Last weekend we had to go to Chicago to get Mila’s Brazilian passport at the Brazilian Consulate. We went on Sunday so we could spend the day going around, since Rafa had never been there and came back on Monday after getting things done at the Consulate. It took us about 4h30 hours to drive there each way.
We booked the hotel room through Hotwire! (www.hotwire.com). Good tip for travelers (thanks Alan Mond for telling me about it). For those who don’t know, this website sells hotel rooms without displaying the name of the hotel, so you insert location, how many stars you want and the website gives you some alternatives at discounted rates. And you actually buy the room without knowing which hotel you are getting, but it is excellent since the location and quality of the hotel are guaranteed by the filters you insert on the search. We ended up getting the Hilton at Michigan Ave for a great deal. The room was average but the hotel is like a shopping center and is very well located.
Upon arrival (about 12pm) we managed to do an early check in and went strolling on Michigan Ave ( gorgeous view!), looking for a restaurant to get something to eat. We ended up having lunch at THE PARK GRILL (@ Millennium Park, just under the BEAN and in front of an ice skating rink). Food was great and not too expansive! I had a delicious risotto and Rafa had a super Burger!
After lunch we went to take some pics at the BEAN and went back to the hotel. I wish I could have taken Mila to the Chicago Institute of Arts, just beside the Park, but it would be too overwhelming for her due to the long drive. She was super tired.
In the evening we went for a deep-dish pizza (traditional Chicago style pizza!) at Giordano’s, by the Millenium park. We were lucky to have a Brazilian friend from Whirlpool in town to join us for a great night with pizza and lots of chatting… (nice seeing you Thiago Nardocci!)
Early in the next day we headed up (by taxi – about 10 dollars) to the Consulate. One advice for those wanting to visit Chicago is to get a hotel room at the Loop area, and park your car at the hotel – we paid about 50 dollars for 24h because parking is so expensive over there. And then you can walk around or take taxi if it is too cold.
We would have stayed 2 hours at the Consulate to get Mila’s birth certificate and passport but we stayed the entire morning instead because I had to get myself a new passport too and I had’t prepared the documentation for that. It so happened that I had to add my husband’s last name on my passport and before going to Chicago I had read in one Brazilian website that I would have to do just a written addition on my passport with my husband’s last name until my current passport would expire. But when I got there, I found out that the process had changed and that I had to make a whole new passport! Then I had to do all the process in a rush while there (online form from a borrowed smartphone – iPhone blocks the forms, 2×2 picture at Wallgreens, money order at the Post office, etc) so I wouldn’t have to go back to Chicago again in another time just for that. It was nerve wracking having to do everything in a rush (my fault!) but at the end it all went well.
After finishing everything (by 1pm) we checked out from the hotel and went for a traditional lunch at the Cheesecake Factory! YUMYYYY! I can’t wait for them to open one restaurant in NOVI (metro Detroit area) later this year! Delicious lunch (I had a salad) and wonderful desert (Oreo Cheesecake!).
It was an intense short trip but super fun! Mila behaved very well and enjoyed seeing the landscape. On the way to Chicago, we had to stop just once to feed her, and during the trip she alternated between laughs or naps. I guess she is getting used to travel! And the outcome: She is officially half Brazilian now!