Tag: chicago



I wanted to finish this blog series on a high, and so, anticipating the questions people might ask, I’ve been contemplating the highlights. Seeing friends is always going to top these lists – spending time with people we so rarely get to see – so I’ve eliminated them from the equation. But to my English, Scottish and expat Aussie friends, know that you were our highlight!

Top eats

1. Pasta at Rossopomodoro on our first night in Venice. Unbelievably creamy, ridiculously tasty whipped buffalo ricotta concoction on fresh made pasta. At the time I said it was the best meal I’d ever eaten. I stand by that.

2. Cioppino at Sotto Mare, North Beach California, sitting up at the counter, with wine, feeling so alive only four days into our holiday.

Places to which I’ll definitely return (in no particular order)

1. Reykjavik

2. Berlin

3. Washington

4.Everywhere else.

Top moments

1. Discovering the former Australian Embassy building in Washington DC, where my grandmother first worked.

2. Recently arrived in Rome, dusk, sitting at a cafe in Piazza della Rotonda, looking out at the Pantheon, glass of white wine, nowhere to be in any hurry.

3. Standing in the Neumarkt in Dresden surrounded by the Christmas markets.

4. Driving through the deep snow north west of Reykjavik, unable to see anything at all – a complete white out.

5. The Art Institute of Chicago.

Most amazing sights

1. Gullfoss waterfall, Iceland.

2. Autumn leaves, Scotland.

3. Chicago buildings.

Funniest shrieking with laughter moments (sorry, for these you had to be there so are to remind me, but I’m happy to tell the stories if asked).

1. Don buying a jacket in Macy’s New York.

2. Ruth hanging her last Christmas decoration on the thermostat.

I could add to all of these lists, because of course the whole trip has been the most amazing, eye-opening, brilliant and fun experience for both of us. And I have loved sharing all of this with you via the blog. Thanks so much for reading, and for all of your lovely comments.

Now, to start planning the next adventure…..

Imagine my surprise

Imagine my surprise


Ambling is hard work. Although I suspect we’re not really very good at it yet. We have arisen every day so far on this ‘slow-paced’ holiday with a full day’s agenda, pausing only for food (which is hardly a pause). This week in Chicago we’ve been up buildings, inspected fountains, walked for miles in museums, criss-crossed parks, undertaken tours and indulged in cocktails.

So imagine my surprise when Don suggested we amble down Michigan Avenue – the Magnificent Mile – and look at the shops.

Yes, you read that correctly. The shops.

I agreed immediately and shoved him out the hotel door before he could change his mind. A world of retail awaited me.

There wasn’t much for me in Gap. I found myself loitering around the menswear section for ages while Don ducked in and out of the dressing room trying on clothes.

There wasn’t much for me in Nike. I found myself loitering around the menswear section for ages while Don inspected the hightops.

There wasn’t much for me in Zara. I found myself loitering around the menswear section for ages while Don ooh-ed and aah-ed over men’s accessories.

There wasn’t even much for me in Whole Foods. I found myself loitering with my lunch while Don inspected the snack aisles.

We were on Michigan Avenue for three and a half hours. Don bought himself two pairs of jeans, a nice blue scarf, a chocolate bar, a huge bottle of soda water and a hunk of cheese. I bought myself a coffee.

I’m ok with this, truly. My time will come.

Because when we hit our next city, I shall have a girlfriend!

For the love of Art

For the love of Art


It’s hard to put into words how much I love art galleries. I’ve always loved them. When we went to Florence on our first big trip, we had so little money I had a choice – the Uffizi or the Accademia Gallery. The Birth of Venus or the statue of David. One, not both. It was heartbreaking.

Not this time. For this trip I have tagged all of our potential gallery and museum visits, with time up our sleeves for the unexpected extras. I’ve been quietly excited since we left.

However I was unprepared for today’s visit to the Art Institute of Chicago.

When I walked into the first Impressionist gallery, I cried. I couldn’t help it. The sheer magic and colour of the room, paintings I’d studied in high school, all laid out in front of me.

I gasped out loud as I entered the next room, Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte – 1884 slowly revealed as we walked down the short corridor.

It went on, Monet, Matisse, Renoir. Degas, Van Gogh. Every gallery we entered another painting to take my breath away. We were being slammed from all angles. I was overwhelmed, even more than Bluesfest 2013, when there were so many sensational acts Disco Jen and I thought we might have to surrender on the first day.

After three hours of sitting, standing, staring, gasping, and perhaps more crying, we had to retreat to restore our energy.

Then back into battle. Picasso, Pollock, Warhol, Kandinsky. American Gothic and Nighthawks. To quote Don, every room was a winner.

We had other things planned for today, instead we’re back in the hotel, emotionally bruised and battered. We can’t go out again.

The only solution I can see is cocktails in the hotel lobby.