Chicago, wedding #4

Ben and Simiao got married this past weekend at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL, so we took the opportunity to go on a much-needed vacation and headed over the Sunday before via the Amtrak.

Or, at least, we tried to go via the Amtrak. Turns out they were having line trouble between Toledo and Chicago which meant both that we were two hours late leaving Pittsburgh despite the train being there on time (because the crew had exceeded their working hours or something), and we were woken up in Toledo and transferred to a cramped charter bus for the rest of the trip. So much for taking the more-comfortable Amtrak over the Greyhound. :(

Chicago turns out to be a wonderous land where the Walgreens sell frozen yogurt (with fresh fruit toppings), the Starbucks have a beer and wine selection, the people don’t seem very friendly, and the drivers honk all the time at nothing in particular. Interesting to visit, certainly, but not somewhere I’d really want to live.

We made quite a few trips out to the Bean.

The Chicago marathon was also that weekend, so we encountered a lot of marathon-related things, including rows upon rows of port-o-potties and chain-link fences that seemed quite out of place in the parks.

Ben had a bachelor’s party on Thursday evening. We tried to make it out, but it turns out the Blue line was having serious issues, with trains arriving overpacked and only one or two people able to squeeze into each car at the station.

After being unable to board 4 trains in a row, we gave up and met up with them for dinner instead, which ended up being amazingly tasty.

But mostly we spent the week wandering the city before transferring out to a hotel in Lisle on Friday before the wedding. We took the Metra train, which seems pretty much exactly like the Caltrain. The seats had a neat property though where the backs swiveled over the seat itself so you could face either direction or create little seating areas that faced each other. Kind of an awesome feature.

Saturday was the wedding, and we took advantage of the free admission to the Arboretum to wander it for a bit in the morning. We had no car and walk everywhere anyway, so we walked the 2.5 miles in, but it turns out the Arboretum doesn’t really expect people to wander in by foot. As a result, we ended up standing in a line of cars going to the entry booth while a bunch of confused volunteers kept asking if we were okay. So that was fun.

The wedding itself was beautiful. It was the quickest ceremony I’ve ever seen (less than 7 minutes from the time the officiant walked out the door to when he walked back in again after having married them), but it was still awesome. And you couldn’t beat the view.

The food, booze, and company were all awesome, and it was rather a shame to head home Sunday evening via the Metra to an L train to a plane to a Port Authority bus. Our great luck at Chicago public transit never failed us, with trains usually arriving shortly after we got to the platform, but gave out in Pittsburgh when we missed the 28X by a matter of seconds.

More photos can be found at photos.

That’s it for weddings this year (thank god). Next wedding is in March, followed by ours in April. Yay for more weddings?

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