Amber and I had a memorable time in the windy city this past weekend. It really felt like a gift from our Father - blessing us with his favor so that we may turn and praise him for goodness. One of my favorite quotes from his Word is Matthew 7.11, "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"
The weekend started out with a road trip up from Champaign with our friends, Ty and Laura. Ty got 4 tickets for his birthday and he shared two of those with us. What a super guy! We're going to miss him next year when he and Laura move to Chicago so that he can start school at NorthPark.
We couldn't have asked for a better game. Now, I am still a diehard Cards fan, but I can enjoy a good win and I am not ashamed to root on the loveable losers. The weather forecast included thunderstorms, hail and tornadoes, but none of that ever materialized at Wrigley. So, we had a beautiful day for a game. The Cubs were down 8-0 to the Rockies in the 5th, but they came back (thanks in part to former Cardinal, Jimmy Edmonds) and won 10-9.
Ty and Laura dropped us off at our hostel, which turned out to be mostly a gem, especially compared to what we could have paid at a normal hotel. We stayed at the Arlington House International Hostel, located in Lincoln Park, just minutes away from the Zoo and an El Train stop. We got a private room (not common for hostels) and we were pleased with the cleanliness and location.
After dropping off our bags, we caught the train and rode the brown line to the Art Institue. During the summer on Friday evenings, you can enjoy free admission from 5-9pm. Thank you very much.
We woke up way early (not planned) on Saturday and made our way to Navy Pier. It was an unbelievably beautiful day and we got to the Pier before any other tourists. We found a little table right on the water's edge and enjoy the sunshine and lakefront breeze.
After enjoying a couple hours at the Pier, we spent most of the day walking around downtown sites and shops. We ended the evening with dinner at The Village, an Italian restaurant in the Italian Village on Monroe St. The service, atmosphere and food portions were great. The food itself was fairly standard, but enjoyable. It was a good carb meal for our race the next morning.
The main event came on Sunday morning, which was the original cause for the mini-getaway to Chicago. We both ran the "Run for the Zoo" 10K at Lincoln Park Zoo. About 4000 runners came out and we had another gorgeous day to top off our weekend. The race course wound through the zoo, lakeshore drive and harbor area. Amber really surprised herself with a time of 54 minutes and I finished in 44 min. My legs were tiring at mile 3 already, but I was able to push through for a strong finish. The first mile was difficult because of the crowded pack trying to make it through the narrow pathways in the zoo.
We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the zoo and conservatory and wrapped up the weekend with the train ride back home to Champaign on Sunday evening. It just takes a weekend in Chicago to remember how small and quiet Champaign really is. I think I really enjoy what both cities have to offer. It was a weekend that I won't soon forget.