We all love Chicago. We’ve been here several times before and yet it never disappoints. Everything is just as wonderful as we remember, the skyscrapers are just as spectacular and from the minute we arrived we felt so glad to be here again.
But this morning, waking up on the 27th floor we were nearly up in the clouds, for what we’d have referred to in Hull as “sea roke” had blown in off the lake, making it “lake roke” I imagine.
Out on Michigan Avenue, the taller skyscrapers drifted in and out of visibility though in the short time it took us to walk up as far as the river, it was brightening up and a few patches of blue sky were appearing.
Did I say what a magnificent city this is?
In the sunshine, we were beginning to feel a little warm and I was pleased I hadn’t overdone the layers earlier on.
The river tours were loading up by the pier and we remembered the fun we’d had when we took one of those and found ourselves honorary members of a family reunion when we were here two years ago.
Seeing the huge new Trump Tower, I had to agree with the Mayor of Chicago though. Those huge letters really do spoil the sleek glassy finish.
After all, none of the other buildings shout out the name of their owners.
A little further along, to the right, we heard – and saw – the “El” and thought that maybe later, we’d explore a little of the Loop.
But first, we wanted to see inside the Public Library – which we discovered isn’t a library at all any more, but a “cultural center”. Nevertheless, those ceilings were still beautiful.
The stained glass dome was still as stunning, even though the rest of the building was a little heartless.
We could still look and wonder, though.
But we could hear music. The orchestra was rehearsing for this evening’s concert in Grant Park and we fancied getting hold of some drinks and going over there.
What a city, where there’s an open park with first class sound technology allowing everyone to enjoy great music for free right through the Summer.
Today, it was the Grammy award-winning Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano playing with the Grant Park Orchestra and boy, could they play! The singer had an amazing voice and we sat and enjoyed their rehearsal for a while; until they all took a break, in fact.
Of course, we had to go and play by the bean – the Cloud Gate. We feature in all of these photographs of course, but its not exactly easy to spot us!
Everyone loves the bean and there’s always a crowd around it.
Taken from right underneath and looking up, the distortions are quite weird. We tried in vain to find the point where we looked tall and thin in the mirror!
Just along from the Cloud Gate was a new installation for us, but really, we couldn’t wait to go along and watch the children having fun in the Crown Fountain itself.
As we sat in the sunshine, we spotted a small girl, closely watched by her Mummy as she took a few hesitant steps in the shallow water.
Soon, she was stepping out confidently, the water had soaked up her pink trousers and reached knee level, but she wasn’t worried about that.
Following the lead of other children, she was soon running around in the water.
As we left, she was pretty well soaked, having fallen over a couple of times. What did it matter though? she’d had a great time!
Our next plan was to find the series of figures we’d spotted on our way into the city yesterday afternoon. We thought they looked like Antony Gormley figures but when we finally found them, they were nothing of the sort.
Actually, looking closely, it was clear they didn’t have the detail and consistency of Gormley’s work.
Still, they were quite fun and we enjoyed mooching around the garden, taking a closer look.
The cloud was still coming and going and the sunny intervals were becoming fewer and further between.
We decided to take a look at the new Public Library, the replacement for the older, rather elegant building we’d visited earlier.
We could just about see it raising its head above the “el”.
Once inside, we found our way right to the top, to the Winter Garden and the special exhibition space where there was an exhibition of Vivien Maier’s photographs. No pictures allowed there, but though it was a small collection of her vast work, it was nevertheless worth the effort to see it and it piqued my interest to learn more about her and maybe try to see the documentary film too.
By the time we left the library, we were feeling a little weary. Just as we thought “mmm…popcorn”, what should we see but a Garrett’s shop right there across the street! A few samples were in order, because, you know, it’s really hard to decide which flavours to choose
Back down State Street then, past the car park which gives us the shudders every time we see those cars backed into their spaces.
I mean, would you feel comfortable doing that?
And there we were, back in our 27th floor eyrie, looking over the clouds which had come down again. Now, where shall we have dinner this evening!?
Chicago. What a city!