Tag Archives: Chicago

Chicago 2016 – Day Four (oh no more shopping!)

After a restful nights sleep where I think we both had about 10hrs & 8hrs sleep each (guess who had the 10!) we had a leisurely start to the day.

We had breakfast out at Butterfields (http://butterfieldsrestaurant.com/index.asp) & both of us elected to have egg Benedict. But that was not straight forward as were offered it with hash browns or grits. We knew what hash browns were & I’d heard of grits but not sure what they were, so i asked our waiter. The answer was “it’s hard to explain but they are like ground corn, i can bring some over for you to taste if you would like?” “yes please”. When they arrived they reminded me of porridge (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grits). On first taste they were a surprise that the American palate likes them as they usually have a sweet pallet. The waiter explained that they are usually eaten with a knob of butter in, so we tried that but that was not to my liking. Michele added a little maple syrup & that was OK but i prefered them just plain. They were however not what i would have had with eggs Benedict. good job we elected to have the hash browns. The eggs Benedict though were delicious.

After breakfast we’d offered to take Aunty Jilla out shopping again with us and rather than sit at Julie & Joe’s on her own (as Julie & Joe were at work, while Elle was at school) she accepted the offer to be put through the heavy shopping campaign Michele was intent on having.

The first shop of the day was Costco (http://www.costco.com). Once in the store you could have been at Costco in Haydock Park or even Trafford Park. It was all a similar shopping experience to the UK Costco but in $ not £. It was interesting walking round though that the more expensive cuts of meat in the UK (Steak & Lamb) was cheaper in the US, but the cheaper cuts of meat (Flank/skirt) was more expensive in the US – how odd. Michele bought ANOTHER pair of shoes, while Aunty Jilla bough some PJ’s & a LARGE bottle of Bacardi for Julie.

Now off for some more serious shopping this time to Oak Brook Mall (https://www.oakbrookcenter.com/en.html), we shopped here 2 years ago & Michele was intent on coming back to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch. Again she was not disappointed, with tee shirts & shirts for the kids. Then it was the Microsoft store & a look at the Surface Pro 4 (http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/Surface-Pro-4/productID.325711500?s_kwcid=AL!4249!3!82559571893!e!!g!!surface%20pro%204&WT.mc_id=pointitsem+Google+Adwords+5+-+Surface+Pro+4%2F4&invsrc=search&ef_id=VyubxgAAAT-ZFqD9:20160511013118:s). I did tell her no though as i’m not sure we as a family will get the benefit. OK last shop of the day was Nordstrum (http://shop.nordstrom.com/?origin=tab-logo) nothing bought again (Yippee), Oh No i;ve been conned its not the last shop of the day as there’s a Macy’s (http://www1.macys.com/index.ognc?cm_sp=navigation-_-top_nav-_-macys_icon) on the mall too! I’m still having nightmares about our trip to New York City in November 2015 where i spent nearly 3 days in Macy’s!!

Back at Julie & Joe’s for a coffee & a chat after they both came home from work, then we left them to it & headed off to find some tea. Mcdonalds it is & a meal that was not overfacing us.

Tomorrow though is Chicago day, we are catching the train from Lisle to Union Station, Chicago for a day of spending time in my favorite city.

We may not be back in time for me to post an update tomorrow so you may have to wait until the morning after.

Night all

Chicago 2016 – Day two (finally a trip to Morton Aboretum)

Lazy day today, but what do you expect after being up for over 25 hours yesterday?

I was awake just after 07:00hrs (local time) and caught up with the sports news on the BBC Sports pages (http://www.bbc.com/sport) and was mightily impressed with the new that Amir Khan had been knocked out in the 6th round by the mexican Alvarez (http://www.bbc.com/sport/boxing/36240559). It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Michele & i headed out for the ‘all american breakfast’ at Morningside cafe, lisle. Michele settled for an omlette while i had scrambled eggs & sausages all washed down with unlimited coffee. The place was full with families but we managed to get a table.

Then it was off to find some supplies for the room, water & snacks from Jewel Osco, Wheaton (http://www.jewelosco.com/mobile-welcome/?http://www.jewelosco.com/). Michele even squeezed in a little bit of shoe shopping and managed to get some ballerina style shoes for $15, a bargain I was told!

In the afternoon we popped over to Julie & Joe’s & as Elle & Aunty Jilla were out they took us over to the house they are having an inspection undertaken on tomorrow as they have sold theirs. The house is currently empty but we only managed a tour of the outside. It in a great location & gives both Julie & Joe something to work on & call their home. It’s livable in now but there are jobs that they both can work on & put their own stamp on over the years to come. There is plenty of outside living space too where they can both come home and chill after a hard day at work.

