So the windy city, in February?!
Yes I know what youre thinking, Im crazy right? Well I may have been crazy but this trip was decidely one of the most interesting adventures I have ever had.
As you will learn I am not a girl looking for typical holiday God forbid. Im just not that way inclined. I want to go off the beaten track, see the things and experience the memories which others may findwell, kinda weird. So I headed to Chicago in February just in time for Bizzard 2011, the worst blizzard to hit Chicago since 1999. Funnnnnn.
Woah mamma. If Id been an hour later getting into the city, I would have been stuck at the airport for probably about 2 days, there would have been no taxis, the freeways would have closednada. It would have sucked. But not for me, I managed to get a cab, get to my hotel just as as it started and woah was that a sight to see.
From the warmth of my room I watched the ice storm as it whipped at my window, swept women (and men for that matter) off their feet and caused cars to ice-skate across the streets. I loved it.
But seriously there was snow thunder? Yup woah.
I mean yeah it meant being a little bit hotel-bound for a bit the next day (most people would have just stayed in but Im not most people I went out i it regardless and HAD A BALL).
Knees deep baby. I headed out when it wasnt too bad and just trailed through the snow
To be part of Chicago history like that, was an incredible experience. And I truly believe that a Chicago winter is worth experiencing. I stood at the top of the John Hancock Observatory and the winter view of the city was breathtaking. Far superior to the clear summer view I bet. Frozen parts of Lake Michigan?get outta here! Amazing.
In these temperatures no-one expects you to be a tourist from the UK. It surprises everyone that youre even around. But when youre walking around/riding the El people just accept you as a fellow Chicagoean. Because who else would be this crazy to visit one of the coldest cities in America?! I liked it. I was accepted as one of their own.
I seen how these guys just pull together and get on with it. Us Brits, boy are we embarrassing! Little bit of snow. and WOAH! Thats our attitude.
In all seriousness Chicago, no matter what time of year it is, is a very cool city to visit. Chock-full of museums, galleries, famous sites and some damn good pizza restaurants. And I lived by the use of Lonely Planets Chicago Encounter guidebook.
This book was so helpful, I cannot recommend it enough. Its handbag size, written by a native Chicagoean, comes with a map inc the El map, its so good. All the places I went to, were recommended in this book.
My secret dream is to have bookshelves absolutely chock-full with Lonely Planet books for all different cities and locations. Aww its the things that dreams are made of. hehe.
Doesnt bother me though, seriously when you have a mouth full of delicious pizza like the wonder pizza pie they serve at Giordanos in the South Loop, who cares?! OMG. Sall Im saying (dribble at the pic below).
Solo Travel in Chicago
I must also admit it takes a lot to check into a hotel on your own and go to it every night alone, but its worth it when you want to do something and see a place so bad. The weather admittedly made it harder to hang out with new people but I did meet some wonderful wonderful people, regardless of the weather. There are always people to talk to, who are interested with your life. Its about confidence but its a lot of fun talking to people you dont know.
I was away for my birthday and I can assure you the people I randomly met that day, absolutely made my trip/my birthday so special. A random road trip to Indiana, being spolit rotten by perfect strangers. The life of an International Playgirl (as I have now crowned myself) is full of risks, but its often these fears/risks, which lead to the most wonderful things.
So what is so great about Chicago?
Chicago is a great place to let go, if you fancy being a different person, soaking up some culture coz this place is FULL of great museums, Art, Architecture you can wander around at your own leisure, and just think about the important things in life.
I found it was a great place to just walk, clear your head and just enjoy the city for what it is. Cold, exciting, sports-mad, foodie-heaven and full of soul.
This trip is in fact my last trip to the USA, as this has been the only country I have decided visit since I was a kid. I have been obsessed, but with this trip I knew this was going to be my last time. I made a big decision and called it quits and broke up with America (There I said it! phew!) After 26 years of on-off visiting. But Im feeling okay about it. Its more like a long break. Im ready for the rest of the world now and especially for some different stamps in that passport. No more US immigration for me for a while.
America, I will always love you. Chicago, you are fantastic wind and chills and all. Its a guaranteed great trip, especially if you can get involved in a Blizzard and a piece of Chicago history!
Love n mittens
Emma Goho x