Monday, September 3, 2007

Day 13 - Soho

After the very late night which was Sunday, we rose a little late today. We had breakfast in a diner on 8th avenue and 50th. It was grand and set us up for the day.

We jumped on an A train to Soho. WOW! Where has Soho come from and why have we only discovered it now?! The shopping is incredible, so many stores all located in the one neighbourhood. We started on Prince St and ended up exploring the stores on Broadway. Amazing. Ending up in Chinatown, we took the train back uptown where we snacked in KFC before finishing our shopping.

Before heading back to the hotel, we hunted down the local beard papas, yes that Japanese chain is now in NYC. When we found it, it was closed for the night. Grr.

Back to the hotel where we spend a good two hours packing our cases and booked a supershuttle to pick us up tomorrow from our hotel and bring us to the Airport.

We finished the night with a drink in Therapy Bar on 52th Street,

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Day 12 - Brooklyn

Another fab day in the big city. We dined on Pizza for breakfast and then hit the streets to enjoy the 23rd annual Brazil Day Festival. Three streets, including a very large portion of 6th avenue was closed off, making way for the festivities, which included many stalls selling traditional food and drink. Thousands turned out. Every time we visit New York, we always seem to time it with this festival, fun!

Afterwards, I popped up to Columbus Circle to purchase my new Nike runners, which were not available in my size in the Nike Town.

We headed downtown to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge! What great fun, the views where amazing, but nothing prepared us for the culture shock which was Brooklyn's main shopping mall/street. We felt so out of place, definitely non-locals. We left as soon as we found the subway! An experience none the less. Manhattan island for us please!

After some shopping, we headed to the AMC on 42th street to watch the film "I now pronounce you Chuck and Larry". After a visit to M&M world and Virgin, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up and hit the nite life. We started in Vlada and ended up in Posh til closing 4am! We're wrecked!

Day 11 - Lazy day in the big city

Quick update on today. We rose a little after 10am and headed out for a breakfast/lunch in Ellens, a diner on broadway. This is a fab place where the servers all sing as your meals are being served. It's like a little broadway musical in a restaurant, great fun. The remainder of the day included:
  • Shopping in Bloomingdales
  • Shopping on 34th Street
  • Dinner in the Olive Garden on broadway
  • Drinks up at Suite
  • A Drink in the pig and whistle Irish Bar!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Day 10 - Shopping

We spent today shopping, the main thing to do in this city. Kicking it off we went to moonstruck cafe, our new annual visit, for a very large breakfast/lunch which really set us up for the day.

Century 21 was our next destination, it's the fab discount apartment store alongside the site of the world trade centers. Macy's and the stores along 32nd street followed and we rounded it off with a visit to Ambercrombie on 5th Avenue. I popped into the Apple Store, it was packed.

For dinner, we headed down into Soho and ate in an asian fusion restaurant, peep, which was very funky indeed. The toilets are situated half way into the venue, and consist of 1 way mirrors. You can see everyone outside whilst you sit on the loo! Crazy!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Day 9 - Welcome NYC

As usual, we're doing so much, there is too little time to fully write up the blog entry for today. I'll fill in the pieces afterwards, much like yesterday, which I completed on the flight over to New York. But highlights of today included:
  • Getting up at 7 to leave for the airport.
  • Getting to the airport and almost missing our flight!
  • Arriving in NYC, our hotel is on Times Square (handy for us).
  • Getting tickets to see Legally blond the musical that evening, and meeting the cast afterwards. The theater is beside our hotel.
  • Getting tickets to the midnight showing of the new Halloween film! Was cool!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Day 8 - Last day in Chicago

Being our last day, we had a list a mile long of outstanding things to do. Prioritisation was key! We rose nice and early and actually managed to leave the apartment around 11am, not bad for us really! We started the day with a visit to the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center, which conveniently is located right beside our hotel.

The Hancock, whilst not the tallest sky scraper in the city, is much loved due to it location north of the loop, giving it amazing views south of the downtown area, east to the lake and north to the gold coast and it’s beaches. We had vouchers for the audio tour, which gave us a great commentary of the city beneath us. A nice feature is the skydeck, an exposed area with the windows removed; allowing you to feel the breeze, smells the scents and hear the sounds of the city beneath. The windows here, unlike the sears tower, ran from roof to floor, approaching the edge for a clearer view is certainly not for the faint hearted!

Leaving the Hancock we headed just south to the Ohio Street beach. Yes most of the streets up this end of the city have beaches alongside the lake front. Whilst artificial, it did seem like the real deal. An 18 mile stretch of cycle/walk ways, called lake shore drive, runs along the lake front bordering the city itself. There are numerous beaches scattered along it. I can only imagine that during the middle of the summer months, this area must get really packed. When we arrived, only the odd roller bladder and cyclist were about. The beach itself was very clean. The sand was nice and hot. It really is a great treat being on a beach during the summer. The water was warm, and as its fresh water, wasn’t salty! We would have loved to have time to take a swim, but with too much to get done today it would have to wait until the evening, but when we did get time to return the weather had changed. Ah well.

We headed downtown for some food, dining in Panda Express for a change. The orange chicken really is great. Next on our list was a visit to the Shedd Aquarium, located in the museum campus area of the city. The Shedd is a massive indoor aquarium, costing around $24 each for a day pass, we only had time for around 2 hours, but you could easily spend your whole day looking and learning about all the amazing fish inside. It had areas devoted to the oceans of the world, the coral reef, the artic with whales and penguins, but the star of the day had to be the dolphins. We were treated to a really cool dolphin show, were the trainers demonstrated some of the dolphins “natural” behaviours – like jumping and swimming backwards! Natural indeed! Nonetheless great to see.

Leaving the Shedd, we headed back downtown for some final shopping along the magnificent mile which is Michigan Avenue before returning back to apartment to pack and prepare dinner. We had hopped to head out for a drink but we only managed to make it as far as the subway station. After waiting some 20 mins for a train, we decided to cut our losses and head back to the apartment for an early night.

Tomorrow we’re off to New York City on an 11am flight. We should touch down around 2:30pm local time, which is an hour ahead of Chicago, we’ll be on Eastern Standard Time. This has really been an amazing city. The skyline is awesome, comparable with New York. Its cleanliness is on par with Toronto and it’s friendless is not a match on any European counterpart. It really has everything, apart from the crowds. It’s been a very pleasurable 8 days and would highly recommend a visit to anyone back home. With AerLingus flying direct to O’Hare daily, there is no excuse. (Oh and it’s only $2 to get into the city via train, which is around 1 hour away from the city).

Until we hit New York and its bright lights!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Day 7 - We clean up with Oprah

We kicked off the day with a visit to the Post office. Lucky for us there is one located in the basement of the John Hancock center, which is right beside our hotel.

We then made the track to the local laundry. It was some way away, in fact it was some way out of town. But we found it, and if your ever in this area, the location can be found below.

View Larger Map

Yo Yo's was very cheap. Soap power only cost 50cents, with a full wash $1.50. With every good and clean, we headed back to the hotel to shower and freshen up, why? It was 100F/37C outside! Amazing or what.

All refreshed, we took the bus down to the Harpo Studio, where the Oprah Show is taped. We'd just missed a taping, Oprah had left the building, but all the production crew where still present. After taking our photos we head back to the apartment for dinner.

We spending the evening in Boystown, was a bit of a mess getting up there as the read line was out of service. Tomorrow is our last full day in Chicago. There is still so much to do, this really is a great city!