A Dérive in Chicago

When I am visiting a city I like to walk. Especially ones that I never been before. Instead of taking a car and drive through the insane big cities transit, or get to the public transportation and submerge in a planned and boring trip, I prefer to walk. Follow my own rhythm and feel the city around my body. You never know what to expect and how or when you trip will finish.

The variables are countless: You could cross the street to see a colorful window shop; change directions because of the traffic lights close in your face; stop in a restaurant due to the involving smell. go back because you saw something suspicious. Nonetheless, I am adept to digital mapping. I don’t like to lose myself, so I always try to define a landmark. Either a physical landmark like a building or a digital representation of the space to be explored.

The problem with the digital mapping when you are visiting places is that you might don’t have access to the Internet. So, when I went to Chicago on my last trip, I already know that I would plan ahead to define the are of my walks. I publish here the last day in Chicago: a 17 km walk in a sunny Sunday.

My wife and I start in the lobby of the hotel, where we just checked out. From there we went to Institute Of Design to return a project and then explorer a portion of the city that we didn’t know yet – the waterfront. It seems easy since you can just follow the water. But I was not aiming for 17 km. Perhaps we thought to walk for just 5 km. But the decisions to continue was driven by visual clues and the desire to be in a place that we never been before.

We decided to get to the navy pier. That was the only plan. Before to get there, we feel the need for a coffee. We were already in dérive. Where to drink a coffee? We turn some blocks around just before the navy pier. I find McDonald’s. It was not what we want – to eat a burger in the morning. Unhappy, we continue and just after one block, we find a coffee shop. Nothing fancy, but definitely better than McDonald’s.

So, we cross North lake shore drive and faced a park. It wasn’t the navy pier yet, but we thought it was. The park is small, so in 20 min we came back to where we start. In a couple of minutes, we arrive at the navy pier. I follow the sidewalk It wasn’t what we expected – it looked like the loading area. By the time that we arrive at the end of the pier we realize that we were in the loading area. The other side is the front side, where people enjoy the blue sky and the sun on their faces.

The adventure continued through all the way, discovering new streets, different restaurants and a good place to relax and drink the last glass of wine before going back home.