Chicago

Chicago_2014_09

 

I spent the last weeks on holiday in America in Canada and am absolutely thrilled with each of the places I visited!

First up on the three city tour was Chicago. How on earth I came up with the idea of travelling to Chicago in Febuary is a very valid question….and to be very honest it was a rather spontaneous decision – not taking the weather into greater account.

Arriving in Chicago on a windy Friday afternoon I immediately felt, well, comfortable. Such a beautiful city – even with the snow still mounting on the side of the road – people were happy, friendly and helpful. As it was Valentine’s Day we had decided to go for a lovely dinner at a place called ‘The signature room’ which is the restaurant located on the top floor of the Hancock Tower. The venue was amazingly beautiful, we had a great, almost 360 degree view, of Chicago and the food was to die for.

If ever you find yourself in Chicago this is really the place to go!

Oh, and of course, you need to visit Garret’s Popcorn – my love for popcorn knows no bounds so you can imagine how excited I was when I found out that not only was Chicago the city of deep dish pizza but also of popcorn! I tried three different flavours: chili cheese, chocolate lovers and caramel….and they were all equally amazing…

And while I am on the topic of food – a visit to Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse at the Intercontinental is also a must – I have never, ever, ever (you get it…..) had such amazing steak before – and the side dishes were equally mouth-watering. I had the brussel sprouts with caramelized onion marmalade and bacon and the mac ‘n cheese….out of this world!

Of course, besides eating and admiring this stunning city, I also did some shopping and sightseeing – I decided that it wasn’t cold enough in the city centre and so I took a walk to the pier. It must be amazing there in summer but my goodness – the wind was so strong and freezing that the route back we decided to take a taxi (so as to avoid face freeze).  After a visit to the closest Starbucks (hello Caramel Flan Latte) I felt much better and was ready for the rest of the day.

Spending 4 days in the windy city during winter can be punishing too – on my last day there I experienced a snow storm like never before – seriously, this was crazy with the snow coming horizontally (pretty much rendering and coat/hat/shoes useless)! Nevertheless, this city has a big place in my heart!

Valentine's Day surprise waiting for me in the hotel room :)

Valentine’s Day surprise waiting for me in the hotel room :)

The Signature Room

The Signature Room

Delicious brunch at The Signature Room

Delicious brunch at The Signature Room

The beautiful view from Hancock Tower

The beautiful view from Hancock Tower

The beautiful view from Hancock Tower

The beautiful view from Hancock Tower

Willis Tower

Willis Tower

Love Chicago

Love Chicago

The Sofitel in Chicago - amazing.....

The Sofitel in Chicago – amazing…..

The oldest Marshall Field's - now Macy's! Seriously....

The oldest Marshall Field’s – now Macy’s! Seriously….

The Bean at Millennium Park

The Bean at Millennium Park

The beautiful view from Willis Tower

The beautiful view from Willis Tower

Hancock Tower Chicago

Hancock Tower Chicago

View from the pier....

View from the pier….

Frozen!

Frozen!

Ice Sculptures at the Pier - can you see how frozen I was!?

Ice Sculptures at the Pier – can you see how frozen I was!?

Me and Michael Kors - an addiction!

Me and Michael Kors – an addiction!

Best Deep Dish pizza at Gino's East----

Best Deep Dish pizza at Gino’s East—-

Chicago

Chicago

Inside Garret's Popcorn during the snow storm.....Keep on smiling!

Inside Garret’s Popcorn during the snow storm…..Keep on smiling!

Snow Storm!!!

Snow Storm!!!

 

USA 2013 – Las Vegas

It’s me again…..I am onto my last leg of my USA trip – and I am extremely sad about that!

I had the most amazing time and have already booked my next trip – yes, I just had to.

From LA we drove to Las Vegas – Sin City as they so aptly put it….to my amazement the drive was rather pleasant (granted I did sleep a little bit) but the desert really wasn’t what I had imagined (namely sand and no vegetation – and no people)! There were a lot of petrol stations, restaurants and even outlet shopping centers along the way – rather surreal when you think about it.

Arriving in Las Vegas we were introduced with a lovely traffic jam along ‘the strip’ – as we would learn the following days this was pretty normal.

The hotel we stayed in was located right along the strip and we managed to get a room on the 53rd floor – although we didn’t have a direct view onto the strip it was somehow breathtakingly beautiful. To see the lights go on in the city is absolutely stunning!

We had quite some time in LA (the hotel prices were low :)) and so we had plenty of time to venture around the city. Walking in Las Vegas might be the quickest way to get around but it sure is annoying – the sidewalks are elevated to first-floor level and to get across the street takes forever – not my idea of fun! None the less, the hotels are perfect, the shows are spectacular and once you get to the Hoover Dam it becomes perfect. As I was there during the government shut-down, I didn’t get a chance to see the Grand Canyon – this was rather disappointing but alas, it just means I shall have to come back another day!

Here are some impressions from this leg of my trip:

USA 2013 – Los Angeles

.....everybody comes to Hollywood

The city of dreams – that is what it is called and that is exactly how I feel about it.

Most people visiting California tend to love San Francisco and hate Los Angeles….I can only disagree – whilst I loved San Fran, LA just captured my soul. The beautiful hotel I got to stay in might have played a part in making this leg of the trip the most memorable but I put it down to the incredible views from Mulholland Drive and Griffith Observatory, breakfast at the prettiest restaurant ever and the amazingness that is the Farmer’s Market at The Grove. Whilst I didn’t spot any celebrities (at least none that I recognized), I had the time of my life in this city.

From shopping at kitson (how does one walk out of there and not want everything they sell!?) to walking down Rodeo Drive to taking a tour of Warner Bros. it was mind-blowing! Everyone warns you before heading to LA that the city is ginormous -well, let me just say this much – it really is! Without a car to get from A to B it is pretty impossible to get anywhere (unless you have all day) – so my advice: you guessed it: rent a car.

And whilst I am busy giving advice: have breakfast at The Ivy. I went there on my last day in LA and it had been a dream of mine pretty much forever to go there – and so I went. It was beautiful and the food was absolutely amazing. The weather in October was great, we had sunshine almost every day and it was pleasantly warm (not too hot to go sightseeing which was a bonus). Dinner at The Stinking Rose was crazy – this is a restaurant that serves everything with an extra amount of garlic (right down to the ice cream) – you definitely don’t want to plan anything for after dinner – at least nothing that involves those around you!

If you haven’t guessed by now: I love this city!

Here are some impressions from the LA leg of the trip: