find out who was lying.
Portillo’s was lying.
Their burgers were good, but it’s no Fatso’s Last Stand.

1:40 p.m.
• Dollop
We’re currently filling Matthew with caffeine, and I’m getting some reading in (Eat, Pray, Love) as we wait for our phones to charge a bit. Everyone’s happy.
Our friend, Mary, told us about this one and we were hoping to pop by at some point, so it was perfect that we happened upon it just when it was needed.
It’s always nice while on trips to take these little breaks to sit in a cafe or at a park to watch how people go about their daily lives. I especially like to people watch in the mornings when they’re hitting up their favorite coffee shop in the morning before work.

1:30 p.m.
• Harold Washington Library
This place has seven floors.
On our way to the top, we’ve come across a Vietnam veterans memorial. The memorial is made up of 58,307 dog tags hanging from the ceiling.
Matthew was able to find his biological grandfather’s name and it showed you the section in which his dog tag was hanging.
Matthew’s told me before about his grandfather being a pilot, but it was interesting to hear him add a little bit more to his story and how he passed during the war.
The rest of the library is actually pretty dull with the exception of the atrium on the top floor … which has made up for the rest.

3:30 p.m.
• Navy Pier

As you remember, we came here last night after dark, but we wanted to come back to see it in the daylight.
It is very windy today, but the sunny skies still makes it a beautiful day by the water.
I’ll miss this view of the city. There are impeccable skyline views from anywhere along Lake Michigan.
I’m continually amazed by how big the city looks from this view, but I swear even though we’ve visited as many parts of the city as we could, we’ve walked the same streets numerous times.
Before leaving the Pier, Matthew found some cinnamon roasted almonds, while I stuck with an ice cream cone from Ben & Jerry’s. The number of desserts we’ve had on this trip should put us into a sugar coma for a month.

7 p.m.
• Riverwalk
We decided to take one last walk along the river tonight, even though my feet were numb from walking so much over the last seven days.
I’ve decided I’m training for our next trip.

8:30 p.m.
• Mother Hubbard Sports Bar
We needed some food, so we stopped in here to eat.
Guys, this place has 41 TVs and it’s not as big as you would think for a place with that many TVs.
There’s also a 10-person group that has become our entertainment for the evening. They’re a riot.
It has definitely been a good last stop in Chicago and Matthew has declared it his favorite bar.

Extra tidbits:
— I’ve wondered every morning when we board the metro what time people here start work. We’ve boarded at 8:15 a.m. and it’s rush hour on the subway.
We’ve also boarded at 9 a.m. and it’s still rush hour.
The same goes for 9:30.
I’m just very confused about it being rush hour here until around 10 a.m.

— Something we learned about riding the bus: Those with strollers have to take their child out of the stroller, then fold the stroller before the bus can move. Which means either you hand off your child to a stranger or you try to convince someone else to take a crack at folding up the stroller.
Turns out, there are quite a few in this particular instance who wanted to take a crack at folding up the stroller as the mother held her child. Four people tried and zero succeeded.

“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

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