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Published: August 3rd 2006
Last motel room
I just had to show you a perfect example of a motel room. This huge bed was sometimes two beds(!) and the rooms always had a fridge and often a micro wave oven. Always a bath tub and of course good AC. Weird for those prices, but good for us!
So, we finally arrived in the windy city.
I know I promised a separate entry on the train trip, but that has to be when I've written something by hand first, to sort out the bits and pieces :-)
Yes, the city is windy, but with temperatures around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which is around 40 Celsius (104 is 40 and we had that today), it's a bit hard to appreciate the hot wind :-)
Luckily, our hostel is air conditioned, as is most of this country, including the public transport in this town. I'm so relieved not to drive a car anymore! It was great fun, but to have to park in the cities and to be worried in the back of your head that something would happen to it was a bit of a strain.
I should have done a presentation for the Midwest division of the American translators' association here, but since the train was 6 hours late, that had to be cancelled :-(
Still, we were met by Silvia Fosslien here at the hostel, and we could have a chat with her for a little while before she had to return home. On Thursday, we'll
Congress and Michigan
By the bridge leading to the beautiful Buckingham fountain and the perk around it, there are two statues, one a Native Indian with an invisible bow and the other with an invisible spear. I cannot remember more details now, but they can probably be googled :-)
have lunch with the former president of the MATI, as their abbreviation is spelled. Too bad, but maybe I can write something for the Translators' paper at home (Fackoversattaren) at least.
After inspecting the park and the walk out to the Adler observatory on Sunday night, we enjoyed a fabolous night's sleep! But I must say that the part around the lake Michigan here is really nice, especially in this weather. Why they had put statues of Kosciuszko and Kopernik on the way out to the observatory, I'm not sure (well, I can understand Kopernik, but what has Kosciuszko to do with it?), but they were well made :-)
The first day here, we took a trip to Haymarket, to see the memorial for the reason why we celebrate the 1st of May! It's really something, to be at that spot, where such a thing happened, that has created such a day, at least for someone who has been to demonstrations several times on this day.
We should have gone to the Historic museum, but that was closed for renovations :-( so instead, we went to another graveyard! This time it's the Forest Home, by Forest park, on
Skyscrapers of Chicago
At least in this city, you can see the sky scrapers :-)
The architect society in this town is famous for it's walking tours, and I understand why. They were a bit too expensive to be on our priority list, though, those walks. Can't have it all.
the very end of the Blue line.
Here the Haymrket martyrs were buried, and also Emma Goldman, whose last wish was to be buried alongside them.
For those of you who do not know Emma Goldman, please use Wikipedia or the like, since I have so short time here, that I prefer not to add links.
After having seen these iconic graves, and once again marvelled at the fact that Americans drive into their graveyards, we sweated ourselves back to the Blue line and the Loop, as it's called here, because of the elevated trains that go in a loop around the city centre.
Our next day would start with the Modern art museum, after having been to the 'Farmers' market' where we could buy decent fruit and vegetables, and even a very good Wisconsin cheese, with chipotle (a sort of strong pepper)... not bad in sauces either, we can tell!
The Modern art was a bit too modern for my taste, and actually even Klas was a bit disappointed! But it's nice and cool, we appreciate that...
Beside it was the old Water tower and fire station, that saved the city after a huge fire in the 19th
Kosciuszko on his horse ...
It seems he wasn't really in Chicago, but at least he fought in the war here in the future US in the 1780 and 1790's.
century. After that fire, no wooden houses were allowed downtown, and it's said that the Swedes that then lived downtown moved north because of that. So we followed them and went this Tuesday afternoon to Andersonville, the Swedish quarter of Chicago. We couldn't resist a Swedish Delikatessen store on the way to the Swedish-American museum, even though we didn't buy anything there, the candy was too expensive :-)
But the Swedish-American museum was very interesting, at least for me, who has a grandfather that at least tried to move to the US, but he returned after just a couple of years, and then he found my grandmother in Sweden and stayed home. They had a lot of pictures, and it's interesting to see it from this side, when you've seen it many times from the Swedish point of view.
