What do you buy for the woman who has everything? A box to put it all in? This was the dilemma for the current Mrs Adams as she approached her thirty-tenth birthday, and after hours of deliberation she decided that she’d like to go on a trip rather than receive material goods. Of course it did occur to me that a trip to some locations in the world might result in the heavy-duty purchase of material goods, but my attempts to persuade her that the Falkland Islands or Borneo were top-notch short-break locations failed miserably. Chicago (home of the Smashing Pumpkins, the Blues Brothers, Al Capone, and that musical, can’t remember it’s name) topped the wife’s wish-list, and so it came to pass.

I have yet to survey the wreckage of the family fortune, and I fear that I might have to do it under the influence of alcohol. The cases that were fairly light on the way out were ominously heavy for the return journey. Anyway, that aside – hey, it’s only money – Chicago is a great place to visit for a short break. The weather was fantastic (maybe a little too warm for my liking, but better than the miserable crap here) and the sightseeing was interesting and varied:

  • The Sears Tower – the tallest building in the USA, and with the longest queue to match, Lauren and I went up while the wife shopped. At one point during the queuing process there was a sit-down seven minute movie about the Tower’s origin (which was very interesting).
  • The Adler Planetarium – also visited while the wife shopped, Lauren and I watched ‘Cosmic Collisions’ in a 180° theatre, followed by a 3D movie, and then visited the exhibits.
  • The John Hancock Center – the fifth tallest building in the USA, but with the fastest lift reaching an ear-popping 20 mph. As with the Sears Tower, the views were incredible.
  • The John G Shedd Aquarium – dolphins, beluga whales, sea otters, loads of different types of fish, and (we just caught it before it departed after Labour Day) a komodo dragon which didn’t move but was impressively huge.
  • Navy Pier – shops, a fair, live music, food, and fifty thousand people.

Some other observations – taxis were relatively inexpensive (compared to a London black cab they were almost free), the bus service was punctual and cheap, people were very friendly, and there was loads of places to eat and lots of choice.