22 October 2007

Just got home from Illinois....

Wow, what a weekend!
Early Thursday morning, Tod and I headed to John Wayne airport to catch our flight to Chicago. (The reason for the trip was the USC-Notre Dame football game in South Bend, Indiana. Chicago just happens to be the nearest large city.)

By the time we got to our hotel and checked in it was almost 2 p.m. and we were starving, not having been fed on the plane. The concierge recommended a place nearby for deep-dish pizza, so we headed over there and ate waaaaay too much. After that, we went back to our room for a nap.

Dinner at Berghoff's was part of the tour package, but afterwards we walked down to Buddy Guy's Legends to see John Primer and his band. The blues music was fantastic, and the atmosphere was just what one would expect. Tod said he could imagine Jake and Elwood walking in. The only problem was the smoke. In Chicago smoking is permitted in bars and lounges, and it was pretty thick in there. I managed to last for over an hour, but by around 11 I had to get out of there.

Thursday morning we slept in late, still on California time. Went down the street to an authentic deli for breakfast... I had the best French toast made with challah bread! After that we hit the Art Institute of Chicago, which has one of the best Impressionist collections I've seen in the US. The miniature rooms were absolutely exquisite!!
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Believe it or not, this is one of the miniature rooms.

In the afternoon we did a riverboat tour. A charming old boat called the Innisfree took us on a 90-minute architectural tour of the city. Despite the fact that it was grey and windy and cool, it was great fun. Our tour guide was a student of architecture, and really knew his stuff.
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Then Tod was kind enough to accompany me on a visit to Loopy Yarns, where, yes, I bought more yarn, and a cute little pin.

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Back to the hotel for a little rest before dinner, which was at the Park Grill, just a few blocks from the hotel. I'd found the restaurant earlier in the week through Open Table, which I almost always use to make reservations. So far, we've not been disappointed. Went for a walk after dinner to aid in digestion, and stopped at B & N so that I could get some more reading material. I'd only brought one book, expecting to be knitting on the plane, but there just wasn't enough room.

Saturday morning was another early one. The bus left at 7 a.m. for South Bend, so we were up around 5:30, and were able to grab a quick breakfast at the Corner Bakery just down the street.
I managed to sleep most of the way, and woke up just as we got into South Bend. The tour group had arranged a brunch for us at one of the dining halls, after which we wandered around the campus. We saw the legendary mural on the library wall, the Chapel (which was very ornate and gorgeous) and the golden-domed Admin building, which has murals of Christopher Columbus' arrival in America on the walls of the halls.
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That's me in front of "Touchdown Jesus"

When we got tired of walking around, we went to the library and read for about an hour. I discovered that all the librarians get the day off on "football Saturdays". Then, on to the stadium.
You've probably read all about the game, so I won't go into details, except to say that it was pretty good from the USC fans point of view.
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Got back to the hotel around 9:30, had a late dinner, and fell into bed in preparation for our 4:30 a.m. wake-up call.

Sunday night was very exciting too, and deserves it's own post. Stay tuned.

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