We arrived in Chicago today for our holiday in the city. I have always loved Chicago at Christmastime, and with a great stroke of luck, hotels are reasonably priced during the holiday. When I lived up here before, I used to book on Priceline and get really great deals on downtown hotels, but since I have the dog now, I have to make sure the hotel is dog-friendly. The Kimpton Hotel Monaco billed itself as very pet-friendly, and there was no extra charge for my furry friend. It looked pretty nice, too, and was in the same general area where I like to hang out.
I thought GPS would lead me here, but apparently GPS gets very confused in the city. I had to pull over and actually look at a map to get me to my destination. One time I looked at GPS, and it showed me driving through the river. It was comical except for the fact that traffic was really bad, and I was a bit nervous about finding the place. I finally made it, and the bellman was super nice, helped me with my luggage and gave me advice on where to walk Ashok. Apparently pickings are slim on green areas downtown.
He also told me about a dog park about a mile away, so I took Ashok down there. We went down sidewalks by Millennium Park, up stairs, through a concourse and down a hundred outdoor stairs to get to the nicest little park surrounded by high-rise condos. Dog owners were all over, and there was a fenced in area where dogs could run loose. Since Ashok isn’t super dog-friendly, I didn’t bring her in there, but she had a ball sniffing around the rest of the park on leash and rolling in the grass.
We walked toward Millennium Park. I didn’t know dogs weren’t supposed to go in there until a security guard informed me, but we spent a little time by the Christmas tree and ice-skating rink. A Holiday Bus with Santa on it rode by on Michigan Avenue. Chicago apparently has a tradition of dressing up a bus and some trains for the holidays. It was blaring Christmas songs, and Santa was waving at everybody. The whole scene was quite festive, and it seemed that the whole city had turned out for the holiday festivities. Ashok got lots of attention. One little girl passed by and said out loud, ” Look a Santa Dog!”
Our room and the hotel is quite nice. I’d describe it as cozy and trendy. A crackling fire in the lobby is warming me while a beautiful Christmas tree twinkles right behind the sofa. I plan on spending some time here this weekend. I want to relax and enjoy some down time. I didn’t decorate for Christmas at home, so this will suffice for my holiday decorations this year. I have to say they are lovely, and I won’t even have to pull them down when it’s over.
I’m looking forward to breakfast with my friend Gerry from Memphis in the morning, and I get to spend the rest of the weekend with Nancy. It will be cold, and we have an 80% chance of snow on Christmas Eve. I see lots of hot chocolate and coffee in my near future, and a good bit of walking trying to find Ashok a grassy place to pee. But she seems quite at home by the fireplace.