We spent two days in Chicago after South Bend. Dan and the rest of his wedding friends lived in Chicago for a summer during college so they found everything nostalgic. I'd never been there before so irritated everyone by stopping to photograph all the buildings.

It's a nice looking city centre. Most of my Chicago knowledge comes from the Blues Brothers so I was happy to see the elevated (L) train line, and also happy that we weren't staying in an Elwood Blues flat railway-adjacent. I wasn't particularly fond of the enormous Trump building amongst the other skyscrapers. The Trump lettering is so large it can be seen from South Bend. I would have hoped by now having 'Trump' written on a building would be more of a deterrent than anything...

The centre is big, shiny and spacious
I liked The Bean in Millennium Park

It's a bit difficult doing things in a group of five. Nonetheless we all managed to agree that going to the Sky Bar in the Hancock building would be a good idea. Willis (formerly Sears) Tower is the tallest, but my well travelled friends assured me there was a better view from Hancock. What I forgot was that everyone, without exception, gets ID-ed. What I also forgot was my ID. There was a group of women, easily 50+ in the queue who all had to show ID so they were certainly not letting me in. Everyone was good natured, though seething internally and we trudged back to dinner.

Going to the cinema on holiday is weird. You feel guilty, like you could go to the cinema at home and this is a poor use of time. Dan and I didn't feel like this. We'd been travelling for 5 weeks already and if we didn't see The Martian now it wouldn't be in cinemas by the time we got home. It's good. Better than the book. Skip the book and just see the film.

We did make it to the Sky Bar in the end. It was a good view, but if you showed me a selection of sky deck pictures I've taken from various cities I doubt I'd be able to pick it out.

A picture tells a thousand words. Unless that picture is this one of a blurry nighttime crowd at Buddy Guy's.

I was insistent on visiting a blues club so we did. Buddy Guy's. Most weren't keen on the 10 dollar entry fee so Dan and I went alone. The band was excellent, though I was hoping for more of a grimey little smoke-filled cellar with one miserable ancient man and a guitar. They played one awful funk song that everyone inexplicably got up to dance to.

It's much less busy than New York. The streets aren't crowded and everything seems a bit calmer. There obviously isn't quite as much to see, but I think I'd prefer to live in Chicago.

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Arthur Middleton

18 November 2015
The Sears tower was closed on the only day I was in Chicago. October 2001. I thought it very unfair at the time.

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