Journey To The Windy City


So, as with all mornings that I have to travel on there was a bleary-eyed half-four in the morning dash to the coffee machine and a quick check of all items before heading out into the pouring rain. I have never seen it rain like this I was just glad I wasn’t driving anywhere as I thought I would be all tucked up on an Amtrak to Chicago. I was really looking forward to it. I got myself to the right platform after Luke braved the early morning start and the pouring rain to drop me off. I think he must want to get rid of me or something?. Yet my plans were thwarted from the start as to my dismay a train guard, at least I think that’s what he was although he was dressed rather casually, evaporated out of nowhere to inform me there was a two-hour delay on the train. My face fell until he informed me that they had requested a coach for us all. I think that was better although the prospect of being back on a long bus journey wasn’t particularly enticing.

After a brief wait I staggered on board the bus with my bags and managed to secure a seat to myself. I sometimes prefer to sit by myself to avoid any awkward conversations. Maybe I am anti-social but at that time in the morning the coffee had yet to kick in and I had already suffered a change to my plans so I wasn’t feeling particularly chatty. Later, I had to relinquish my seat when the bus was inundated at the next stop. However I had already managed to eat my packed breakfast which consisted of yoghurt and grapes, a bagel with jam and cream cheese and some nuts. Perfect even though it was mildly interesting trying to eat my breakfast on a very dark coach as the driver had switched the lights off. Therefore, whilst I was trying not to get yoghurt everywhere, I looked around and there were lots of people sprawled all over the seats comfortably in the land of nod. I also distinctly heard a spot of snoring coming from the back row. It was just like being at home!

Finally as it got lighter the welcoming Chicago skyline came into view amongst the grey sky. It was still beautiful even though it was muggy as it made it feel a bit more atmospheric. I couldn’t wait to get exploring the streets and boy did I explore them whilst I was trying to find the subway. Not so good with all my bags, especially when my handbag’s handle broke! Luke had told me to pack light but as usual I am always right and he is not except, perhaps, this one time However, I went and asked the man at the ticket office who produced a map and a joke. I must have said the underground as he asked me if I was going to Piccadilly. This threw me a bit untill he explained himself. Oh, so it appears Chicago dwellers have a sense of humour do they? umm.

After a bit of an amble to the station I triumphantly, but maybe a tiny bit prematurely, got on the subway. I then managed to get myself off and wait for the bus. I was pleasantly pleased with my progress untill I boarded the bus and was informed I needed the one going in the opposite direction. Whoops, good job I asked! Maybe I need Luke a tad bit more than I realise not that I shall tell him that. Eventually I was on the right bus and arrived at Arlington. However, the road wasn’t spectacularly signposted and I ended up at 2556 W. Arlington Place when I needed 616. Is it just me or does everyone suffer misdirection like this? I backtracked and crossed the road for the fourth time. Finally I found myself walking through a picturesque, leafy avenue with lots of grand houses and I came to my hostel.

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Yey! Success and I did it all by myself. Would you believe I am twenty-three and I find this a huge achievement, almost like exploring the Arctic. Oh dear.

I then stored my bags and found out I have had an article published on iVillage, which made my day even better. I then went and explored Lincoln Park. Even my tired feet perked up as I spotted a cupcake bakery (which had the fantastic sign outside saying “If you leave your children unattended they will be given an espresso and be told to ask for a puppy” can you imagine the mayhem!), a few bars, a few boutiques and even a meatloaf bakery where you can get savoury cupcakes. It’s a must try me thinks.

I procured a few nibbles from the supermarket and retreated back to the hostel a lot less flustered and more settled than the first time. I then had a lovely coffee from a pod an waited for the imminent arrival of the songstress that is Liz. Then the LiLu adventures would begin! For now I have checked in and somebody mentioned they had a good friend from Manchester and I didn’t sound like them. They told me that their friend described Manchester by asking if they had ever watched Shameless and then telling them that’s pretty much it. I then ventured into the room and set up our feast for the evening.

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