Is there anything better than waking up in the middle of a beautiful city where a short walk around the corner brings you to fresh coffee and donuts? I'm only 26 so there might be but, for now this is the best thing I can think of. The place is called Do-Rite Donuts and the name says it all. I ate a strawberry rhubarb and a pistachio donut. Flavors like these aren't readily available at home so it was a particularly joyful experience. As I sat outside, alternating delicious bite with delicious sip, watching people hurry off to work, I made some friends.
Maybe half a dozen sparrows perched on chairs and tables hoping for a crumb to fall. I'm just glad they were polite enough to wait for the crumbs to be on the ground before swooping in rather than eating right out of my hand.
I checked into my first hostel in the early afternoon after a short bike ride along the lakefront trail. Lincoln Park, where the Getaway Chicago Hostel stands, reminds me of Somerville – neighborhoods with tightly fitted, older homes stemming off main roads with Mexican food and bars and little grocery shops.
I had a few places on my list to visit in the area but, I got completely sidetracked after meeting Jeremy, a younger dude from Canada that's been driving around the U.S. for a few months now. Then the two of us ended up on the patio with a half dozen or so other travelers staying at the hostel. By the end of the night our group had doubled in size.
The whole environment just reminded me of college – the community space and kitchen, the shared bedrooms with bunk beds and most people not knowing one another. And the cigarettes, everybody was rolling their own cigarettes (except me, it seemed). I met people from Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, The Netherlands, North Carolina, and even a dude that was born and raised in Chicago. What a fun night. It was great hearing and sharing stories of how we all ended up in Chicago and where our next stop will be.