This morning we woke up to experience a full day in Chicago. The weather forecast weren’t great but we decided to go out and see what the day would bring.
We decided yesterday to go for a architecture boat tour. From what we’ve read that is the best way to discover Chicago. And as soon as we were all ready we left the hotel and got some breakfast at the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts.
After breakfast we walked on the River Walk towards the ticket boots for the serve Tal boat tours Chicago is offering. We decided to go with Chicago’s First Lady Cruises and we boarded the boat for the 11 am tour.
Barry Aldridge from the Chicago Architecture Foundation was our guide and her told us everything about almost every building we saw and a lot about Chicago’s history as well.
We took lots of pictures and enjoyed the nice weather. I guess you cannot always rely on the forecasts.
After our 90 minutes tour was over we decided to walk towards the Navy Pier which we’ve had seen during the tour. The Navy Pier is located directly on Lake Michigan and has great view of both the lake and the city skyline. There are lots of place to eat and Centennial Wheel.
After we walked around and discovered that there were no water taxis going from there we decided to walk back toward our hotel and look for a place to have a late lunch. We found a nice place called O’Briens Riverwalk Café. We all enjoyed our lunches and as the sky became more and more clouded we decided to go back to the hotel before the rain started and so Emily could take a nap.
After Emily woke up from her nap it was pool time. Together with papa she went swimming for almost 2 hours. With lots of jumps and splashes. At the end Emily wanted to go back to mama but first we needed towels, we ended up using 12 towels just for Emily!
Afterwards she was hungry and asked for chicken and fries, we decided to have a quick bite at a McDonalds, we made it with 1 minute left to place our order!
After dinner we went straight back to the hotel and around 10pm we finally got our little princess in bed!
If everything goes according to plan today will be the longest travel in both distance and time.
But first the story from yesterday, late in the evening when both my princesses where already in bed I decided to settle our bill. Everything was fine I only paid 1 out of the 2 nights and as an additional bonus they also didn’t charge us for parking (28$/night) and we got fee breakfast (14$/person)! I’d say I did like the outcome, to bad we need to spend time on it. The hotel itself was very good and the location was perfect.
Back to today, at 6:41am the little princes decided that it was time to switch from the bed with mama to the bed with papa. That including a pretty loud announcement and without holding back she started jumping on my chest, at least she said “Papa I missed you” which made a lot bit more bearable.
From there we got ourselves ready, Emily and I loaded the first suitcases. And when mama was ready we went to the breakfast, I’m glad that we didn’t spent money on it, it was only slightly better as the free breakfast at a Holiday Inn Express.
9:00am sharp we drove out of the parking garage for our 384 Miles long drive to the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, North Carolina. For the European readers this a the North American variant of CenterParcs. Difference are that it’s a hotel and a single building and the pool is more exciting but less themed.
But we still had about 6 hours driving to do. Unfortunately we told Emily that she was going to swim today, she asked about it roughly every 15 minutes! The road was very boring we drove over 3 interstates the I-395, the I-95 and the I-85.
But lucky for us we found some entertainment along the road in getting gas at WaWa, shopping at a Target.
Just after we drove over the border of North Carolina, State #7 we stopped and tried out a new restaurant for lunch. The restaurant was Bojangles but it was a disappointment, the staff didn’t even knew their own menu and the service was, even for fast food, terrible. After lunch Daniëlle drove the last 2 hours and soon we arrived at the Lodge.
The lodge was way bigger as we imagined and we called see it from far away. When we checked in, or better to say got our paperwork as I checked in online yesterday already, we learned that the bracelet where like MagicBands they were your credit card, your room key and your ID. Perfect for a hotel build around an indoor water park/pool.
We got to our room, changed in our bathing suits and we were off to the kids splash area. Emily went from the yellow slide, then the blue slide and played a little bit.
Finally we convinced her to leave and go into the wave pool. She loved it…she was jumping and running until she wanted to checkout the section for bigger kids.
At first we thought adults weren’t allowed but apparently at least one us needed to accompany her. First we played with buckets and other water spraying elements until Emily wanted to slide… There were 2 longer slides and I would have not believed that she went of either one of them if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. And she didn’t only went once, she went 3 times until she decided that she wanted to eat a pretzel!
After dinner in the water area we jumped one more time in the wave pool before wen went back to our room to get dressed and see a short nighttime show for kids in the lobby. After the show it was time for bed.
When we got back to the room it was a little challenge to get Emily to sleep in her own bed for a night but good old Edwin, her interactive rubber ducky helped us out playing some lullabies, it’s also a Bluetooth speaker!
Tomorrow we’ll start in the water area and around lunch we’ll be starting to drive to our next stop!
Last night we had one extra hour of sleep, we only found that out after Emily woke up really early. After some negotiating with Emily at 6:45 we agreed that mama would get her out of bed in an hour is she would sleep a little bit. Oh and I got a kiss!
Off course I couldn’t sleep anymore after making such a deal, but mama was happy. I decided to get out of bed and work on the last blogpost of the cruise to get them ready with pictures and uploaded. Somewhere today everything will be up and readable.
First things first, I didn’t live up to my promise to make pictures of the Townhouse and the car but I’ll give it an another try again tomorrow. Sorry…
Emily slept till 9:15, I guess that’s a new record! Out of bed we had a very slow pace, at around 10:00 we decided that we would drive somewhere with the car, Emily kept asking “go with the Auto”, so that would resolve that. First stop the Premium Outlets at Vineland Avenue, die to a lot of traffic we arrived there around noon. It was difficult to find a parking spot but then Mama suggested to park at the Promenade section across the street, plenty of space.
The main reason for the visit was the Disney Character Outlet. The shop was extremely busy and Emily didn’t like it but the deals were great, the selection was mainly items related to specific events like Christmas 2016, the Alaska Cruise, the Disney Wonder in New York, etc. Not a lot of things we were interested in.
After this we decided to check out the promenade section, we had never been here before but they had some interesting stores. We found some cool clothes at Tommy, I know what you think but no not Tommy Hilfiger, but Tommy Bahamas.
After this we went on to the Mall at Millenia, the more luxurious mall in this area. Funny was that we parked right across from a car with a Dutch license plate (front only). First stop Apple Store, I wanted to see the iPhone X with my own eyes. Beautiful phone but I don’t think it’s worth the price.
Then we all got hungry and we stopped in the foodcourt together some fried rice, veggies and meat at the China Town counter. When that was done we went to mama‘s favourite store Lilli Pulitzer! The staff recognized Emily from the last couple visits, not sure of that’s positive as she always touches the mirrors in there!
After this shop we drove back to the TownHouse and off course the little princess fell a sleep! We decided to stop at the Super Target to get some more water and other useful things. Mama did the shopping papa stayed in the car. Just before mama came back Emily woke up…
We drove back to the Townhouse and the first thing to do was getting our bathing suits on as we wanted to check out the resort pool before it got dark (which is around 6:30pm). In the beginning Emily needed to adjust to the water temperature and the fact that water is different but afterwards she had the most fun of all! It was even difficult to get her out of the water but reading a book and colouring did the trick..
At 7:30 she asked to go to bed and so we did, 8pm sharp we closed her bedroom door. Danielle did some laundry and I’m writing this blog enjoying a cold beer and chocolate, I love vacation!