Friday, September 6, 2013

our chicago experience...

Back to our road trip...
and the city of Chicago.
It was an urban adventure...
one we really enjoyed.

Since taking a motor home into the city center is not advisable...
we hopped on a commuter train and rode the rails in.

Then we did a hop-on / hop-off tour with Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Co.
It was most educational.

Our first stop was Millennium Park...

...which is known as the world's largest roof-top garden.
It sits on top of a parking garage and a commuter rail station.
One would never know!

It is also where 'The Bean' (otherwise known as Cloud Gate) is situated.

The Bean is a sculpture of highly polished stainless steel which was completed in 2006.

It's a popular place for photo-taking...
with the Chicago sky-scape mirrored on the sculpture!

Jan Kanoko's ceramic sculptures were a featured exhibit at the park during the summer months. 
I have no clue what they represented.

Not too far away...
is a more permanent display of 106 iron sculptures...
called Agora (meaning 'the meeting place').
They are nine feet tall and each weigh 1100 pounds.
They are the work of a Polish artist...
with the three million dollar cost being absorbed by the Polish government and by donors.
It's not my kind of art.

A Chicago landmark is the Michigan Ave. Bridge....
a drawbridge that has been used since 1920.

Chicago has its yellow taxis as well...
on the river.

I was pleasantly surprised with the abundance of flowers and planters throughout the city.

Also on Michigan Avenue...
we saw some 15 different ' Chia Heads'...
all sprouting blooms.
They are the work of a non-profit group...
that hope to encourage passersby to think of the environment.

Segways seemed the transportation of choice for many in the city!

Our tour had a stop at the famous Wrigley Field...
which has served as the home ballpark of the Chicago Cubs since 1916.
It is among the smallest and oldest major league ballparks...
was the last one to have lights installed for play after dark (1988)...
and is known for the iconic red marquee over the main entrance.

We can say we saw it...
though watching a ballgame there would have been a little more special!

Let me tell you a little of what I recall about the buildings of Chicago.
I have some photos in my file that I can no longer identify...
so you won't be seeing those. :)

The Willis Tower.
It was being the tallest building in the world...
 when it was completed in 1973 and for some 25 years after.
It was known as the Sears Tower at that time.

Marina City...
more commonly known as the corn cob buildings...
is a double tower high-rise residential/commercial complex.

It was the first building in the United States to be built with tower cranes.
It was completed in 1964.

A recent addition to the skyscrapers of Chicago is...
the Aqua Tower.

The wave-like formed balconies are all part of the nautical theme. 

It is the tallest building in the world to have had a woman as the lead architect. 

It is 82 stories high....
a mix of office, retail, hotel and residential space.

And then there is the Trump International Hotel and Tower...
completed in 2009.

If you watched Apprentice in its very first season you will recall that the winner...
Bill Rancic...
chose to manage the construction of this building.

And here is a building that has been featured in many movies...
home to the  Chicago Tribune and completed in 1923.

Its neo-gothic design was the result of a architectural competition...
and features ornate buttresses at the top.

Another historic landmark is the Carbon and Carbide building erected in 1929.
It is now the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago.

The gold-leaf tower reflects the sunlight...
and is illuminated every night.
Quite beautiful!

Chicago is located along the southwestern shores of Lake Michigan.

We hopped off our tour...
and spent some time at the lake shore.

The Navy Pier is Chicago's number one tourist attraction.
We could tell!

We had Garrett's popcorn...
watched the people...
and the boats.

We were there while the Tall Ships Festival was happening.

This was our parting shot of a lovely city...
one that had no wind while we were there.

I'm not a city girl...
but I liked Chicago!

Though we bade the city farewell...
we had forgotten that we would be back in a few weeks time.
Our flight home had a five-hour layover in Chicago.
What would we do for five hours in O Hare airport?

We would find the Garret popcorn kiosk...
get a good supply of Chicago-mix popcorn...
and settle in for a long session of Rook.

We soon discovered that the popcorn and cards did not mix!
Yummy...but messy.

And that is Chicago...
as we saw it in August of 2013.


  1. I have long wished to visit Chicago, perhaps because of all the books that have been set there. Thanks for the great tour. I thought those Polish sculptures looked like a herd of elephants!
    Chicago Mix - I've just discovered it at Costco and wish I hadn't. It's addictive!

