My mom and Miss L and I spent a week in Chicago for Miss L’s spring break. We took the Amtrak through small towns, fields and woods, and gradually the landscape morphed into industrial parks, cement and asphalt, and the outskirts of the sprawling city.
The train was a good way to travel, but I was glad that we were in business class. The seats were comfortable, there was greater privacy, and ample space for luggage. The Ann Arbor Amtrak station is tiny and easily navigated, but Union Station in Chicago was an entirely different proposition. Luckily, both Miss L and my mom are good travelers, and there were no issues.
We stayed at the Chicago Hilton, which is a grand old hotel across from Grant Park, and within walking distance of the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. Miss L was impressed with the grandeur of the lobby, and mildly interested to hear of its history, but it was the pool that really captured her heart.
We spent days at the aquarium and the museum, both of which were unbelievable, capturing Miss L’s wonder and imagination.
Even my mom & I got to experience some things that were new to us. We used Uber to ride from the hotel to the American Girl Doll store (aka Miss L’s ‘happy place’) and it was a riot. My mom was mistrustful of the Uber concept, to say the least. When we were picked up by a somewhat crazed gentleman with an accent, purple sunglasses, and fingerless driving gloves, I could feel her giving me side eye as he discussed the ins and outs of Chicago snow and parking spaces and tire slashing. When we were safely offloaded at American Girl she was exhilarated by our daring and although she suspected he might have been part of a sleeper cell, she was comfortable using Uber back to the hotel.
The weather in Chicago was very Chicago-like – windy, chilly, damp, and blustery. But when we returned to Michigan, spring, it seemed, had begun.