Monday, September 24, 2012


By Claire

I had high expectations for this town and they were more than met.  I love this place!  The weather probably helps--it was 69° with clear blue skies, all the better to see the unique and gorgeous architecture on our Shoreline Boat Tour.  But, the most important event of the day was breakfast.  Finally, my kind of food.  We brought our muesli, berries, bananas and yogurt up to our room, and this will feed us for the next 4 mornings.

Start of our uncrowded boat tour

Beautiful skyline

Formerly, the largest building in the world; I believe this used to be the Marshall Fields Department Store.  If so, I was there back in 1965.  I found some corduroy pants that I loved but needed a different size.  They promised to ship them to me.  I never got them, even after repeated phone calls and letters.  I wonder what happened?

Very cool townhouse on the Chicago River

 Nice reflection

These are the "corn cob" buildings, built back in the sixties, also known as Marina City.  I absolutely love them.  The goal was to create a place where the tenants would have everything they needed right at hand.  They had their own shops, restaurants, marina, movie theatre and hotel.  I love the balconies and the parking garages.

Oprah Winfrey and Tom Cruise, among others, lived in Lake Point Tower, designed back in the 1920's by Mies van der Rohe; it was ahead of its time, as they had yet to invent bendable steel. John Heinrich and George Schipporeit, who were both students of Mies, finally built it in the sixties.

After lunch, we walked to Millennium Park.  This is Millennium Park's centerpiece, the Frank Gehry-designed Pritzker Music Pavillion.


 I love sculpture, especially when it is fun.  Cloud Gate is lots of fun. 

There we are, in the center, reflected in Cloud Gate.

Here's a self-portrait.  See our reflected back views?

I think we must have walked about 6 miles by now; but we still decided to walk over to the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower), the world's tallest building for 25 years, and take a trip up to the 103rd floor Sky Deck.  $35 later, we were at the top.  The express elevator takes you up in just 90 seconds! Our ears popped along both the ascent and descent.

We were wearing down by now--4pm or so--but it was such a clear day, we wanted to take advantage.  It wasn't even very crowded, something we have really been enjoying on this entire trip.  September must be the best time of year.  Here are various views from around the Sky Deck. The blue expanse is Lake Michigan, of course.

The green building with the gold top is called the champagne bottle.  

Chuck walked out on the "Ledge," a nerve-wracking and exciting vantage point.  You can see tiny people down on the street, 103 floors directly below you.

 Heading home

I feel like I really saw a lot today, and got a real feel for the city.  It feels uncrowded, clean and gleaming, spacious even.  There is noise, as in any city; but this seemed more subdued.  Fewer horns honking and traffic was fairly normal, compared to most big cities.  This is another place I could easily live, if it weren't for the weather!

Eventually, I think Chicago will be the most beautiful great city left in the world. ~ Frank Lloyd Wright