  2. I keep hearing it is a great place to if I can just convince my husband!! :-)

  3. Chicago is filled with really neat tourist spots. I had heard of I've had a tour that makes me think I'd really enjoy spending a few days there. The bean is so neat...and I too thought the sculptures looked like a herd of elephants.

  4. I am with you on the art. Chicago has never nestled into my heart; one visit, a second visit and I still couldn't get a warm fuzzy feeling about the place. Guess I am just not a big city person. Your pictures did a great job of showing the best side and scenes though.

  5. Ha! We bought Garretts chicago mix at the airport, too. I was surprised at how fast we devoured it! Love your photos of Chicago. It was interesting to see the new sculptures here and there...

  6. What a great travelogue about Chicago! I learned a few things such as the gold leaf on the Carbon and Carbide Bldg -- isn't it beautiful!--(now the Hard Rock Hotel, an unfortunate name) and I laughed at the 'chia pet' planters and the "corn cob" buildings.
    We have visited Chicago a few times as our kids went to school near there. I love it and I especially love the Art Museum there.
    You did a great job getting a photo of the 2 of you in the bean without having the camera over your face! Tricky.

  7. Fantastic photography!

    I enjoyed the visit!


  8. Oh I love when things come full circle...another chance for you and Elmer to enjoy the popcorn and I do remember watching Bill Rancic win in 2009 and choose that project. Guess he did pretty well. When I saw the Polish sculptor's work, I knew right away that he was depicting elephants. LOL! Okay, maybe not. Elephants with human feet and no torsos...right...different.

    Thanks for a delightful tour. It looks as if it was a perfect day.

  9. What a time you had in Chicago. It's a beautiful city. I've never been there but would love to see it someday. The big bean fascinates me and I love the lakefront and the beautiful architecture. Thanks for the tour! Pam

  10. A great tour of Chicago. I especially enjoyed it as I have never been there, and it is prettier than I imagined. I love The Bean but don't care for the elephant feet!
    Farm Gal in VA

  11. Your photos are absolutely gorgeous, Judy! I live in SE Wisconsin and have taken some of the same shots, with less favorable results. You had a wonderful tour. The Tall Ships are especially nice to see. Always nice to go in by train too. This is my first visit to your blog, via Vee and Judy @ Daily Yarns. Thanks for sharing your visit to the Windy City. Joyce

  12. Thanks to you, I just received a free hop on/hop off tour of Chicago, and I did not experience any wind either. Only disappointing thing with my tour is that I could not taste that popcorn. Honestly Judy, that was the most I learned about Chicago in a long time. It is a prettier city than I imagined and definitely has impressive architecture. The wave building was most interesting.

    I don't think passing time in an airport would be too bad, with Rook cards and popcorn:)

    Hope you have a real nice weekend!

  13. Such a contrast to the wide open country space you are used to ! There is beauty in the city as well, and you have captured this city very well!

  14. Being a life long Cubs fan I loved the shot of Wrigley field...thanks for that...all the photos are glorious...did you see the old Water Tower? Thanks so much for taking us along...Mac, who did bootcamp in Chicago, laughed at the site of the Navy Pier...and we wished we had been there for the tall ships

  15. What an amazing tour of Chicago! Some of my favorite shots are the high gloss cloud or bean with the reflections in it and the photos of the sail ships.
    We must have blown through Chicago years ago... no tour bus.

  16. Thanks for taking me along on this tour...The on/off buses sure give one a quick tour highlighting the sites. Those towers and their heights are amazingly high. I've only been through Chicago via flight transfers.

  17. Wow - what an interesting city! The Hard Rock Hotel would be a sight to see! Love the chia sculptures too. It's lovely to see all the flowers and green spaces in the city. And I'm in agreement with you on the Polish sculptures - not really my kind of art.

    We have the tall ship festival here every few years. I love watching them.

    I don't think I could be a city dweller but your pictures make it look like a very lovely place to visit!

    PS. Those popcorn pictures are making me hungry! :)

  18. What wonderful photos and commentary, Judy! I've only visited Chicago once, but I also fell in love with that city! It was springtime when I visited and the city was full of tulips. If you ever visit again take the architectural river cruise--it is so wonderful to see all the buildings from the river.


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson