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We fell in love with Puerto Rico on a visit there this past week, and this is the first of many posts on this enchanting island. Warm and vibrant, welcoming, and stunning,  Puerto Rico was exactly what we needed after some very stressful work months and losing our cat and having a car accident in the same week. My car is going to take almost two weeks to fix!

With winter creeping back in here in the Northeast, I thought that a peek at Old San Juan’s colorful architecture would be a good place to start. Old San Juan offers colorful facades, catchy music, smells of food and tropical flowers, and a variety of accents, languages, and more around every corner.

As I catch up on work and life I hope you enjoy a bit of a mental getaway through travel photos. More to come!

Cathedral of San Juan Bautista

 

Cathedral of San Juan Bautista

 

 

Old San Juan Old San Juan El Convento Old San Juan Old San Juan Old San Juan Old San Juan Old San Juan Old San Juan Fort

Old San Juan Old San Juan art gallery door Old San Juan Old San Juan Old San Juan   Old San Juan flowers Old San Juan flowers Old San Juan

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Tags: architecture, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, san juan, Travel, travel blog, travel blog posts

Our trip to Chicago feels like it was such a long time ago, but I didn’t want to leave out posting about the architectural boat tour that we took, which was one of the highlights of the trip.

Chicago has many options for architectural boat tours, and since we really wanted a combination of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, we went with Mercury Cruises, which turned out to be a great choice.

First of all, it’s location was lovely, right on the River Walk, where I loved spending time.

Chicago Riverwalk

The boat was beautiful, and we got seats right on the bow so that we could see everything. The boat also had a comfortable interior where we went when it got a little windy. Inside was a bar that served local beer, which was a really nice touch.

Lake Michigan boat tour

Going through the locks from the Chicago River into Lake Michigan was a fun experience, and once out of the river, we were really on our way.

Chicago boat tour

Lake Michigan boat tour

Navy Pier

I can’t get over Lake Michigan’s vastness; it really feels like the ocean and with the windy day we had, there were some nice swells.

boat Lake Michigan Even though we had an overcast day, the sights were absolutely beautiful. Seeing the skyline from the lake was really special, and our Captain had all sorts of interesting historical tips to share with us.

Lake Michigan

Chicago architectural boat tour

Boating on the river was equally as beautiful and interesting. The skyscrapers really lived up to their name, and we saw Willis Tower, Aon Center, John Hancock Building, Museum Campus, Trump Tower, Marina City, and others. Chicago’s history is so interesting and rich, and I would love to do another boat tour as well as a land tour so that I can learn more.

Chicago skyline

 

Trump building Chicago

(The Trump Tower was as obnoxious as the person behind the name.)

There’s so much to do in Chicago, but when we were planning our trip everyone told us to do an architectural tour. They were all right!

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Tags: architecture, boats, Chicago, tours, Travel, travel blog, vacation

Chicago graced us with gorgeous, warm fall weather, blue skies, and good friends and family. We walked miles and miles and I took hundreds of photos, making it difficult to narrow down photos into blog posts.

Below I have included just a sampling of the sights we saw in Chicago. Stay tuned for some more specific recaps in the next few weeks.

Chicago skyline

Chicago skyline

We made a point to walk along Lake Michigan every day so we could take in as much of its beautiful scenery as possible. The Chicago skyline against blue skies and the grandness of the lake was breathtaking. I want a gorgeous, spacious apartment on the Gold Coast and a dog I can walk along the lake twice a day. Too much to ask?

Public Hotels Chicago

We stayed at the Public Hotel Chicago, and it was absolutely amazing. Our room was simple, chic, and comfortable with an incredible view of the Sears Tower. The hotel decor was just stunning, and the bars served creative craft cocktails and great service. I was so sad when we had to check out of this hotel.

Fado Irish Pub

We visit an Irish bar in every city we go to, and after my friend finished the Chicago Marathon, we had late night drinks at Fado, where the bartender was from the same teeny tiny village in the West of Ireland as my brother-in-law’s dad, who was his family doctor. Small world indeed.

Michigan Ave

Chicago in Autumn

Chicago does it up for fall, and there were gorgeous mum displays, pumpkins, and more everywhere we looked. I adored all of the gardens, and it made me want to pay more attention to all of the beauty in my own city.

The Drake Chicago

The Drake Chicago I am a huge fan of old hotels, so a visit to The Drake Hotel was a must-do for me.  Old wood and leather made for a great atmosphere, and strong Irish coffees warmed us up after walking around in the shade of Michigan Ave buildings. I love to imagine the heyday of old hotels, and of course I like to think there is a bit of haunting history in them.

Navy Pier Navy Pier ferris wheel Navy Pier

Navy Pier was one of my favorite places the entire weekend. The sun was shining, a beer stand sold cold local beers, and we were able to take in the sun, sights, and sounds while relaxing lakeside. There is so much happening at Navy Pier. I loved the lush Crystal Gardens, and I want to return for some Shakespeare in the summer.

 

Tribune Tower ChicagoChicago Tribune Tower   Tribune Tower

We had the good fortune of having Max The Urbanologist as our tour guide one afternoon, and we met at the famed Tribune Tower, which features pieces from famous structures around the world.

 

Three Dots and a DashThree Dots and a Dash Max took us along the Riverwalk, showed us points of interest, and led us to the subterranean Three Dots and a Dash where we shared a Zombie Punch, a fun and very large tiki drink.

Chicago Riverwalk

The Riverwalk was another favorite part of our visit to Chicago. I loved being able to watch the boats go by, and we made a couple of stops to Flanders Beer & Belgian Frites to grab beers (Matilda and Sofie, favorites from our Goose Island tour) and fries. I loved that we could take beers to go and wander with them around the Riverwalk. It’s something that would never happen in Boston, but it makes perfect sense and definitely made us feel like we were being treated like responsible adults. We found cocktails available to go in the train station, airport, and other places, and didn’t see anyone abusing the perk.

cocktails to go

Union Station Chicago And finally, there was the architecture. We did an architectural boat tour, which I will recap in a separate post, but Union Station was one of the most spectacular buildings to me. I love old train stations just like I love old hotels, and even if you aren’t taking a train, Union Station is worth a stroll.

Have you ever been to Chicago? What was your favorite part?

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Tags: architecture, Chicago, cocktails, hotels, photography, Travel, travel blog, travel blogger, travel posts

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