Wednesday, April 7, 2010

“Chicago, Chicago That toddlin' town”

Just a little trivia, in the song, “toddlin” referred to the fact that Chicago was just a toddler in 1922 (when the song was written) compared to New York, which had had lots of songs written about it.  I know that just fascinates you… and the term Windy city… doesn’t necessarily come from the fact that the wind always blows there (which it does) but instead could come from…and this story is straight form the mouth of our tour guide, Top-3 and I’m sure he knew all…the time when Chicago hosted the world fair, the then mayor boasted about it so much they became known as the windy (which meant full of hot air)city.  Now that the education part of this post is over…on with the trip.  In preparing for this trip, there were more things we wanted to see in Chicago, the thought of locating them all even with the help of Maggie seemed daunting, so I booked seats on the “Hop on, Hop off” trolley.  It would stop at 19 points of interest in the downtown area, you could get off, spend as much time as you wanted then get back on.  Saves time in driving from place to place.  Now in reality the area of interests were probably only 2 miles square at the most, could easily have been walked, but the three different tour guides we had on the trolley were very entertaining and gave lots of information on the buildings and history of Chicago.  This was one of my favorite things from the trip.

We actually woke up to a rare sunny day in Chicago, it didn’t feel too bad when we left the hotel, we didn’t want to carry a coat around so we didn’t wear one.  BIG mistake!  Because are so many tall buildings, and the wind (you remember that wind that ALWAYS blows) blew really cold, and it blew the whole time, did I already say that…you know the part about the wind always blowing…anyway because of all that, we didn’t see much of the sun during our sightseeing trip.Jessica and I FROZE!!! So sweet Arlon took us to a Walgreens to buy us a souvenir….Sweatshirts, what a sweet man.  As you can see Jessica's hoodie brought out the ever changing beast in Jessica.

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Our first “Hop off” was the “Magnificent Mile”.  A Mile of Mall stores, Jessica had been waiting for this the whole trip.  She was disappointed to learn however that the store on this stretch of road, paid the highest cost per square foot for retail space to be there, therefore passed that cost on the the customer.  So sad, not in Jessica's budget.  So we drowned our sorrows in Chocolate, because you can always afford chocolate!Top-14 and we got a free candy bar for visiting the Hersey store, and right across the street…a Ghirardelli store, more free samples, chocolate almost takes the pain of poverty away.

  While waiting for the trolley…Bernerd checked out the map of down town,Top-15 Jessica still was not over the pain of over priced clothes.

  Next stop Navy Pier. Top-8 Really a cool place to visit. We were running out of time so we just hopped off, did a quick perusal of it and added it to the list of places to go back to sometime when we have more time.  We did get our free sample of popcorn however, Garrett popcorn, famous for combining Caramelcrisp and Cheesecorn popcorn.  Next stop Top-1 Millennium Park (in case you couldn’t read it on the picture).  Jessica had some left over popcorn and thought the ducks looked hungry…they knew the routine and waddled over to visit,Top-11 just about the time she was brave enough to stand still she looked up to see thisTop swooping in to steal the goods, now we have all seen “The Birds”, scariest movie ever…so all she could do was scream and run.

The park had a really cool band stand Top-7 lots of steel for Arlon to admire and say… I could have made that. But what the park is known for, (and in cool things for Arlon to see) ranking second to the Arch, not a close second, but still in second place, was “Cloud Gate” Top-9

Cloud Gate -- referred to by locals as "The Bean", for obvious reasons -- is a public sculpture by talented British artist Anish Kapoor. Cloud Gate weighs in at over 110-tons, and is 66 feet long and 33 feet high. "The Bean" was created using a huge number of individual stainless steel plates -- Cloud Gate's seamless surface is the result of thousands of hours of polishing.

The sculpture has the appearance of a giant drop of liquid mercury, and the mirrored surface offers an amazing reflection of the city skyline, Top-10 even more breathtaking on a bright, clear day. Visitors can walk underneath the Cloud Gate, which is surprisingly concave. Kids especially enjoy the fun house mirror effect that this creates.  (Can you tell I copied that straight from the tour guide?)

Top-2 Arlon of course walked around it looking for the welds, which he couldn’t find.  This is like looking at a “Where's Waldo” picture, or a where’s Arlon and Jessica, or is it a picture of me, taking a picture of me, or a picture of me taking a picture of me, taking a picture…of me…mind blowing

lame but still it was really cool.

So as the day came to a close, we had seen little bits of everything, The glass balcony at the Willis Building (formerly the Sears Tower) where you could walk out on and be 1,353 feet over Chicago…NOT!  Hard Rock Cafe, didn’t eat there, went to Top-16 Portillo’s at the suggestion of our tour guide, we were hoping for deep dish pizza, got really thin crust instead, but a really good braut.  Saw “Shedd Aquarium” (just did a drive by), ate chocolate at the Hershey store at the Water Tower, dreamed about Diamonds at Tiffanies on the Magnificent Mile that we would never own, saw Forrest Gump’s “Bubba Gump Shrimp” shop at Navy Pier, and were entertained with stories of Chicago, by well versed tour guides.  I could totally go back to Chicago for a couple more weeks, as there was so much more to see, but what we did see… wore Jessica out Top-13


Ron and Paula said...

I'm so jealous of all the fun places you got to visit. We'll havae to go back to Chicago sometime on a girls trip. But we have to get rich first so we can shop on the magnificent mile!