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Published: June 23rd 2018
Well we had set the alarm to go off at 3.20am which is a crazy way to start a holiday but we had a 7.03am flight to catch and as are going to Chicago, it’s an international flight with extra security. Breakfast was not open but they let us grab a muffin and some bananas. The shuttle to the airport was not operating so they put us in a taxi for the short 10 minute ride to the United Airlines terminal.
We had a good run through security and immigration, and interestingly we did not go through Canada immigration but through USA even though we were in Canada? The good news is that means when we arrive in Chicago it is a domestic flight so no security when we get there. We had breakfast at Tim Horton’s where Kerry had a medium coffee and shared a Cheese melt with Elise whilst I had a large coffee and the bacon and cheese melt. Elise had a real fruit smoothie with strawberry and banana flavor. The food was excellent. Kerry had researched this place which is highly rated for their breakfast options.
I did a little shopping where I bought a
Canadian licence plate for the Bali Hut display as well as a Vancouver t-shirt, and a key chain for Elise.
Everyone was on the flight so early we left the gate at 6.48am which was 15 minutes ahead of schedule. We had decided to pack the little suitcase we have as we were told we had a weight limit for carry-on luggage but as usual on USA domestic flights people bring on board ridiculous sized suitcases to avoid checking them in and the overhead compartments were fully very early on.
The United plane was a Boeing 737-900 3 x 3 configuration. It had about 40 rows and we were in seats 36a-b and 37a. I had downloaded the United App prior to getting onboard as this gives you free wi-fi on board to watch their entertainment on your own devices which was cool. I watched the movie called Darkest Hour about Winston Churchill becoming PM. It was an excellent movie and the story about Dunkirk was very relevant after I watched that movie yesterday ! I loved one of his lines where he said “stop interrupting me whilst I’m interrupting you !”. Another of his classics was “those
who never change their mind never change anything”.
We landed in Chicago at O’Hare Airport after a four hour flight at 12.40 pm and arrived at the gate at 12.56 after a very long ride getting to the terminal building. It was a long way to get to the baggage claim area which probably explains why so many people like to bring as carry-on. That's another US State ticked off we have visited with Illinois being # 33 of the 50 required. We were not sure about getting a Taxi into downtown or the train, or a shuttle. We decided in the end to get a shuttle which had about 15 people on board. The weather is fine and sunny and it is hot about 35 degrees and quite humid. It took about 35 minutes to get to downtown and how lucky were we that the first drop off was our Congress Plaza Hotel.
It is such an old grand building with stacks of history and stories about haunted rooms by the bucketful ! After checking in we went upstairs to drop off our bags in our room and Elise was mesmerised by the golden elevator doors. We
then went for a walk along South Michigan Avenue northbound. We stopped into Shake Shack and had the obligatory burger experience to start our American journey. Kit was father’s day here so I got a free custard desert to go !!
Next we went to the AT & T shop to get our SIM cards installed which was a breeze, and then I went to the Avis car rental place to make sure the car was ready to pick up in the morning, whilst Kerry & Elise did some shopping in Macy’s. We spent a while shopping here which is a major department store. I got two pairs of Greg Norman Golf shorts which were 75% off the list price of USD $50.00 and we got some Nike socks for Luke (12 pairs for $24.00).
We then headed to the Chicago River to walk along the River-walk which was lovely and peaceful. We eventually decided to hail a taxi to take us to Navy Pier which is a big dining and entertainment precinct which is built on Lake Michigan. Amazing views of the city here. As we had the burgers late we were not really hungry for dinner,
but got a Margarita and Strawberry Daiquiri for the girls and I had a Dos XX beer watching the boats out on the lake coming and going through the locks into the river.
I spotted a cool Chicago licence plate with Wrigley Field on it the home of the Chicago Cubs but did not buy it as I want to have a look around first to see what else is available. Our first look at Chicago reveals it is a lovely city, with very beautiful architecture and grand buildings mixed with modern buildings. Beautiful sidewalks with plants everywhere. Tomorrow we pick up the hire car and start the road trip, and we will be back here in a couple of weeks to spend a bit more time here with our Chicagoan friends Dave & Michelle.
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