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Published: October 20th 2018
Chicago Tribune and the DuSable Bridge
One of a splendid array of bridges in the downtown
The flight from Calgary to Chicago was completely uneventful. The check-in kiosk gave me a rotten middle seat in a back row, but the helpful person at the gate gave me a good aisle seat, which translated into a window seat because no one else was in the row. Cloud cover was limited on the flight, and I began to understand the extent of the great plains of Middle America.
I chickened out of taking the train, in favour of a shuttle van, because the weight of my suitcases hauled three-quarters of a mile from train station to hotel gave me images of an exhausting struggle. However, the shuttle van ride revealed that traffic towards the airport crawled and stopped for miles and miles, in spite of a three-lane highway. Our driver recommended allowing three hours to get to the airport on our return journey, making the train option seem quite viable. I will ask our tour guide for advice.
The drive in was rewarding because it gave me glimpses of the variety of architectures for which Chicago is famous. Lots of buildings were red-brick, some old and some new, and many more were brown brick. Quite a surprising
Love the pattern made by the iron work!
number looked like the Art Moderne Barron Building
in Calgary. Glass skyscrapers abounded. Concrete structures reminded me of Brutalism
, although most looked too modern for that era. The extent of the downtown was at least a dozen times larger than in Calgary. Our driver said there were more than a hundred hotels in the downtown, and it seemed there were restaurants along all the streets and in tucked-away corners. The Magnificent Mile
was too huge to see and appreciate through vehicle windows, although the plantings of flowers emphasized the repute of this elite shopping district.
The Club Quarters Hotel
is in a Neo-Gothic building that soars 41 storeys. At 2:00 I was an hour early for check-in, and took advantage of the hotel’s “members lounge”, where coffee and tea could be made at any time. My emergency peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches from home sufficed for such a late lunch. I then went out to explore a bit, wowed by the sight of the huge, fabulous Gothic-Revival Chicago Tribune Building
. Lots of tourists were on the streets, and I joined a crowd at a corner to cross and discover the origin of the talented drumming I could hear. Just then the audience drifted away to reveal
Club Quarters Hotel
Street level view, thrilling enough!
only two men who used upturned plastic pails to create a marching band full of percussion. I drifted across a bridge, catching sight of a large tour boat in the Chicago River
. From this distance, I could finally see the Club Quarters Hotel and was astonished to see that a very tall tower topped the building. When I did check in, I was thrilled to find my room on the 34 floor was in that tower. There were only three rooms on the floor, plus the elevators.
Finally flopping on the bed, I was astonished to find myself quite tired. Eschewing a proper rest, I unpacked enough to get my clothes and toiletries out of the suitcase. My room was small but adequate, and the three-window view was breathtaking. I could see several roof-top gardens and was on eye-level with several major buildings.
Our tour group gathered for the first time to walk to the Elephant and Castle pub a couple of blocks away. We had a private room, to accommodate the orientation after dinner. Drinks were at our own cost, and I went upstairs to the main bar to fetch a Guinness. Dinner was grilled salmon with green
Club Quarters Hotel
The narrowest of sky-scrapers
beans and salad, with cakes to follow.
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