Last weekend I got half way through writing a blog about 2017, but didn’t finish or hence publish it (it’s still in my drafts, just in case…). I just went back to re-read it and it felt a bit depressing and blah blah, so I’m going to scrap that and give you a more positive read to start your weekend!
I just looked back through my Personal Instagram Account photos of the last week and I’d somehow managed to get the word happy into 3 consecutive posts which kind of sums up how I must’ve been feeling at that time. Very H A P P Y! And I still am. Last week’s holiday to the Windy City was well needed and well overdue.
We got to ring in the New Year in the weirdest but most wonderful way; stood on the sidewalk outside our hotel, watching all of the cars pull over on the highway at midnight, horns going bananas, with one woman screaming (completely normal) and fireworks shooting from the pier in the background over frozen Lake Michigan.
For the rest of the week we did almost all of the touristy things you can do (some using the Chicago city pass) & I’d recommend all of the following (particularly in Winter!):
- Visit the bean sculpture in Millennium Park.
- Take in the sights of Lake Michigan & Navy Pier (preferably from the warmth of a hotel room)
- Walk on water aka Lake Michigan (if it’s frozen… and with extreme care!)
- Visit the Jon Hancock Observatory (94th floor) & do ‘Tilt’ if you’re a thrill seeker.
- Go up to the Skydeck (103rd floor) in the Willis Tower
- See a show (we saw Potted Potter; all 7 Harry Potter books rolled into a 70 minute comedic show with 2 actors; it was brilliant and I totally recommend it. We also got ‘Rush’ tickets on the day for only $25, an absolute steal! Just walk up to the ticket office just before lunchtime and ask their availability.)
- Visit the Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, Field Museum and Solider Field (all in the same area)
- See a movie at the AMC dine in cinema.
- Visit the Chicago cultural centre (it’s free, and warm)
- Shop at Macy’s on State Street (the big one!)
- Go to the Chicago’s sports Museum – it’s interactice which is a load of fun and also free if you eat at Harry Cary’s
- Walk up Michigan Avenue (and shop…)
- See the river (or do the river walk if it’s open and not frozen…)
- Go to a Chicago Bulls basketball game, even if it’s just for the the half time entertainment. We witnessed the New Years Day baby race which was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen – they literally raced crawling babies across the court.
- See ZooLights at Lincoln Park zoo (the zoo is also free)
- Watch the skaters on the ribbon in Maggie Daly’s Park & take in the city from a different angle in the play park.
- View the city from the Adler Planetarium at night. It’s spectacular.
- Eat your body weight at all of these places; Cheesecake Factory, Pizzeria UNO, RJ Grunts, Casa Margarita, The Nutella Cafe and Harry Cary’s
- Finally, make a friend (or work colleague) before you visit and if they’re amazing, they’ll take you on an hour and a half tour of Chicago in the warmth of their car (and to see the city at night, see above). Thank you to Bob our friend who showed us Chicago from a perspective we wouldn’t otherwise have seen!
We only picked up WiFi in public places which was brilliant as it meant we could completely switch off and not become social media / google monkeys chained to our phones sat in our hotel room. Instead, Tom found a murder show called Forensic Files to put on every evening we got back – how romantic.
WiFi aside, the trip was made all the more memorable by bringing back a bit of frostbite (or frost nip, I’m not sure which. Either way, my hands are still slightly stinging and sore from the cold). We were able to
experience shelter from the coldest New Years Day that Chicago has had since 1969 and were in one of the coldest states of the USA when even Alaska had a higher temperature. The bitter weather front and wind chills with temperature extremes below -30degC was insane and something we might never experience again, but it didn’t stop us enjoying our week away. All the cold weather actually completely numbed my foot every time we stepped outside as well, so it meant I forgot about my problem for about 90% of the time. Hoorah! I’m not sure yet if that was a good or a bad thing, but taking my mind off of everything, including #footgate, was just what I needed, so I’m still in a happy place about it all.
After arriving home yesterday afternoon, eating more crappy food and 3 loads of washing later, today was ‘back to reality’ and I’m grateful that I was able to spend my day sat on the sofa working, not getting out of my PJ’s until lunchtime. I was tired enough getting up and starting work at 7:30am, let alone having to commute into London. My body still very much thought it was the middle of the night!
Whilst we were away, not much progressed with the house apart from our buyers finally having their mortgage valuation undertaken last Friday. We sort of expected nothing else would happen, given the Xmas/New Year bank holidays and little time around this, but yet again it’s taken a few extra days for their mortgage paperwork to actually materialise and so we’re now looking at an earliest exchange date of next Friday.
It feels incredibly frustrating that one person’s mistake or lack of ‘want’ to get something done can cause such a long delay (probably near a month for us), but in hindsight it’s not such a bad thing for us. The original proposed completion date would have been today and I don’t know how I’d physically have been able to move today without potentially overdosing on Pro Plus, let alone having to box everything up yesterday. The extra few weeks gives us some time to slowly pack everything up, follow up on a few quotes and sort our financials out, as well as the usual working and seeing family/friends rather than becoming complete moving/DIY hermits for the whole of January. It also gives me some more time to persuade the un-convinced Tom that Hague Blue, Farrow & Ball is the perfect colour choice for the living room…