Today is the first of my 10 days in Chicago for five U2ieTour shows, three Fan MeetUps and lots of deep dish pizza! I’ve only been here 8 hours and haven’t done anything really, but I love this city! I have a feeling this is going to be the best 10 days of the summer!
I left my house in Maryland this morning just after 9:30am est. I had to check my huge 47 pound bag with my books, giveaways, foods and my clothes. And I carried on my roller bag with my laptop and some more giveaways and some more clothes. Then I had my purse, which is really a small messenger bag. So I was quite the sight. But the checking of the bag wasn’t as bad as I envisioned it would be. I checked my bag, was through security and was at my gate before 10:30am, over an hour before my flight was scheduled to leave. I got the emergency row for the leg room and watched three episodes of The Big Bang Theory on my less than two hour flight. We landed on time at 12:30pm cst and only had to wait less than a half hour for my checked bag. I was on the airport shuttle by 1pm and we left at 1:15.
I was reminded of Memphis as we drove from Midway to downtown Chicago. We even took route 55, which if I took it south for eight hours I would be in Memphis. As I saw the signs for Lake Shore Drive, I was reminded of Bono screaming LAKE SHORE DRIVE in his intro to “Magnificent” on 360. We passed by Soldier Field, and I saw where we sat in the GA line on the 360 US opener in 2009 – the last time I camped out in a GA line all day. We passed by Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain, and I was reminded of Lollapalooza in 2010 when I saw Soundgarden when they first got back together. We then passed by Millennium Park, the Bean, Trump Tower, The Tribune Building, Magnificent Mile and Michigan Avenue. We finally arrived at my hotel, Homewood Suites, at 2pm as I was the second to last one to be dropped off. Unfortunately, my room wasn’t going to be ready until after 4pm.
To pass the time until my room was ready, I walked across the street to the original Pizzerio Uno – the birthplace of the deep dish pizza established in 1943. I’m not crazy about Uno’s at home, but I figured this one had to be better since it’s the original. It was a great little place. I sat at the bar and ordered a water, a glass of wine and an individual extra cheese deep dish pizza. I was told it would take 30 minutes for my pizza. I hadn’t eaten since my tiny bowl of cereal seven hours prior and I hadn’t slept and I had taken a dramamine. Halfway through my glass of wine, I hit a wall and could have fallen asleep at the bar while waiting for my pizza. But I perked up when I met a man who went to Stanford with John Elway. We were talking about football and I told him I was a Broncos fan and then he told me. My pizza finally arrived and it was ok, certainly not extra cheese and too much sauce for my taste and the crust was too hard. I liked the restaurant, but not the pizza. I mean it’s still pizza so it’s good, but I’ve had better. The best part was how the bartender identified me on my check. I was wearing my “Free Yourself to Be Yourself” shirt, so he put on my check instead of my name “Free Yourself.” And what was even cuter was that, he made of point of telling me. He asked me if I noticed. Not only did I notice, but I took a picture of it!
My room was finally ready at 4:15pm. It’s a great room! I have a one bedroom suite with a full kitchen and two large screen tvs. The living room is huge, and the bedroom is huge. It’s a great space, especially since I am going to be here for 10 days – just like a little apartment. Exhausted, I didn’t even unpack, which I usually do immediately. I laid in bed and dozed on and off until almost 7pm. Then I walked two blocks to Jewel Osco to get groceries for the next 10 days. I came back, unpacked and and by 9:30 everything was organized. I ordered an extra cheese deep dish pizza with gooey crust from Lou Malnati’s, so I could have it for the next several days after the concerts. I had a nice big slice, and it was delicious – much better than Uno’s. To see my pictures from today, please click here.
Tomorrow begins the five U2ieTour shows in Chicago!