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 21, 2016

The meet and drink of Chicago – catching up with friends (Throwback post)

Our main reason for including Chicago on this trip was to see friends that we’d made on the road. Or, to be precise, on board ship – as all of the friends that we met in Chicago were made during our two 2012 trips to Antarctica (which, ironically, was generally warmer than Chicago in March).

It’s always a bit uncertain seeing someone for the first time after meeting them on our travels. Will it be so easy to get on when everyone isn’t as relaxed and enjoying what is often going to be an amazing trip? Did you get on with them as well as you thought at the time? Even worse, did they offer to meet up, show you the sights or even put you up for a few nights, whilst never expecting that it would actually happen?

Thankfully, with Tina and Mark we knew that they were direct enough to make it clear if they hadn’t wanted to see us! After our first 3 nights in Chicago (at the Chicago Getaway Hostel - decent, but quite expensive), we spent our last 4 at their flat near Wrigley Fields. As the first 4 people to find the bar on our Antarctic trip, they knew that we liked a drink, a laugh and penguins, but there wasn’t a great deal else to go on. And Chicago isn’t exactly full of penguins.

All we’d asked was to see a few more local and non-touristy places, and their choices certainly didn’t disappoint. We went to Andy’s Jazz Club and Restaurant, along with other friends of theirs, for a meal and then drinks afterwards. We spent an evening in a couple of good bars in the Lincoln Park area, one of which – Prost! - was well into the German spirit, being a beer hall and restaurant with lots of imported draft beers and a very rustic feel. We also had a good brunch, checked out a few dark and long wooden bars, and happened upon a wine tasting in a tasty wine shop around the corner from the flat.

All of this was great fun, and we shared a lot of laughs, often rather stupid ones but that’s just how it is with some people. We also continued to marvel at Tina and Mark’s ongoing sequence of long distance mini-breaks around the world. Nobody else we know seems to manage things like Hong Kong for the weekend!

Chicago also allowed us to catch up with two people from our first Antarctic trip. Victoria joined us all in two of the bars on Saturday. And Emily, who we had already stayed with in Texas in March, was in town as part of a transatlantic trip catching up with various people she’d met on her own travels. We met her again in a couple of bars for a few spare hours before her flight. These coincidences of meeting people during short crossovers are strange, welcome, and increasingly common for us!

All in all, it was great to catch up again, and writing this already 3 years since it happened, it is a shame how quickly the time can go. But this is where Facebook really comes in handy to stay in touch a bit and keep an eye on what people have been up to.

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