Our architecture boat tour was booked for 4:30 today, but apart from that, we had nothing planned. We sat in the hotel room pondering what to do when I saw Kevin had commented on a photo asking if we had been to the art museum. He was not the first to suggest it so that solved that little problem and we headed there first.
We managed to get Hayley in as a student thanks to her very old student card but it was still quite expensive. Once in we realised that you need to spend much more than a few hours here so picked out the exhibitions that looked the most interesting. The first thing that really amazed us was the miniature rooms (insert a hight joke from Graeme). Essentially they were 3D models of rooms back in history and from around the world. The detail was incredible, we will be putting a clip of them into an upcoming video, be sure to check it out.
Next it was onto the Japanese and African art work. You could probably spend several hours looking at all the pieces that were on display and reading all the details but we spent most of the time looking at the masks and weapons. Lets be honest, after you have seen one broken piece of pottery, you have seen them all. Our favourite exhibition by far was the suites of armour and swords, but this might be due to us binge watching Game of Thrones at the moment. The detail was unbelievable and we marvelled at the dexterity of the smiths wondering how long a piece would take to make. To be honest if I had read all literature that was in the exhibition I would probably know.
I thought it worth a mention that there was also some incomprehensible rubbish. Several rooms were dedicated to words, that seemed to make little sense, being projected around a room. I presume they are meant to portray a message, but Hayley and I just looked at each other and moved on. We also found an exhibition that had a photo of a plasterboard wall with a hole pressed in to it. I have loads of this kind of “art” but on a much larger scale, maybe I will submit it for review!
The parks were up next and there was quite a lot to see in a relatively small space. The cover photo for today’s blog is a reflective bean (‘Cloud Gate’) that was a lot of fun to play around with. Inside is quite a trippy experience, check out the photos on Flickr. Also at the park were two LED screen pillars that must have been 15 meters tall with faces on them (check out the photos its hard to explain). Water was falling from the tops of the pillars and periodically the faces would spit torrents of water out of their mouths.
Then the rain came. We needed to get to the Navy Pier for our boat tour but the heavens opened and we ducked for covers. We then spent the next 20 minutes dashing from cover to cover each time the rain let up slightly. Somewhat dry we got to the Peir and managed to blag a couple of bin bags to wear in a desperate attempt to stay dry on the tour. Fortunately the rain stopped, the clouds parted and the sun was shining again.The weather here is crazy!
It stayed nice for the whole trip and I would highly recommend it for anyone visiting Chicago. We learnt something about most of the buildings, way too much to cover here but something worth sharing was the Tribune Tower building that had a very interesting feature. Bricks from famous buildings from around the world had apparently been built into it’s walls, we had to check it out after the tour. After finding the building, we spotted stones from Edinburgh Castle, Sydney Opera House, The Taj Mahal and many more.
We had worked up quite an appetite by now and were really looking forward to trying an authentic Chicago deep dish pizza. We went to Lou Malnatis as recommended by the waitress yesterday but our excitement diminished rapidly when we saw how many people were waiting outside the restaurant with menus! We managed to get our name on the list but had 45 minutes to kill so took a walk. The time flew by as we found a catery with windows and started planning how we could steal them all and take them back to the hotel! Our good mood was somewhat hampered but the hour long wait for a small pizza, but after talking to the waiter he said it was on the house and that made it taste even better!
Several years ago a good friend Chris moved out to Chicago with his wife Pam. It would have been great to spend a day or two with them but it was just our luck that when we ended up in Chicago they where back in the UK. Fortunately they flew back today and very kindly offered to take us to see the best night view of Chicago. They must have been very tired, so we was very grateful for the private tour and pleased to hear another English accent after so long! They dropped us off back at the parks where we stumbled upon hundreds of people dancing to live music, they looked like were having a great time but we didn’t want to embarrass ourselves and join in.
There are free firework displays held on Saturday’s at the Navy Pier so before leaving Chicago we thought we’d stick around and watch them. In order to make a quick escape afterwards (as the nearby Taylor Swift concert was about to end!) we watched from the shore of Lake Michigan just opposite our hotel. It was a great display, full of smiley face and heart shaped fireworks 🙂