It's been a Whirlwind!

Well I guess yesterday literally was!

I might understand that Windy City thing now..
I started walking at 8:45 a.m., I didn't stop at all until 12:30 p.m. and then only for thirty minutes.  I finally stopped walking/running at 1:55 p.m. At which time my legs were shaking and I was pretty sure that I was going to collapse.  I haven't walked that much since I was in Germany last year. 
Good Morning Chicago... time to move!

I felt guilty.  I was still having mixed feelings about Chicago when I wrote on Thursday and so many folks let me know I was missing the best parts of Chicago. I was feeling lousy about maybe harshly judging a city that evidently had far more to offer than I had discovered on Thursday that I set out to find out what I had missed.

I am now willing to say... Wow!  I might have been a bit premature in my assessment.  I ended up taking over 225 pictures and walked over 10 miles around downtown Chicago.  Mostly inside the Loop, but also including Millennium Park, the water front, Chicago Riverwalk, and a bit of Michigan Ave.  I saw the Future Maggie Daley Park (in fact it was the bane of my morning as all routes I was trying to walk were blocked by the construction, getting to the water front was very difficult).

Hmmm... not sure how to feel about this!

The Wrigley building, the Chicago Tribune, Sears Tower to name a few.  It was simply amazing to look at it all with the intent of discovering it's hidden secrets. 

I was grateful to have seen Millennium Park before all the school buses of kids arrived, it was peaceful and beautiful in the early mist of the day.  Quiet with just a few folks strolling, yep I finally found the people that were strolling, I was no longer the odd nut in Chicago.

It was a drizzly, windy cold day.  The mist and fog never went away, by the time we left that city there were still buildings that you could not see the top of.  Makes you wonder what they see out their windows on days like that.  How surreal it must be to look out of your office window and never see anything but a swirling mist.

At 12:30 I stopped walking and snapping pictures to have a chilly lunch outside with Jamie, she is such a sweetie and I miss her more than I realized.  She picked the perfect little spot for us to have lunch Hannah's Bretzels, ironically when I had walked past earlier in the day I had thought it sounded yummy and was wondering if it truly was as good as the ones back in Germany.  Without knowing that Jamie picked it as our meeting place.  How awesome is that? I knew Hubby would be in meetings until 3:00 p.m., and as it was only 1:00 p.m. I walked her back to work so we could visit just a bit longer.  Our stroll back took about twenty five minutes and as we were standing and visiting hubby called to let me know he was done. 

I quickly wrapped up and started hurrying back.  I was wearing his jacket after all, and even though he only had a city block to walk, it was 46 degrees and he was wearing short sleeve shirt.  I am not normally someone that walks fast, but I managed to join those Chicago speed walkers rushing through the streets of downtown.  Roughly a mile and a half in less than 15 minutes, Hubby was safely warm in the hotel lobby by the time I arrived.  And we were able to save the $22 per hour it would have cost us to park from 2 p.m. - 3 p.m., and that is a normal rate???  I dare anyone to scold me for the $1.50 for as long as they stay at my Y again!

As we were leaving Chicago, heading out looking at the ten mile traffic jam, I realized that while it is a beautiful city I am still not a city girl.  I enjoyed the city, the views, the unique things I saw. I don't do well with the crush of humanity.  I innately gravitated to the solitude of the lake front walk and the Riverwalk. I avoided Navy Pier, even though I could see it in the distance and it was only another mile walk.  I found myself at peace strolling along while the rush and hurry was above me.  I enjoyed watching and listening to the chaos of the area, but I enjoyed it from a distance.

Two and a half hours later we arrived in Urbana, UIUC is bustling this weekend.  The class of 2013 is graduating today and tomorrow!  My youngest will don his cap, gown, stole and cords, he will officially complete his four years of intense study at the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign.  I am unbelievably proud of him!! Tons of  pictures will be taken even if it is supposed to be rainy and the Alma Mater didn't make it back in time.  We will enjoy the day with him, our oldest and our beautiful grand baby.

Today will be a day of closures. Last night we went to Papa Del's for pizza, he's been eating there since he was a freshman. We kept our grand baby last night so the kids could go and enjoy graduation parties with his friends.
Today... who knows where all we will go, but it promises to be busy and crazy too... first stop the ARC - need to pick up that cap and gown!

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