Last night in Chicago

(152:  Fountain in Millennium Park.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

It’s our last night in Chicago and I’m more than ready to go home.  It’s been great fun but I am worn out.

I spent a good portion of today at the Art Institute of Chicago (and walking to and from as it is a little bit of a walk from where we’re staying).

(Front of the Art Institute of Chicago. Photo © 2009 by Robin)

I’d go into great detail about it all except I am completely knackered.  Just a few notes and then I’m off to bed.

(American Gothic, on display at the Art Institute of Chicago.)

Dinner last night was great.  Giordano’s never disappoints and the company was good, too.  We had a stuffed cheese pizza with spinach.  Yummy.

(Giordano’s on Rush Street on Tuesday night. Photo © 2009 by Robin)

Tonight M and I went to Russian Tea Time to cap off our trip to Chicago.  It was also a late celebration of our anniversary, something we’ve put off for almost two months.  We celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary.  The food and service were fantastic.  We ordered the vegetarian platter for two:

Begins with a tasting of potato dumplings, stuffed mushrooms, carrot salad, beet caviar, hummus,  Tabouhlie and vinaigrette salads. Followed by an assortment of our finest vegetarian fare; stuffed eggplant, stuffed bell pepper, vegetable layered stew (Domlama), mung bean stew, Chickpea and onion stew, rice pilaf and kasha.

We also tried a vodka flight, since we were celebrating and all.  😀  And ended with bread pudding and tea for dessert.

We walked back, but it wasn’t enough to walk off all that food.  I think I’m going to feel stuffed for weeks.  I am looking forward to going on a diet when I get home.

And that’s it from Chicago.  The next time you hear from me I will be back in the Bogs where we might just settle in for a while except for the occasional weekend trip to visit our granddaughters.

Free Hugs

(The Old Water Tower.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

I haven’t been doing much in the way of sightseeing today, and left the camera in the hotel room while I was out and about.  I wanted to do a little early Christmas shopping, but didn’t meet with much success.  Perhaps it’s because I dislike shopping so much.  I don’t have the patience to keep going from store to store to store.  Some of the salespeople in the more upscale stores irritate me.  The Magnificent Mile and Water Tower Place are probably not for me.

Sunday afternoon I wandered around the  Old Chicago Water Tower District, not going into any of the stores, but just enjoying the weather and the people watching.  The Old Water Tower was open, with free admission, due to a photography exhibit (the building is open during exhibitions).  The exhibit consisted of photos from the Philipines.

Looking for a little peace and quiet, I wandered into a church courtyard.  It was lovely and fit the bill, serene and quiet even though it was on Michigan Avenue and the crowds of people were just a few steps away.

(Church courtyard.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

On my way back to the hotel I passed a group of people giving out Free Hugs.  If you are not familiar with the Free Hugs Campaign, you can read about (and watch a video) at the link <– back there.  Sadly, I didn’t see anyone stop to get a free hug.  Happily, I did:

(151:  Free Hugs!  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

Free Hugs are nice.  If you get the opportunity to get or give one, you should do so.  😀

When M finishes at the conference we’re going to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art for a few hours.  Tuesdays are free.  I want to see the Elements of Photography exhibit.  It looks quite interesting.

Tonight we’re meeting a friend for pizza.  Stuffed pizza this time around.  It’s one of my favorite places and I’m looking forward to it.

Lakefront Parks and Navy Pier

(Hancock Building and skyline through the trees.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

I spent today walking around the lakefront and at Navy Pier.  That wasn’t my original plan but the day got away from me as I ambled along, snapping photos.

(150:  Milton L. Olive III Park.  Chicago, IL.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

It was another gorgeous blue sky day.  It warmed up some, but the wind kicked up some too, blasting at about 25 mph at times.  Autumn is beautiful here in the city, something that’s surprising to me at times.

(Skyline from Milton L. Olive III Park.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

After wandering around the parks for a while, I made my way over to Navy Pier.  It sure has changed since the 1980’s when M and I lived here, now filled with shops, theaters, stages, and amusement rides.

(Navy Pier, from the front.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

I took my time strolling from one end of the pier to the other.  At the end of the pier, out on the lake, the wind was really whipping.

(Photo © 2009 by Robin)

At the end of the pier is a huge anchor which I meant to read about while I was there, but M called and wondered what I was doing for lunch and that distracted me from finding out what the anchor was all about.

(Anchor and lighthouse.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

I’m sure I could probably find something online about it.  I don’t have time to look it up right now.  M will be here soon and we’ll be meeting friends for dinner.  This has been quite a social trip.

M joined me at Navy Pier for lunch.  I forget the name of the place where we ate (the Dockside Cafe, I think).  We sat outside since it was such a beautiful, albeit windy, day.  I had an Italian beef, something I’ve been craving since we got here.  The Italian beef is, in my opinion, Chicago’s answer to the Philly cheesesteak.  It’s not the same thing at all, but it’s almost as good.

(Sampling of stained glass.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

After lunch we decided to visit the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows (located on Navy Pier).  They have an amazing collection of stained glass windows.  You can read about it here.

(Another sampling.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

M went back to his conference after that and I wandered around for a little while longer, taking photos of this, that, and the other thing.

