Time alone walking in the park

In a world where I feel I have to plan time just to stop and buy contact solution since it ran out yesterday and 3 people in the house need it, I still make time each day to do something for myself.  This week on Friday, I found myself with 2 luxurious hours to fill.

I finished my work week (including over 40 hours of meetings in addition to all the conversations and emails) and had 2 hours of free time before needing to head for the airport.  As I was in Chicago for the first time and knew all about the Miracle Mile, I originally planned to do some shopping for myself and maybe the kids.

As I left the hotel, I decided I would check out Grant Park across the street and enjoy the gardens and the fountain I could see before heading to the stores.  I started walking through the park and kept crossing streets and finding more landmarks and enjoying my walk.  I didn’t realize at the time that Grant Park has many different sections and is 319 acres. I discovered Buckingham Fountain (one of the largest in the world), Crown Fountain (an interactive fountain with two 50 foot towers that display faces of local residents alternating with the water rushing over the sides of the fountain), and the Lurie Garden.

Buckingham Fountain in Chicago - with the wind blowing the water just right

After walking a few miles, I decided to jump in a taxi and head for Navy Pier.  I knew a little about it, but didn’t realize how busy this section of the city actually was.  As I wandered around enjoying the view, the people, and the energy, I decided I should check out the ferris wheel to see if I could take a ride.  The ticket was $6.00, the ride was 7 minutes, and I had about 15 minutes before I needed to start my journey to pick up my luggage and get to the airport.  I rode the ferris wheel and thoroughly enjoyed my 7 minutes of leaving the ground and all other thoughts behind me, and marvelling at the view of the city.  This ferris wheel is modelled after the very first Ferris wheel, which was built for Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. I never knew there was a man named Ferris.  When I told my son this, he said he always thought the ferris wheel got its name from being at “fairs”.

my view of Navy Pier in Chicago

I couldn’t help reflecting on my trip back to the hotel that I would have enjoyed a completely different experience if I had followed my original plan to go shopping.  I have no doubt I would have enjoyed the day with no regrets, but I also know this day of serendipity was just what I needed.

This post contains details on the ride and a great photo of the ferris wheel!

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