We took one of our first real vacations this last week – a trip not attached to a conference, a family event or a holiday. Just the four of us. Four days away from the world here and up to the much bigger world in Chicago. I’m happy to say that we survived, even though it’s been years since I’ve had to navigate big city driving. We stayed downtown in a hotel by the River Walk (thanks to a good Hotwire.com deal) and spent two and a half days exploring the Museums on Museum Campus, Millenium Park, Maggie Daly park and the Museum of Science and Industry. On the way out we stopped at Starved Rock State Park for a few hours of hiking – it was gorgeous, but so many stairs! I hope to take us back this fall just for a day to finish up the trails when the leaves are turning, and hopefully, see a few waterfalls in the gorges. We discovered the joy of take out and ordered our breakfast each morning from a place called Wildberry and ate crepes, french toast and pancakes by the “Bean” in Millenium Park (I highly recommend this if you’re visiting – the wait for the restaurant was about 45 mins to an hour, so we just put in our order as we left the hotel and it was ready to be picked up by the time we walked the half mile down from the hotel.) We picnicked at the museums from our backpack filled with sandwiches and other lunch food and then ordered take out from Giordano’s when we started the walk back.
I have to hand it to my six-year-old – 10 miles of walking each day, and while there was some complaining he did it all. And walking instead of paying for parking and navigating traffic was definitely a good call.
It was a great little trip, but it was definitely good to have a reminder of why we no longer live in a big city. The chaos, clutter, and noise are not a payoff we’re willing to make for the sights, sounds and experience it has to offer.
The only thing I wish I could have gotten to while we were there was a Mass at St. John Cantius, which I didn’t know about until after we had arrived. It’s a parish known for it’s Latin Masses, plus they do the whole daily prayer (Vespers, etc.) routine and I wish I could have made it over the worship and experience of it. Maybe next time.
Over all a good trip and just the right length and things planned. I am excited that we’re at the point of life that we can do things like this again. I do love to travel and explore and we spent the drive home listing out the National Park and places we want to take the kids over the next few years – “Up North” along the Great Lakes (oh how being on the Lake made me crave the Up North again), over to the Rockies and up to Yellowstone and Glacier, over to D.C., down to the Mammoth Caves and the east coast and back “home” to Oregon at some point. Sweet dreams are made of these.