(Ferris wheel on Navy Pier.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

I have to wrap this up and get ready for dinner.  We’re dining at The Berghoff tonight, a favorite of ours.  I’ll leave you with one last view of the skyline from Navy Pier taken as I was leaving.

(Skyline view from Navy Pier.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

Blue sky day

(Sailboat on Lake Michigan and the end of Navy Pier. Photo © 2009 by Robin)

The sun is shining on Chicago today.  It’s a glorious day with lovely blue skies and just the hint of the usual wind that blows through this city.

(149:  View from the Shedd Aquarium.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

M and I were up early and went for a long walk.  We took a bus down to the Adler Planetarium to get some shots of the city skyline and took our time walking back to the hotel from there.  I think were out and about for about 2-1/2 hours.

(Sears Tower and other buildings from the lakeshore.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

Part of our walk took us through Grant Park and Millennium Park.  We took our time going through Millennium Park so we could have a look at some of the sculptures that we missed during our first stroll through the park.

(Zaha Hadid pavilion and security guard.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

We had to see the Bean, of course (along with hundreds of other tourists).

(The Cloud Gate.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

The official name is the Cloud Gate, but it has been nicknamed The Bean because of its legume-like shape.

Last night we had dinner at Zocalo.  The food was excellent and they have a very nice selection of sipping tequilas.  The prices are reasonable as well.  If you’re in the mood for Mexican food (and/or tequila) while in Chicago, I highly recommend Zocalo.  (A big thanks to D for suggesting the place!)

As soon as I finish here I will end my afternoon break.  I think I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon just wandering around, taking pictures, and people watching.  We’ll be joining friends later this evening for Thai food.  One of the great things about this city (most cities, in my experience) is all the delicious food to be sampled and enjoyed.


(147:  Chicago River from Michigan Ave. bridge)

I think I walked about 100 miles today.  Or maybe it was a little over 6 miles.  But my body feels like it was 100 miles.  I’ve been walking around most of the day, getting oriented and doing a little shopping.  My winter coat decided this was a good time to fall apart.  I have to agree.  If you have to buy a new winter coat while traveling, Chicago is a good city in which to be shopping for one.  I got a fantastic bargin on a London Fog wool coat that I love.  It’s cute, looks good, and it will keep me warm and comfy.

Now all I need is a new winter hat to go with it.

I met M for lunch (he had a 2-hour lunch break from the conference he’s attending).  Part of all the walking I did this morning was a search for a place to meet for lunch.  It turned out to be easier for me to go where he was, and we had lunch at Beef & Brandy, just around the corner from the Palmer House.  Before meeting with M I went inside and had a look at the magnificent lobby.  Amazing.

Lunch was excellent.  It was a good pick.  M had an autumn salad that was fresh and delicious.  I had a tuna wrap that was also fresh and delicious but M’s salad looked so good that I regretted not ordering the salad.

(Skyline from Millennium Park.)

After lunch M and I were strolling around Millennium Park when two women asked us if we would like  two free tickets (they couldn’t use them for some reason) to the Art Institute of Chicago.  Well, I was on my way back for an afternoon break and M was due back to the conference in about an hour or so, but it didn’t take much to talk us into it.  We took the tickets and spent a little while exploring Impressionism.  I let M pick where we would go because I’ll be going back on my own to spend most of the day there sometime before we leave Chicago.

We parted somewhere on Michigan Avenue and  I slowly made my way back to the hotel where I now have my feet up and I’m getting in a bit of a rest before meeting friends for dinner.  We’re going to a Greek restaurant tonight (OPAA!) where they set the cheese on fire (“flaming saganaki cheese” flambed tableside).  Tomorrow I’m meeting up with a friend that I haven’t seen in over 20 years.  We’ve kept in touch all this time but haven’t managed to get together.  I’m really looking forward to it.  (Note to those that don’t know:  M and I used to live in the Chicago area, a long, long time ago.)

(American Gothic in Chicago.)

One leaf

(146:  One leaf on the pond)

It’s gray and rainy here.  Again.  Chilly, too, and it will be getting colder.  There is snow in the forecast on Friday.  Seems early to me, but I’m not sure.  I should go back and look when I have the time.  Life in the Bogs has been around for about three years now, I think.  I can check the October photos.

(Today’s view of the pond.)

The next time you hear from me, I’ll be in Chicago, where I see it is also cloudy and rainy with a chance of snow on Friday.  But it’s Chicago.  It will be fun.

Ghosts of sound

(143:  Courtyard entrance.)

It is a silent, shady place, with a paved courtyard so full of echoes, that sometimes I am tempted to believe that faint responses to the noises of old times linger there yet, and that these ghosts of sound haunt my footsteps as I pace it up and down.

~ Charles Dickens, from Master Humphrey’s Clock

The haunted theme and I will be parting ways after this post.  It was an interesting challenge and if I had the time, I’d try to stretch it out until the end of the month.  I’m getting back into the swing of life and the next few days will be busy for me.  It’s much, much easier to post a daily photo that doesn’t meet theme or meme requirements.  Less time consuming as well.

I’m heading to Chicago on Thursday.  M and I used to live in the Chicago area when he was in grad school.  I’m looking forward to a week of wandering around the city, exploring the museums and seeing what’s new since my last visit there (more than a few years ago).

And who knows?  Perhaps I’ll come up with something haunted to post.