Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chicago Sampler

Click now for JiffNotes

Heather and Michael in Chicago
Before the trip to Chicago, I'd heard that it was called "The Windy City" because of the politicians (on the trip I learned it was the politicians that convinced the Worlds' Fair committee to come there). However, I suspect some of the breeze two weekends ago was created by us as we blew through the city at top speed! We had a wonderful trip, and I just loved Chicago. It was so beautiful, and so CLEAN! However, we barely scratched the surface in our five days. I'd love to go back (and ride a sailboat when it's warmer!)

After a too-short night (I estimate 5 hours sleep), we took off with Michael's parents to the airport, flew to Chicago and immediately boarded the El. I'm astonished by how close it comes to the buildings--and at what an angle it leans on turns--as it hurtles through the city! We checked in to the hotel and then set off to start our pizza sampling at Giordano's, where we decided to wait the 35 minutes for a stuffed-crust pizza: stuffed crust pizza Whoah, that's a lot of cheese! I estimate I consumed the equivalent of 3 cups of shredded mozzarella. It was good, but I admit I was a little disappointed...the sauce was not to my taste (too tomatoey, not enough savory), and the crust was pretty "blah" as well. However, we were well-fortified for a walking tour of Chicago architecture. I learned about Chicago style windows (one large one in the middle, with two smaller, working windows to each side: Chicago style windows I'm so envious of Chicago's city planning. If only Atlanta had taken advantage of Sherman's horrific flame-throwing in the same manner that Chicago benefitted from Old Lady Leary's cow's mischief by deciding to completely replan the city since it was levelled anyway.

Tiffany gorgeousness was everywhere, like on the ceiling of the Marshall Fields building (now Macy's): Marshall Fields ceiling Tiffany wasn't the only one who had it going on, either: Community Center dome
This row of buildings faces Lake Michigan, but Chicago is lousy with gorgeous buildings, both of the original load-bearing masonry and the newfangled steel frame variety. Of course, the steel frame variety are usually clad with fireproof terra cotta to stave off future bovine intervention. Michigan Row
After walking ourselves silly, we headed to the Art Institute Museum for Target Free Thursdays! Admission to the Museum is free, courtesy of Target, Thursdays from 5-8. If you go to Chicago, DO NOT MISS THIS MUSEUM!!! It just may be my favorite museum ever. I could have showed you tons and tons of pictures we took during the two plus hours we ran through it in (we had to stop for a snack in the cafe...mainly salad, to counteract the large dosage of bread, meat and cheese from earlier...and by the way, the cafe food was great and reasonably priced). Their collections are deep and the artifacts on display were all excellent. In most museums I've been to, in any given section there are a bunch of ho-hum objects and two or three that you really want to spend time studying. In this one, almost every piece was worth considering. And, there was a wide array of pieces, from fine arts to decorative arts to ancient artifacts.

I tried to have a Cameron* moment, but there were really too many people there for deep self-contemplation. real art
Also, you gotta love a museum that includes quality 19th century tchotchke--the complete set!--like this monkey band... monkey band ...not to mention the paperweight collection: paperweights
One of the most stunning exhibits was the Thorne Miniature Rooms. There are 68 rooms, recreated in painstaking detail. These go way beyond dollhouse rooms. Each tiny carpet is hand-stitched on 30-count mesh. The furniture is handcrafted. tiny room There is a series of rooms showing every room in an English house in the Georgian period, the late Tudor period, Jacobean period and the Modern period. Then there is a series showing a the rooms of French house in the Louis XV and Revolutionary periods. Then there are sitting rooms from most US states, and from different periods. And on it goes. I wanted way more than the 15 minutes we had to run past them all!
tiny people have UFOs, too But it was comforting to see that even these wee stitchers had UFOs, too. =)

And now for some blog candy...who can tell me what fictional character this symbol reminds them of? I'm thinking of one referred to in a TV series that was on in the last 5 years. You've got until October 31st to dig up the answer. OK, that's two big hints already. Email me at heather at lottloft dot com, with "blog candy" in the subject line. If I don't get any correct answers by next week, I'll start posting more hints. If I get more than one, I'll draw a winner for some blog candy. name that symbol

Day one of five...stay tuned for more pizza eating, more museums, and more bus drama than you can shake a stick at!

* And watch "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," for goodness' sake!!


Anonymous said...

I'm fortunate to live only a couple of hours from Chicago and DBFs entire family lives there, so we visit a lot. I see you went to the Cultural Center?? I love that building.

Also DBF's brother is one of the volunteer docents for the architecture tours... I wonder if he was your guide? His name is John.

Annette said...

I grew up not far from Chicago. I loved the Museum of Science & Industry, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and the Art Institute :) I so want to take my kids to all of them someday.

And the *only* stuffed pizza is Nancy's! LOL

Anonymous said...

I've worked in Chicago for the past 15 years, and have lived in the loop area for the past 5 years - I'm biased - I love this city, and I'm glad that you enjoyed your visit!

I loved the "Cameron" reference!

Anonymous said...

I love your photos! Thank you for sharing. What I love to do is take the train from Minneapolis to Chicago. We usually splurge for a few nights at the Conrad Hilton, stroll to Navy Pier, go to museums and as you said, walk ourselves silly! Even your photo of your pizza brought back good memories.
Thanks for sharing...

Dani - tkdchick said...

What awesome architecture!!!

Cindy said...

Great pictures! I really love the skyline. I am lucky enough to be able to look at it every day (from about 20 miles out) from work :)

I'm glad that you had a great visit!

Old Geek-outs