Wednesday, March 25, 2015

#176 He is a Chicago Bulls Fan

Last week, Hubby and I went to Chicago. 


Our expectations were low, but it isn't Chicago's fault. You can't really have high hopes for the second city when you have the greatest city practically at your doorstep. Truthfully, we were only there for a much needed visit with my brother and sister-in-law. Even still I might have had the teeniest speck of regret over not booking a trip to the Bahamas instead. After the winter we have had, going to the Windy City prematurely chilled me to my core.

Though it takes second place in city size ranking (and truthfully, now sits in third, behind LA), Chicago proved itself to have an allure and appeal close, I stress the word close, to that of my beloved NYC.

Instead of flying out of Philadelphia or Newark as we usually do, we decided to try the Trenton/Mercer airport that we have heard tell about from family, friends, and coworkers. The highlight of the airport is location, ticket price, and speed (only two flights go out at a time, therefore check-in is phenomenal).

The highlight for me?

Five extra inches of leg room and an empty seat beside me for our two-hour flight.

This is what luxury looks like.
I was in heaven. It was basically the best flight of my life.

Hubby and I stupidly skipped breakfast (we had to be up and out by 5:00 am) and were starving by the time we reached our family. This led to a trip to a local bakery, Bravo Bakery, which Joel and Mallory had cased out before our arrival. You'll have to wait to read about most of our foodie adventures over at The OrangeStrainer but I’ll give you a peek into how well we ate during our trip:


That right there is a basket full of heaven.

While I was booking our flight to Chicago, Hubby was checking to see if the Bulls would be playing. Thank goodness they were or I would have heard about that for longer than I would like.

Once we sugared ourselves up with pastries and coffee, we were ready to head into the city. Our hotel was about thirty minutes from the city center which had its ups and downs. The major up was that we were on a quiet highway, near some great coffee shops (a Caffé Bene to boot!). The major down was what followed at the end of our night.

It's pretty good*, so read on, dear reader, read on.

*Good meaning horrible.

We decided that since the basketball game was that night, we should probably connect with a train to get into the city. There was no way we were going to park at the stadium--that madness was certainly not what we had signed up for with this trip! So, we parked at the closest train station to our hotel. 

Mistake number one.

Jefferson Station of Chicago is one spot I will never, ever forget. Nor will I forget the self-park lot across the street.

More to come on that.

Are you sensing the terrible horrible thing that happened?

The transit system in Chicago is not at all like NYC. First of all, the obvious, it isn't underground. Which is actually a little trippy. It is so much louder that my ears were singing afterwards. In NYC all roads lead to the Subway. In Chicago, it is more like 'some' roads. The strangest part was that it was busier at night (as in, 10:00 at night) than the afternoon hours.

It was well past lunchtime when we began searching for DMK Burger to help sustain us until dinner. If you can call it dinner. Due to the time of the game, we had to make our dinner reservations for 5:00 pm. Which in my world is insanely early for dinner.* Add in the fact that it was about 1:30 pm and we still hadn't eaten lunch, and you've got one confused set of tummies. 

About ten minutes into searching for the DMK burger Hubby had chosen (we realized last minute that there are several locations in Chicago) we realized it was in the Soldier Field stadium. Naturally, instead of calling it quits, we walked around about half of the stadium until we could speak to a live person who could tell us what we already feared. 

What's the saying? If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans? Yeah, that's the one. We were really cracking God up that day.

Our next plan was to head to the Flower Show at The Navy Pier, but that was a good half hour away. So instead we headed over to The Field Museum which was featuring a Viking exhibit. Hubby has some sort of Scandinavian heritage and therefore has a healthy curiosity of Vikings. We grabbed a bite at the museum's cafe so that I didn't turn into a Viking myself and attack everyone. The food was...typical. Let's just say I won't be blogging anymore about that part of the trip. 

If you want to feel like you have stepped into the movie "A Night at the Museum" you need only visit a natural history museum such as The Field Museum. Visitors are greeted by "Sue" the T-Rex who is "the largest, best-preserved, and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex ever found. Sue measures 42 feet long from snout to tail and 13 feet tall at the hip. She boasts 58 dagger-like teeth...".


Sue is truly a magnificent sight to behold, as were the other dinosaurs in the dinosaur exhibit.

The Viking exhibit was packed with information and mind blowing artifacts such as sewing needles the size of small pencils, a millstone which really put Matthew 18:6 into perspective, and Viking ships.

Viking Age Burial Boat

If you are into this sort of museum (I'll be the first to admit, it isn't everyone's cup of tea) plan your morning and afternoon around it. We were still adjusting to being in the city and to our packed to-go-to list that we didn't get to spend too much time there.

Our dinner reservations were calling, and even though we had eaten only a few hours ago the craving for a quality meal was rising. Again, you'll have to read about Little Goat Diner and our amazing dining experience over at The Orange Strainer, but trust me, this is one meal description you'll want to read!
It was either an eight minute, $10 taxi or a 30-minute walk. 

Can you guess which one we chose? That's right...the taxi. There was no way our full bellies would get there in time walking.

I hadn't been to a basketball game since high school, which also means I haven't been to a professional basketball game in...ever. 


For someone who isn't anywhere near being a sport enthusiast, I enjoyed myself immensely. We were only a few rows from being as far as possible from the court, and it only added to the fun! At half-time, we walked over half of the stadium in search of their main store so that Hubby could search for a jersey. Thank goodness they had it! We also picked up Jon a Benny the Bull mask, because how couldn't we get that for him?


It was somewhere around 10:00 when we finally reached the train station to head back to Jefferson Station and our car. Like I said before, the ride back was far more entertaining than the ride into the city. It started with a few other Bulls fans marked by their Bulls gear of ski hats, jerseys, and t-shirts, and quickly became a mixture of far more colorful individuals. There was the one gentleman wearing a red bandanna who conspicuously took it off and pocketed it about five minutes before getting off the train (that was my personal favorite). A few rows in front of us sat a group of oddly matched women with ages ranging mid-twenties to late forties. Mixed between was a random scattering of couples, friends, and acquaintances. By far, the most hysterical, was the last group of men to board the train. Four men with a certain boy band reject flair about them got on and stood holding tightly to the straps hanging from the ceiling. There weren't any other seats available, but as they opened up three of the men immediately sat while the fourth, remained standing. This was fine by me, because it gave me extra time to take in his greased back hair, and dangly earrings made of Lego pieces, gears, and something that I'm certain may have been bone.

I could have slept right there amid the motley crew of train riders, but our stop came and I realized how eager I was to get off. Until we stood before the parking garage with its gate down, locked in place, and the words "Cash only, Open until 10:00 pm" nastily glaring in our faces.

One of my biggest fears had come to life. 

After the twenty minute wait for a taxi, and a price tag I'm not willing to talk about yet, lesson learned. Loud and clear, Chicago. Lesson learned. 


No comments:

Post a Comment