A Little of This; A Little of That.
I’m staying at the Palmer House here in Chicago. It’s my first time at this hotel, but will not be the last. I love old hotels, as long as they have been properly maintained, and this one goes back a ways. In fact, the Palmer House welcomed its first guest in 1873. It’s just a short cab ride from Union Station, so it’s convenient for those of us who come and go by train several times a year.
One black mark: the hotel’s otherwise excellent restaurant, Lockwood, serves its Eggs Benedict on a slab of bread pudding. I have registered a polite objection to this futile effort to improve upon perfection.
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I re-entered the U.S. having forgotten to change my Canadian money back into U.S. dollars. With all morning to kill, I located a foreign currency exchange that was only five blocks from this hotel. It was, according to my smart phone,19 degrees when I set out to hike those five blocks an hours ago.
Doesn’t sound like much, does it? Except that it takes a while, what with waiting at every street corner for the “WALK” light … and the wind … and the snow flurries … and for the missing street signs at the intersection where I was supposed to turn right. And for the walk back. All that for $78.
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There was no clock in my room at the Royal York in Toronto, so I responded to the invitation to email the general manager with any comments relating to my stay, just letting him know that a usual amenity was not there. A prompt email response noted that the small digital cordless clock/radios “tend to go missing”. What? Guests at the elegant and historic Royal York are pinching the little clock/radios?? Who’da thought?
It raises a fascinating point, though: Does that mean fewer clocks were swiped when they had cords? What about towels? And is it true that it’s OK to take any unused extras of the little sample-sized bars of soap and shampoo?
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I’m leaving here in an hour for Union Station and will leave this afternoon on Amtrak’s California Zephyr. The ride up through the Rockies after leaving Denver is spectacular in other times of the year and I’m anxious to have the experience in the middle of winter. The following day, we’ll be crossing the Sierra Nevada mountains via Donner Pass. I certainly expect to see plenty of snow there. (When the snow had all melted at the Donner Party’s campsite in the Spring of 1847, the stumps of trees they had cut for firewood were 12 feet high.)