I spent a few hours exploring earlier today, I walked along the canal and went up to State Street. If the weather hadn't gotten a bit too bleak and having no umbrella I would have walked further.
I was lucky enough to get to spend a few minutes catching up with one of the sweetest friends that used to work with me. She is a doll, and when I text messaged her that I was wandering around Chicago she immediately told me where to find her. She is almost to the lake, and I really was going to walk there, but the dark clouds and random drops had me scurrying back toward the hotel. I will catch up with her for lunch tomorrow - I can't wait!
This city is an interesting mix. Old and new, glass and granite, it all competes but doesn't. It sort of blends. There were areas that I walked where I could have sworn I was back in Europe. The bikes, the buses and people rushing around. Remarkably if it weren't for construction, large trucks or the L it is amazingly quiet. Most folks are rushing around with ear buds in, no conversations to be had. The occasional ear splitting whistle rings out as a door man calls for a taxi. Evidently there are lights on the buildings to page a taxi, but they find it more efficient to let out an incredibly loud and sharp sounding whistle to attract attention.
Its a crazy bustle of multi-national, multi-racial humanity, all moving at an alarming speed. I seriously think I was the only person in Chicago today that was simply strolling through the city. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry to get somewhere.
Sitting in our hotel looking out it is amazingly quiet. Except for the occasional truck or the L it is like watching a silent film. I can't tell if the darkness is the incoming weather or tinted glass. I am fairly certain it is the weather, I am seeing lots of headlights on the cars zipping past.
Frankly there is no amount of money in the world that would induce me to drive in this city. I was having some serious flash backs to Rome and Brussels, these folks are highly aggressive drivers. We were almost hit several times! Seems if you don't like the lanes drawn on the roads here, you can simply make your own lanes and no one better get in your way!
Watching the umbrellas start to open. Such serious colors. Where is the pink, green, blue with duckies. Everyone seems to be carrying a dark colored umbrella, that only emphasizes the bleakness today.
Hubby and I went walking when he got out of his meeting. Let it be noted that 5:30 p.m. is not a good time to decide to go for a walk in Downtown Chicago. It was a crushing walk against everyone, and it didn't matter which direction we were walking, we were going the wrong way. We walked through the theater district and the financial district. Took pictures of City Hall - nope Mayor Emmanuel was not there. At some point during our walk the heavens opened up and dumped so much water on us, we discovered the L is good for more than transportation. It also makes a great huge city wide umbrella!
We found a wonderful little deli to eat dinner in and watched the city close up for the evening. I would have never thought Chicago had streets that roll up at the end of the day. Tomorrow I will do a bit more exploring while he goes to his meetings, I will have lunch with my sweet friend and then we will head to Urbana. It's time for the final chapter of this session of college, there is fun waiting there this weekend.
It's been a nice little visit, but I am pretty sure I am simply a country mouse... I don't belong in the city!