But before we go any farther, can we get a shout out for K. Syrah, Meri, Megan, and Betsy who provided fabulous guest posts during my absence? Thanks so much guys!!
My week "away" kicked off with a friend's bachelorette party two Saturday nights back. Because I live at (what sometimes seems like) the ends of Earth, I don't get to see these friends nearly as often as I'd like. It's always fun when we figure out a way to spend time together despite the miles and schedules.
After a "layover" in the Twin Cities, on Tuesday, my friend Sarah and I headed down to the Amtrak station to catch the early morning train to Chicago only to find flooding on a western segment of the track had delayed the train by six hours. Rather than expecting customers to wait that long for the train to arrive, Amtrak provided inconvenienced travelers with complimentary bus travel to Chicago. While I was happy to avoid the delay, traveling on a packed coach bus wasn't exactly what I'd been imagining when I'd booked the tickets.
Nevertheless, we made it to beautiful Chi-town, where it was actually SPRING!!! I cannot express in words my excitement to find beautiful blossoms bursting out of every planter and garden in the city.
Sarah jokes that vacation with me should really be called "boot camp." In my mind, unless our feet throb at the end of the day, we haven't really traveled. Although I've been to Chicago many, many times before, this was the first time ever I'd spent days (four to be exact) on end in the downtown Chicago and I wanted to make sure we took every advantage of our hotel's convenient location right on the Chicago River, just a couple blocks up from Millennium Park. We spent a fair amount of time down on the Museum Campus on the city's south peninsula.
|Hobnobbing with Sue, the T-Rex at the Field Museum|
|Watching the Jellies at the Shedd Aquarium|
|Hanging out with the lions over at the Art Institute|
In between our "cultural" experiences, we got in some shopping at Macy's, including dinner in the Walnut Room, (I'm really sad the store is a Macy's now instead of Marshell Field) and up on the Magnificent Mile, where I was very happy to find an H&M. While I love/prefer/can only afford fashion that stores like Target and Kohl's offer, sometimes as a Minnesota girl living in a sea of Target stores, it's really nice to get some clothes that aren't Target brands!
We had excuses to get gussied up for a couple evening shows: Spring Awakening (ugh) at the Oriental Theater in downtown and the Blue Man Group (amazing and indescribable) up in Belmont.
|Pretending to wash the Hancock Building windows.|
We DID get to take the train back to Minneapolis. I really do think the train is an awfully romantic way to travel, even if it is laughably inefficient. (While it takes about 7-8 hours to drive to Chicago from Minneapolis, it took us nearly 9 hours on the train, even without any delays.) I would recommend the train for its roomy seats and the unique experience. Just be prepared for lackluster customer service (at least, before you actually board) and remember, the Amtrak's timetable is more of suggestion than it is a promise.
|Sunset on the train, near Winona, MN|
Vern from TLC's "Trading Spaces." (I know, I know . . . who?) He was on board our river architecture tour!
Hope you've all had a wonderful start to May! Andy's got vacation days at the end of week, so where we'll end up is anyone's best guess, but there'll be plenty of guest posts to tide you over until I really truly return.