Chicago is unlike any other city we have visited in the States. It’s actually where Jordy was born, and where he spent summers working while he was at college, so he knows it well. He also has a favourite uncle there, who’s now a favourite of mine. We stayed in his spectacular terrace near Wicker Park, which is full to the brim of more art and artefacts than I’ve ever seen. It is a cornucopia of sparkly, ancient, beautiful finds and I literally explored for a good hour in awe of his collection before I could sit down to join he and Jordy and a glass of wine. From 200 year old Czech glassware to an effigy of Pope Augustus from the 17th century, alongside walls crowded with modern art and bookshelves heaving with antique wares. Three days later I was still finding favourite new corners and items to swoon over. Naturally, he knew all the best vintage stores in the area, and we browsed mid-century furniture and Victorian jewelry out of the cold and wind of the city. The Chicago Art Institute is easily a favourite of the trip, housing a pretty wonderful and varied collection of modern, impressionist and American art that we immersed ourselves in for a few hours, walking off the traditional Italian lunches Chicago is so famed for.
What I liked about Chicago, what I found endearing and kindly in spite of the rain, was the wide streets and the way the city seems to sprawl, from the great lake back to the tree lined suburban streets. It’s a city that feels like a town, and the green parkways and brick houses look like homes.
Surprisingly, to me anyway, it’s a city I wouldn’t mind living in - if I could just get over the cold, cold days.