Monday, May 29: Chicago – Day 3 and home



I’m writing this Tuesday morning, May 30. I took today off as well and I’m so glad I did. Today I get to do what I’d originally intended to do with most of this 5 day weekend: as little as possible. Well, not really, just whatever I want on an unstructured time table. Which is really a continuation of how we approached this entire weekend. Dan and I were going over TripAdvisor’s list of Things To Do in Chicago yesterday at breakfast and we were surprised at how much of the top 20 we hit on without really even trying.

We left the hotel early knowing it was a short day, about 8:30. We had nothing planned than exploring more of the city and stopping for lunch at some point. And that’s exactly how it unfolded. We started by going back to Millennium and Grant Parks. It was beautiful weather again and there were lots of people out and about. It was obvious that many were locals and we always appreciate seeing folks taking advantage of the outdoor space available in big cities. Lots of runners and bicyclists. In many ways, these parks rival Central Park in size and beauty we think.

Dan was drawn back to Cloud Gate – called it “magical” several times – and wanted to get a few more shots while there were less people about.

 

 Dan – you’re right: it could use a good polish! I see what you mean now.

 

 

 

 An amphitheater with seating up front and a large field for standing folks.
A long wood bridge connecting the parks over the street below, with great backdrops.

 

 Where Dan was drawn back to Cloud Gate, I was drawn back here. There’s something majestic and calming about this fountain.
 This is towards the end of Grant Park. We sat and people watched. Dan grabbed this photo of me (taking photos which I ended up not including).
Museum of Natural History. I was there in 1979, first time I’d seen dinosaurs, etc.
 Next 3 shots all of the sculpture installation, described below, with Dan mimicking one in the last shot. Not sure what it’s supposed to represent – something about walking – but it was cool looking.

 

We were headed to Union Square, just because we like to visit train stations. We’d left the core downtown area and were headed back into it.

 What you have to appreciate about this photo is that the sun was directly in my eyes and I couldn’t see a thing. Not bad! That’s the Willis (Sears) Tower. At 110 stories and 1250 feet, it was the tallest building in Chicago for awhile until the Trump Tower surpassed it. I went up in 1979. Since we’d just done John Hancock the night before, we didn’t feel the need to visit the Skydeck, which is famous for a clear ledge that allows you to step out into the sky.
 Union Square. We love big train stations, especially the older ones like this and Grand Central Station in New York, built at a time when trains were “the” way to travel and the buildings were built as an art form.

 

 

 To All Trains – and the Food Court. Dan found a good spot for lunch right here.

 

 Notice the arrow to the Food Court. It was accurate 🙂
 We loved that most of the options in the food court were focused on Chicago traditions (we skipped the popcorn but I was tempted). The Sacramento airports have done a nice job of that approach – I noticed on this trip that even the Starbucks is gone from Terminal A, replaced with a Taylor’s market. Love the focus on local. And this was our last chance to get Italian Beef and a Chicago hot dog so that’s what we did. And the French fries were Amazing.

 

 After lunch we kept meandering. Dan at the base of the Willis Tower.

 

 A Picasso sculpture in the square outside of City Hall (in the photo below) and the courthouse (behind the sculpture). You can see from the kid it’s pretty big, and there were several children using it as a slide.

 

 At the corner in the middle of the photo is The Dearborn, where we had dinner with Irene Saturday night. I could see this sculpture from where we were sitting at a booth along the sidewalk.
 The Flamingo by Alexander Calder. At 53 feet high it’s fairly tall, with me standing in the middle for perspective.
 We sat on a bench in this square for a minute and I laid down and took this – I liked the reflection of the clouds in the buildings. We really did have amazing weather on this trip, despite the gloomy forecast predicted when we left on Friday.
We went back to the hotel about 1:30 to pack and check out.  There were many things about this hotel which irritated us through the course of the weekend, but the one thing that worked well was the express elevator. Our last elevator ride up.
 
 We took the train to the airport, about a 45 minute ride. Got through security quickly with TSA Pre-check and were able to relax in the lounge and eat an early dinner. The lounge was pretty crowded except for the “quiet room”, which we happily took and had to ourselves most of the time. We had stopped at a different lounge first to take showers and it was very nice to have that option.
My flight left about an hour before Dan’s, and was of course longer. We both got home just fine. This was the first trip of the summer, with two more to follow closely after. In 3 weeks we meet in LA for a quick weekend to celebrate his mother’s 80th birthday. The following week we meet at JFK airport in NYC and travel together for 2 weeks. We will spend 5 nights in Istanbul, then 6 nights castle-hopping in the southern portion of England and Wales, ending with 2 nights in NYC. We’re very excited about all of that and ready for another adventure. I’ll skip LA, but will definitely blog the longer trip, so we will see you then!

 

 

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