This morning started far too early, with one of the dogs barking persistently, so after climbing over Liz, I went out to calm the dogs down. Almost as soon as they saw me the barking stopped, and I went straight back to bed. We got up at a slightly more reasonable hour and once we were ready, headed out to explore Chicago. Our first adventure was finding the CVS store that we needed to buy our public transport tickets from. It took a while but we eventually found it, and luckily enough the subway stop was right across the road. Various public transport adventures and a chat with a friendly policeman later we found ourselves at the Chicago History Museum, where we made a beeline for the café. Once we had eaten we bought our tickets and went upstairs to the main exhibition. The exhibitions gave us a comprehensive history of the city from its first origins right through to the modern day, with lots of interesting items on display, including an original “L” train carriage. By the time we had finished the Chicagoland exhibition we were both getting a little bored, so we returned to the café for a caffeine hit before exploring the rest of the museum. To be honest, there was less to see left than we had thought and we were done less than an hour later, after seeing the bed that Abraham Lincoln died in, which I thought was a little morbid. Leaving the museum, we caught the bus down towards the John Hancock Observatory, which offers some of the best views of Chicago. (We decided to go for this one rather than the Sears Tower so we could actually see the Sears Tower!)

A bird's eye view of Chicago.

Unfortunately, the restaurant did not open until 5pm, and had a 2 drink minimum, so our plan (following advice from our guidebook) to go up and buy a drink rather than having to pay for an observatory ticket failed completely. Deciding that we still wanted to see the view, we paid our money and joined the queue for the elevator. Apparently it is the fastest elevator in the US, it certainly didn’t feel as violent as the ones in Altantic City. The views from the top were good, but so high up it was actually a little foggy, even though it didn’t look it from the ground. There was an “outdoor” area, but it was covered by a net screen, so you could barely see the view. Once we had taken all the pictures we wanted we caught the elevator back down to commence our exploration of the shops along the Magnificent Mile. But first, we HAD to stop off at The Cheesecake Factory to share a slice of white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake. We didn’t visit many shops as we walked down the mile, but enjoyed the atmosphere as we wandered along. The most interesting building was the Tribune tower, decorated with brickwork and stones taken from other famous buildings worldwide.

The Tribune Tower (with a bit of Edinburgh Castle)

By this point it was getting towards half past four and I was really suffering from the heat (105 degrees Fahrenheit and very humid) so we caught the subway back towards Jenny and Jeff’s. Jenny was there when we arrived, and we all agreed that although Lizzie and I had planned to cook Shepherds Pie, that it was far too hot and that we would make some sort of salad instead. Since it was rush hour, we didn’t want to take the car out to buy ingredients so went to an organic grocery store just around the corner, which was amazing, but rather pricey. We (mainly Liz) cooked a vegetarian pasta salad with a variety of summery vegetables and either a balsamic or strawberry balsamic dressing, which was really good! We ate dinner outside on the patio and afterwards I stayed outside chatting with Jenny while Lizzie took her turn blogging. Jenny and Jeff went to bed at about 9.30ish and we stayed up reading and watching TV for a couple more hours before heading to bed.