Going Solo On A Boat Tour In Chicago


The next day followed a similar pattern of up early, one Lu on flight to Toronto, one Lu on a run to the space museum. This time with no rogue waves or runaway dogs or diversions through smelly underground car parks. Although there was a massive group of Yogis having a lesson in the park – I did want to join them but I was unsure if it was free and I thought my post run smell may interfere with their inner harmony!

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 I headed back and managed to locate a bell boy this time to get my luggage. I by accident left him standing outside for ages until reception called to let me know he was there, but a do not disturb sign was also, whoops! Our luggage was then safely stored for the rest of the day and I went to get my caffeine fix at the milk bar again before heading out in search of lunch.

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This came in the form of chicken chilli from the Protein Bar, which I enjoyed sat in front of The Bean.

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I even got a preaching/ conversion talk from three kids half my age, in a similar style to Dot Cotton quoting the verses.  It was interesting to hear what they had to say and I always admire people with so much faith and conviction, even if I felt old when I had to explain to them what the age before Facebook and social media was like.

After that interesting post lunch talk I went for a stroll around the Grant Park/ Millennium Park before heading back into the centre. It was time to do something I have always wanted to do but not managed on my previous trips to Chicago, it was time to go onto the river on a Wendella Architecture Boat Tour. After being directed through another car park I safely emerged to board the boat listening to Disney’s Be My Guest, which was a rather jolly way to start a boat trip. I then spent a really enjoyable 75 minutes learning all about the different style of buildings in Chicago and about important bits of its history. Including the rumour about the great fire being started by a cow that kicked over a candle in a barn…

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I then headed back to Grant Park, planning to get myself a coffee, and found myself being drawn to the outdoor theatre where hundreds of people were sat enjoying picnics and looking at the stage. Turns out that I had amazingly stumbled across a free outdoor concert of Beethoven Symphony No. 7. I got myself settled on my ‘mac in a pack’, I knew it would come in handy, and soaked in the atmosphere. I have to say, when everyone stood and the American national anthem reverberated around the park and the through Chicago, played by a live orchestra, as the light was fading was just phenomenal.

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My classical experience of Chicago was cut short, unfortunately, by the other Lu returning to take us to Springfield, Illinois. Once we were reunited with our bags we were off. With a quick stop at Subway for dinner where I re-learnt that Americans do not know Gherkins, they know Pickles, after a lot of pointing at the gherkins and getting everything but lobbed onto my sandwich, we finally made it to our destination. We slept under the shadow of Abe Lincoln’s face, not the Simpsons, drawn onto the factory behind. Bart and the rest of the clan must belong to another Springfield.

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