Over Nasko's spring break, Chance and I decided we needed a brief excursion (I think we all have cabin fever from such a cold spring), so we booked a last-minute hotel in Chicago and headed north (where it's colder - I realize the irony). Chance and I have never traveled very far on a train, so we decided to try that adventure. We knew Nasko would love it, as he loves ALL modes of transportation.
Nasko's favorite part about the train was that he was allowed to stand up, even while it was in motion. He thought he was breaking all the rules...
Nasko stood, looked out the window, and talked for the entire three-hour train ride.
He talked about what he saw outside and where we were going, but he mostly talked about the train itself.
After the train ride, we took a taxi to our hotel. We got checked in and Nasko promptly changed into his pajamas, brushed his own teeth, and curled up in bed. I do believe that narrating a three-hour train ride wore him out.
After a good night of backwards sleep, Nasko was raring and ready to go at 6:00 am.
So much for a vacation for Mama and Taty!
We took our time getting ready and playing in the hotel room though, as we intended to head to a children's museum close to 10:00 when it opened.
We decided to eat breakfast in the hotel's restaurant. Chance and I split an omlet and I bought a super-expensive, but totally worth-it gluten-free english muffin. Nasko ordered pancakes.
Our waitress ended up being an immigrant from Poland. When we told her that Nasko was from Bulgaria, she made it her personal mission to fatten him up (because they "used to be European neighbors").
While waiting for his pancakes, she brought Nasko free fruit kabobs (made with strawberries, bananas, blueberries, and blackberries). Also, she changed his pancake order (it was originally for whole-wheat pancakes) to some not-on-the-menu pancakes that were apparently amazing. Chance said they tasted like funnel cakes. They were probably fried discs of sugar! Then, as we were getting ready to leave, the waitress emerged with two giant chocolate chip cookies (again, free!)
At one point Nasko signed/said that he needed a napkin. I have never seen a wait staff move so fast, as a random man instantly showed up at our table with a moist wipe! It was like Nasko was royalty!
After breakfast, we intended to head to the museum, but it's tough being royalty and Nasko started to fall apart. So, back to the hotel room we went! He (again) put himself in bed and slept for two more hours. Chance also got a little more sleep and I read a book about labor and delivery... That seems a little less-than-fair!
The museum ended up being a less-than-awesome experience. The museum itself was fine, but it was very crowded. Nasko was already having a rough time adjusting to a new environment and then we threw him into a building with hundreds of kids all wanting to touch the same things and be in the same space at the same time.
In hindsight, skip the children's museum during spring break week...
(Can you tell he's crying while driving a mock bus?! He acted like we were punishing him. Oh gracious...)
He did really enjoy playing with the shopping cart and pretend groceries at least.
After the flop that was the museum (thankfully they let me in free for being an educator, so it wasn't as expensive of a flop!), we walked around Navy Pier for a little bit. It was too cold to ride the ferris wheel and other rides, but Nasko enjoyed looking at a few shops and riding on a little train.
When we left Navy Pier, we walked back to the bus stop and returned to the hotel. Nasko again, loved the bus!
That evening, this Mama was craving good, deep-dish Chicago pizza, so upon some investigation, we found a place that would deliver gluten-free pizza to our hotel.
And it was all I dreamed it would be.
After the yummy dinner, we headed to bed! We are such party animals!
The next day, we had less of an agenda. Nasko and I rode the buses, with no real destination in mind (once ending up about four blocks from where Mama thought the bus would take us thus having to walk back to a familiar road. Oops.)
We ate lunch at America's Dog. I had a chili, cheese, and onion hot dog. Chance ate a cheeseburger. Nasko had two plain hot dogs with no bun – for $4.36 per hot dog. After hearing the price, I had to try really hard not to give birth on the America's Dog restaurant floor...
We rode the bus some more and eventually ended up at the Ben and Jerry's which happened to be next door to where we ate lunch!
Later in the afternoon, we walked a little ways (ok, like a bajillion blocks) to eventually meet up with a bus that took us to Union Station. We got on the train and headed back towards home. This train was rather empty, so Nasko had two blocks of four seats to roam and play in. Mama got no reading done on this trip!
We had a fun getaway, but were so glad to see cornfields and cows when we got home! We are definitely not big-city people!