We flew from Vegas to Chicago on Sunday 14/9/14, a 2.5 hr flight with American Airlines.  They have the strangest way of handling passengers and baggage in the States and it just seems to take something simple and turn it into complicated.  First of all you need to check in.  Then you need to pay for your baggage.  Then there is the process of security, but that depends on whether you have been Pre-checked and TSA approved.  Apparently we have been which means that we go through much quicker and do not need to remove our shoes, belts, remove any items from our bags nor are we subjected to body scans.  Then at the gate just moments before boarding we need to line up for seat allocation.  Now at this point a person could be subject to Stand-by rules (remember those bad old days).  Well fortunately that is not us, but some people are wait listed and then a bargaining process takes place because the airline deliberately sells more seats on every flight than they actually have available.  So if a person is subjected to the “bump off” policy than they are offered a reward by way of a $500 voucher and a seat on the next flight. Oh and the other hideous thing they do is allow people to take on enormous amounts of hand luggage and part way through boarding the aircraft they discover that the overhead “bins” are now too full and people have to “check in” their carry-on luggage.  Then we stand back and watch, as so many people seem to ignore the PA announcements.

Anyhow Chicago – now this is a city of serious proportions.  For a start 10 million people live there.  It has more skyscrapers than I have ever seen in my life and it is so much fun.  We were right in the middle of the city in the theatre district.  The train or metro system is in the most part elevated.  So if you had a 2nd floor office it would not be unusual to see and hear the thundering noise of these huge beasts every few minutes.  Fortunately for us and I suspect most of the buildings now, despite their age, all have very good soundproofing.  We were only a very short distance from the train line albeit on the 17th floor of the Art Deco Allegro Hotel and never heard the train unless we were out on the street.

We took a couple of tours.  One was a tour of The Rookery a gorgeous brown brick building next to the Chicago Board of Trade.  It has been subjected to a Frank Lloyd Wright renovation and was well worth the time we took to look through it twice.  We also took a 2 hour walking tour of the architecture and history and looked more closely at some of what is on offer.  We spent a lot of time looking up, they were skyscrapers after all, but it was certainly worth it.  Our guide was one of 400 volunteers who lead a great variety of tours every day.  In the evening we caught up with the jazz and blues scene of Chicago (see additional post) and then the next day on 16/9/14 we took up a boat tour on the Chicago River which winds it way through the CBD and more skyscrapers.  We saw more buildings designed by William LeBaron Jenney,  Daniel Burnham and John Wellborn Root.  The rest of the day we explored Millennium Park, the Art Institute and had a very late lunch/very early dinner at Macy’s in the Walnut Room.   We visited the ball game in the evening (see additional post)