It’s a bit of a late post, as I’ve been back from vacation for almost a week now, but I figured I would update about it. I took a short trip to Chicago, which turned out to be an absolute blast.

On Monday, the vacation began. Around roughly 11:30 AM, I left for Chicago. Leaving Owensboro, I was invigorated and excited to be driving up to Chicago. About half way in, the thoughts began to creep in.  “Am I crazy?! I’m driving TO CHICAGO!”. It was totally worth it. After arriving in Chicago, I came upon a nice, not-so-little traffic jam. Traffic had been backed up for roughly 2 miles, and it was very stop-and-go. While in the jam, I came to the realization that I needed to be in the left lane to remain on the correct freeway. No sooner than after I turned my signal on and started to watch for a clearing, the driver of the car behind me was kind enough to let me in. Never has that happened in ANY city I have ever driven in. Owensboro, Nashville, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Louisville, etc, etc. I was in complete shock and awe that someone would be kind enough to let someone through.

Finally, my arrival to O’Hare International Airport was a frenzy. I had arrived to pick up Matt and Greyson. Was quite an interesting experience driving through the terminals, just to find your friends. Traffic was nuts, and the taxis were nuttier. However, we quickly managed to get back onto the freeway and on our way to the hotel.

After the hotel check-in, we decided to meander out into the town and find some grub. Consequently, we made the decision to go eat some Chicago-style stuffed-pizza at Giordano’s. Absolutely DELICIOUS! Afterward, we finally headed back to the hotel to drink a few, and pass out.

Morning came early. Too early. Such a brightly cordoned room it was, when the curtains were pulled open. After finally pulling ourselves together, it was time to hit the streets. The three of us meandered around town, and finally found the Rosemont CTA Stop, and decided to take the public train system the rest of the day. $14 for a 3 day pass is incredibly cheap, particularly given the fact that the stops go throughout most of the city. INCREDIBLY CONVENIENT!

Our tour of town eventually led us out toward Lake Michigan, and the Shedd Aquarium. $35 for an aquarium ticket is rather high for me, so we eventually found out that they have an $8 general admission ticket that we took advantage of. All we wanted to do was see some of the fish, not the ‘Dora and Diego 4-D’ feature they have. Sorry, but we aren’t children, and do not have children… yet. It was certainly interesting, some of the fish they have.

Next stop: WILLIS TOWER. It’s not the first time I had been up to the Sky Deck, but it was certainly the most fun and entertaining. Being with my best friend was a bunch of fun. It really made me realize just how much I probably missed last year when he went backpacking across Europe. Originally, the plan had included me on the trip, but I didn’t have the money, nor vacation time. Maybe we can do that in a few years.

After we left Willis Tower, we hopped on the trains and started to head back to the hotel. It was almost time for the big event! Around 6:15, we left for the venue. Arriving roughly around 6:30, I was particularly surprised at two things. One, the entire arena had LONG lines going all the way around it. Two, we managed to find an open door and got in and got to the front row of the floor, quickly.

Before the opening act (Combichrist) took stage, people all around us took the time to get to know one another. It was quite fun, meeting people that traveled near and far for this show. The people in front of us had been waiting in line since 4:30 AM, and they were from Kansas City, MO. The fellows behind us were from Detroit, MI. And the guy directly to my left… well, he was from Paducah, KY. Was particularly surprised to be standing next to someone from a city so close to me.

Finally, the MAIN event. Rammstein took stage, and it couldn’t have been more amazing. Between getting pushed and shoved into the barricade when the crowd would surge toward the stage, and all the flamethrowers the band used, we were literally stuck between a rock and a hot-spot. Their performance was incredible, and they sounded absolutely phenomenal in a live setting. I couldn’t have enjoyed it any more than I did. Perhaps I’ll update this later with a more detailed description of the show.

After the show, we packed it in and went back to the hotel. Drank a few, and crashed out again, only to start a new day as quickly as the last one. I made the decision to return home instead of traverse the city with the guys, as I was tired, and I had to drive back, while they had a flight home scheduled. So at that, I dropped them off at the CTA stop in Rosemont, and took to the road.

So, it was certainly an enjoyable and exhausting mini-vacation, but it was certainly something I needed as well.