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Published: April 29th 2014
Chicago, Chicago, how I Iove thee Chicago! Almost nine years ago I had the good fortune to come here for a work conference and fell under the city's spell and was so keen for Ev and Katy to love it too.
We were staying in an apartment on the 39th floor of a building in the heart of the city with dazzling views of the skyline and distant Lake Michigan. There is a hearty rivalry between New York and Chicago as to which City owns the origins of the skyscraper. Chicago is all about history and architecture. It is a brash "western" city that was built from a tiny trading post by pioneers with a passion to build something from nothing. The residents got that chance twice over when their new city was burnt nearly to the ground in the 1871 and they had to rebuild it from scratch. In doing so they began to go upwards in various forms from that point forward.
A must do
activity here is to take some of the walks run by the Chicago Architecture Foundation and we signed up for the History of the Skyscraper and Art Deco in the City. Both tours took us to some amazing buildings with our favourites being those of the Deco era. The exquisite and thoughtful detail in the decorative elements was incredible in the building facades and lobby interiors. I also got to check out some interiors designed by one of my fave architects, Frank Lloyd Wright, he of the Guggenheim museum in New York and pioneer of the Prairie style of architecture. I was in heaven!
I also dragged Ev to Millenium Park to see one of the absolute best public art sculptures you have ever seen, the Cloud Gate. You can literally spend hours here marvelling at the ever changing reflections and views of the city. We gleefully joined the masses of people attempting the ultimate selfies.
I got to do a solo mission to the Art
Institute to catch up with some old friends from my previous visit including some Monet landscapes and American Gothic by Grant Wood as Ev caught up on some boy time with the TiVo and multi-channel cable set up in our apartment. That night we went out for an ultimately disappointing classic dinner experience - Chicago deep dish pizza pie. It really is a pie with a crispy short crust filled with marinara (tomato) sauce, gooey cheese and various toppings. While it is a must do Chicago experience we didn't really enjoy it as much as the New York style thin slice pizza or the Classic Aussie style crust.
Our last night featured a trip to the ball park where I was wearing my brand new Chicago White Sox t-shirt to see "us" take on the Tampa Bay Rays from Florida. We happily drank brewskis and dined on peanuts, popcorn, hot dogs and pizza slices. Baseball is often likened to a US equivalent to cricket and we saw why when two hours in we were not even halfway through the nine innings that make
up a normal game and the score was four all! Apparently games keep going until there is a winner with a famous game going for 26 innings over two days!
We were indebted to the father and his grown sons sitting next to us for our finer understanding of key game elements. They kindly answered all our questions including, "umm, are the white sox fielding or batting just now?" We got to see the sox (number 79) score a home run and a loaded bases play after which they kindly included me in their victory high fives. As we left them to however many hours remained of the game they bid us a loud and rousing farewell and insisted that Katy had to be raised as a white sox fan now.
Off to Union station in the morning to catch the cross country California Zephyr train from Chicago to Sacramento. Over about 74 hours we will cross seven states and 3,924km. Luckily we will be travelling
in a sleeper car so this will be quite a civilised experience with three sit down meals a day included.
Hope you are all well.
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