Later in the afternoon we left Joe & Elle at home as Joe had some work to get on with while Elle was chilling. Aunty Jilla, Michele, Julie & I headed off to the Morton Arboretum (http://www.mortonarb.org) for a walk through the gardens. The queue to get in was 3 lanes full of slow moving traffic. We weren’t delayed too long but it was Mothers Day today in the US so all the families had taken it upon themselves to head out & treat their Moms. While walking about we were lucky enough to see a large eagle type bird land in a tree only feet away from us. Not sure what it was but i’ve some pictures to show my dad & maybe he can tell us what he thinks it was.

After a pleasant walk we headed back over to Julie & Joe’s to catch up with Chris who had called over to see Julie for Mother’s day.

We’ve left them all too it for a while so they can spend some quality time together but will be catching them up later for our evening meal, at Granite City (http://www.gcfb.com/location/naperville-illinois), we may just ask the hotel to either organise us a taxi or drop us off so i can have a beer (or two!)

Chicago 2016 – Day One (My Wife is a bad travel companion!)

Buzzzz that was the alarm going off at 03:15 But we’ve only been in bed since 23:00!

Up we got, shower & a the last decent cuppa for the next 8 days!

We are off 04:05, leaving the Lewis & Josh tucked up asleep and on my way to my daughter’s where the car is being left. Sam had kindly offered to take us to the airport just like Drew did two years ago.

Check-in  was at 05:00hrs for the 08:00hrs flight to Dublin.

“Michele what terminal are we flying from?”
“Terminal Two” was the reply, so that is where Sam dropped us off.

But Oh No, inside the terminal there were no Aer Lingus desks, Michele checked the booking information again & it’s Terminal Two Dublin but Terminal One Manchester. No worries just a quick 15 minute walk on the Gladiator style ‘travelators’.

I had already checked-in online but couldn’t print the boarding passes out, again No Worries as I’ll do that at the automatic ‘check-in’ hubs. Oh No you can’t ‘Please see a check-in desk.

Only one Aer Lingus desk – No Worries, we are only 2nd in line – SORTED

Now through security – well I am anyway, where is Michele? Struggling to get the gate open. Come back she gestures, how can I, I’m already through. Speak to the man who’s there to help. SORTED. Only to find we or Aer Lingus had mixed the boarding cards & passports up. Probably me 🙁

Eventually through security & Michele was off in search of a bargain in Duty Free. £110 down & being assured that was a bargain for 2 bottles of perfume/Aftershave, and 35 minutes taken to choose Michele’s. But remember its a tradition.

Now where is she, over by the Radley (other brands available too) handbags & purses. No I’ll leave it and look in Macy’s – SHOCK.

Now for breakfast – 2 bacon butties & 2 coffee’s £16.60 – Note to self eat before you get to the airport.

Out of Manchester 10 minutes early, weather warm & dry. Into Dublin 35 minutes later wet & damp. Not a problem we’re in the terminal for the next hour or so.

Irish customs pull Michele’s handbag over for a sniff test, maybe we should have bought the Radley one! OK all clear on your way.

Into US customs. Passports & ESTA ready.

“Where is your blue declaration form please?”

“We’ve not got one”

“OK please go over there  fill one in & remember only one per family travelling.”

“I’ll fill this in if you hold the passports Michele”
“OK”

Form completed, ESTA & passports ready – “OK you’re clear please go to security. OK clear now go to US passport control”

Michele “where are the ESTA’s”

Me “you had them”

Michele “No I didn’t you did”

Me “you had them with the passports while I filled out the blue form, have you left them on the writing desk on the other side of security?”
Michele “yes :(”

Nice Irish lady retrieves the ESTA’s now we can go to US passport control. All scanned, Michele’s ticket comes out so does mine, however mine has an ‘X’ on it, which means we get split up. Michele is through passport control in under 10 minutes. Meanwhile it takes me 30 minutes. All they wanted was more fingerprints & another photo of me. Along with “where are you going & why”. “Do you also recognise these two bags” “yes they are our cases” “OK on your way”

Same gate for departure as we had last time. Still time for a Guiness or two before we board though.

The Guiness may have been a mistake as I was sat on the taxiway doing 7mph bursting for a wee. That must have been the longest wait I’ve ever had & must be karma as the flight captain is  woman & I’d taken the mickey by saying did she need me to back the plane out.

Now sat comfortably bathed in sunshine row 9 seats A & B on the Airbus 330 from Dublin to Chicago.

The flight over the Atlantic was pleasant enough and we hit the tarmac in Chicago on time.

A short wait for three bags at the carousel before heading off to pick the car up from Budget. Followed by a short 30 minute drive to Lisle to the Hilton where we unpacked before heading out to catch up with Joe, Julie, Elle and aunty Jilla.

I’ve now been up for 25 hours so it’s out to bed for me – KNACKERED