It wasn't expensive either, and they had a good souvenir shop where Klas found a poetry book by a Carl Sandburg (yes, originally Sandberg), which he liked a lot. I found nice postcards...
After this, we headed down to Belmont avenue for shopping. Most stores we had noted from the internet were still there, and we came home with the backpack
Another view from the museum... island? I can't remember what they call it now :-) but it's really nice when it's a fine day here.
After the AC all over and the not so comfortable night on the train, I had got a bad shoulder, so I now feeled that I desperately needed a massage. I eventually found one, Relax on the crossing of Broadway and Briars, a hot tip! 10 or 20 minutes or more, and they're good!
I later found another one as well, on the way to Union station, called Minute massage, so they exist in numbers.
After getting my back fixed, the day was about to end, and we definitely didn't have any energy left for anything but dinner in the hostel kitchen. That's also a small problem here, unless you know where to go and preferrably have a car, it's hard to get good food. The reason so many Americans are obese is that all food that is served and sold is generally white bread and other fast calories, and of course, everything is made with tons of sugar. So when we found the Farmers' market, we were delighted, to get at least good fruit, vegetables and cheese.
OK, Wednesday and the last full day in Chicago. Beginning with a walk to the Board of trade, we had
Chicago by night
View from the museum paeninsula. Not bad, eh?
to jsut keep on walking, since it is now closed for the public. Earlier, they have had "viewer areas" and Klas, being an economic historian, really wanted to check it out. Too bad.
We went to the Greyhound office to pick up our tickets, and obviously it's rare that people do things in advance, since the lady behind the counter wanted to charge us 20 dollars extra, because she aassumed that we were going to leave the same day, since we picked up the tickets :-) But we escaped that mistake and headed now for the next public transport experience: the Metra train!
This seems to be a good public transport system, in that it works fine and leaves on time. but on the other hand it only leaves every hour...
We went by train to Pullman
, the former village south of Downtown Chicago, where George Pullman created (with Solon Beman and other architects) a whole town that was to be the perfect town, for his railroad workers. A really weird place, but very proper, and actually almost beautiful. The visitor's center was good and the staff helpful even when we aked about the not so happy parts of the
The Haymarket monument - the reason why we celebrate the 1st of May.
Pullman history (like that G. Pullman himself got a bit nuts and got spies around town to check up on people) and about the Pullman blockade and strike in 1894.
We also got at tour of the Florence hotel, even though the guide was sweating her skin off. Poor lady.
After this, we didn't have a lot of plans left, so we went to the library, the Washington part
of the Chicago Public library, and enjoyed a few minutes of free internet there.
Tonight, there was going to be a free Fado singer concert in the MIllennium park, but unfortunately the original artist had to cancel, and the replacement was only so-so, and also - it started to rain! We were very happy, but we couldn't go through with our planned picnic, so we returned to the hostel.
At least the sky went a bit dark and not sunny, so we have saved our skins a bit :-)
On our last evening in Chicago, we felt we had to go out to get some night life at least, and there was some kind of release party for some re-released Cure albums up north.
Well, to conclude: the place was called
the Uptown lounge, and it definitely was a lounge. No dancing (until I dragged Klas up at our last 5 minutes to at least get some kind of small dance... in front of the men's room, about the only place where we wouldn't bump into too many people...
So at least some good music, but no proper dancing. We both long for NYC ;-)
Today is the last day of our visit here, and finally, the temperature is wonderful. I guess it's around 25 degrees Celsius, I haven't checked it really, but it feels just perfect. Finally :-)
I should have met a MATI member, the Midwest part of American translators' association, but she got stuck being an interpreter in court, so what we have left is lunch and the Art institute of Chicago. Before leaving, we're going to meet some local members of the IWW that Klas has got in touch with, so let's hope that works out fine.
And tomorrow, it's Detroit, after 5,5 hours of Greyhound travle by night... will at least be an interesting experience for me :-)
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