Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Taking the Temperature of Chicago (Throwback post)

We didn’t really see a lot of Chicago, and we liked it to different degrees. This was partly due to it being such a cold time to visit. The wind didn’t help; we couldn’t quite believe that Chicago is only called the ‘windy city’ due to the windbag politicians of the past.

We only ended up there in March due to US immigration policy that would have stopped us from instead re-entering from Canada later that year (due to having already spent nearly 3 months in the USA, then not leaving adjacent countries before re-entry).

But still, Chicago in winter was impressive (more so from Nic’s perspective). It has a classy skyline, with a good and sympathetic mix of old and new buildings and some particular architectural gems. Also, the streets were generally quite wide, so it didn’t feel claustrophobic.

Beyond the centre, we walked through a number of other areas, which felt like distinct neighbourhoods with real character, quite individual shops and large old red-brick buildings, rather than just dull suburbs.

One other specific thing that we liked, which maybe says something about the city’s attitude, was the fact that Lincoln Park zoo, apart from being free and open all year, just lets people run/jog on wide paths throughout it without going through entrance gates – rather better than the average running route!

On the other hand, apparently the metro system had recently become more frequented by homeless people riding it from one end to the other due to the recent closing down of their shelters, which doesn’t suggest such a socially cohesive approach.

Overall, it was still interesting to visit Chicago but it would definitely be better to try at another time of year, when it would be easier to wander and there are more outdoor activities, like the baseball at Wrigley Field that we could visit in season.

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