windy city blues

I’m posting this from the bathroom counter in my hotel suite – it’s the spot where I seem to have the most reliable internet signal. Oh, hotel wifi.

This is my last night in Chicago, and I’m spending it relaxing in my room. I had a short trip, but I’ve already been really productive and packed a lot in. Besides, the weather is total shit right now (windy, rainy, cold) and I’m not keen on being out in it. I got here on Sunday night and went straight to my hotel, the famous Palmer House. Gorgeous lobby, a weird blend of historical and hip in public areas… and really stuffy, Victorian-decor rooms. Too much brocade and whatnot for my hotel tastes. I had a reservation for a much more bland Embassy Suites for the other two nights, and I like the space of a two-room corner suite with three sinks and two televisions and just little old me!

I wasted no time on Monday, checking out bright and early to get stuff done and see the city. I had a voucher to see Hubble 3D, so I walked to Navy Pier. I’d actually gotten a coupon for two tickets, two sodas, and a bucket of popcorn. I ended up eating popcorn for lunch because that bucket was the size of a trash can. The film was good, I had some gripes about a few science communication points, but if you can still go see it – wow. It’s visually spectacular.

I grabbed a cab to Lincoln Park and shopped for a while. Bought some makeup and got ice cream at Vosges. Curry-coconut ice cream FTW! I ate that while I walked a couple of miles through a seedy warehouse and steelworks district, headed to Wicker Park to check out some shops. Those didn’t pan out, so I walked another few miles and tried again. No dice. Walked another few miles to Humboldt Park and tried again. At this point, I was tired and hungry and realized that it was 3.5 miles back to my hotel. I kept telling myself, “One more mile and if I can’t make it any farther, I’ll catch a cab.” An hour later, I was at the hotel, my hips and ankles were on fire, and my pedometer said I’d walked just over 14 miles. Google Maps corroborates this. Ouch. Not bad for someone diagnosed with arthritis at 27, right?

I collapsed in bed last night (after grabbing some shameful Taco Bell takeout because I couldn’t be bothered to try harder than that) and had to get up at 6:30AM to get to the day’s meetings. It poured all night with 35mph gusts of wind, howling wind that woke me up repeatedly, and I decided to take a cab. My joints thanked me. But things cleared up a bit in the afternoon, and I needed to walk off some tension. I walked along the harbor for a while before cutting into the city streets, which meant I couldn’t even catch a cab if I wanted one. I barely made it the 3 miles back to the hotel. And now I’m really stiff and sore and DEFINITELY not walking much tomorrow. I like to see a city on foot, and I’ve done 10+ mile days in other cities like NYC and Boston and Seattle (where every ridiculously angled uphill block should count as three). But this was pretty intense, and entirely self-inflicted. Oops?

The gorgeous lobby ceiling at the Palmer House Hotel. $15/day... on Twitpic Back out into the city! Next stop: Lincoln Park for shopping!  on Twitpic

Saw these towers on the way to Navy Pier. I recognize them fr... on Twitpic Something besides popcorn - Vosges Naga ice cream (coconut an... on Twitpic


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