Firstly, apologies for how behind I've been getting with the blog- Pittsburgh was more a time for catching up with April and relaxing for a change so I didn't get to the computer much! But I'm back now and perusing my diary enteries for some goodies to share with you all... I'll see what I can find for y'all...
So, "Today" the day of Chicago!
We woke up at another early hour and headed to the canteen for some (free!) brekkie- bagels, cwaffee, the usual. We then heard that bus tours could be taken from Millenium Park so we set off in that direction finding some great statues and architecture along the way (basically that walk is all along the skyline so it's very cool.) In particular though, we became aquainted with "The Bean" a giant shiney bean-shaped sculpture that reflects so much of the skyline in it's curved shiney surface. It also throws back reflections of yourself in places you don't expect to see them. Very cool. We also saw the Crown (think it's spelt like that) fountain which is quite strange- it's two towers of glass bricks in a very shallow "pond" (more like a puddle") in the towers are reflected images of real Chicago residents' faces, the wierd part comes after a few minutes of watching, when the faces purse their lips and then, where their mouth is on the tower, water spurts out! So they are, in affect, spitting at/on you. We get the hint Chicago... Kidding, it's a lovely place. So, Millenium Park, we found, was the home of many exciting things indeed. A grand time was had by all. This was, of course, until we made it to where the tickets for bus tours were meant to be sold only to find it doesn't exist at all.... Fun. So back to the hostel we went!
Chicago is much colder than anywhere else we've been so far though so don't worry, we weren't too annoyed or frustrated with the walking- it was keeping us warm!
Eventually someone at the hostel directed us to where the tour tickets could be bought, we got there just to watch a trolley-car pull away... But the wait wasn't too long and there's plenty to look at in Chicago, it's a really interesting place in terms of architecture, so I was happy. And Dan was cold, and not hot, so he was ok too.
Today was pretty cold, but with bright sunshine which makes walking around quite nice. However, when the bus did arrive at the stop, our choice of seats may have been a mistake- on the top deck, but not behind the wind-sheild... It was so cold when the wind picked up that our faces hurt! The views, however, were spectacular, and worth all the pain, I'm sure. We also managed to catch everything while the sun was still out, so go us.
We decided to pay a visit to the John Hanncock building (not Sears tower as it's more expensive and doesn't have a 360 view.) You can see everything from the Hanncock tower, it's breathtaking, really amazing. But, I have to say, absolutely terrifying to be that far up and surrounded by glass! The deck had a really interesting display about the city too though, so learning something whilst scarying ourselves silly and enjoying the awesome views, not bad going for $12 a head.
We went for a rather unconvential approach for dinner, under the Hanncock tower, a little place called The Cheesecake Factory. Guess what we had for lunch.... Yes, a big fat chunk of cheesecake.... Each... Dan's was a pecan, caramelly concoction and mine was a baked apple & cinnamon beauty. Very yummy, but incredibly filling- we each only got half way through! Meant we got a cute little take-away bag though so I was quite happy...
We also saw David Schwimmer's theatre- Through The Looking Glass theatre which is situated next to or in one of the 2 buildings which remained after the city's great fire in 1812 (we think) which about 90% of the city was burnt down. To be cultural we also decided to "take in" The Museum of Contemporary art - free on a tuesday. We are both quite open to contemporary art and thought it would be good to see. I have to say, I can appreciate most things, but I found the vast majority of pieces there (particularly the bit exhibit of Matta Clark's work) pretty ridiculous. This blog isn't about art though so I won't go on, suffice to say, it wasn't worth the price of entry...
I much preferred, in terms of art, the Chegal mosiac (Four Seasons) and Picasso sculpture which are around the city in public places. There's also a cool sculpture outside the Thompson Centre which I took photos of with Paloogin. Also, notably, Mussolini's Column (pathetic, I think it was a bit of an insult... Either that or he had it to spare.)
There were little Chicago elementary school children at the hostel when we got back asking lots of questions. They were sweet and so well behaved. I made some friends, I won't lie. They invited me, Dan and Sam to their dinner and show they'd prepared. It wasn't our plan for the evening but we decided to go and I'm glad we did- good food, learnt something and the kids were so nice! Very polite and friendly. Well done them!
Right, I'm running out of internet time now so I'm going to post this. More updates to come soon, I promise!