Part 5: The Windy City (day 1)
The US isn't noted for its convenient rail travel. Not many lines and long ones at that. Our train from near home in Wisconsin to Chicago had a bit of a delay which started our trip to Chicago with some stress. And by a bit of a delay I mean that some construction detours on the rails left it more than 24 hours behind. Yep. You read that right. 24 hours. The Empire Builder normally takes about 46 hours to run its length. So since we were to be getting on toward the end of the line, a delay that started the previous afternoon wasn't helping. Thankfully they hopped us on a bus to Milwaukee and we caught a train there. Yay!
While in Chicago, we stayed with my cousin, her husband and their adorable 3 1/2 year old daughter. I got to read bedtime stories. It was pretty great (although I apparently forgot to get any photos of the family...oops). We played tourists to the max. I hadn't been to Chicago in a few years. And rarely as a tourist (past trips were for visiting college friends or as a teacher on a field trip). We arrived on Sunday night, but had all of Monday and most of Tuesday to play tourists.
First touristy stop: Millennium Park. And "the bean" (aka: Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor). We had a lot of fun playing with reflections.
I really think Cloud Gate is a gorgeous piece of public art. It reflects the city and the sky and the people and the interactive nature of such a piece is, to me, part of what makes a piece of public art really work. The more people can connect with it, the more they'll enjoy it.
Next stop: The Art Institute of Chicago. Now, though we visited Chicago and its great museums about once a year or so while I was a kid, I somehow had never been to the Art Institute. And I minored in Art History - I love art museums! But it wasn't someplace I wanted to trek to Chicago on a day trip to see alone. So the post-college years in Wisconsin just never saw me get there. I was really glad to finally get to tick this one off my to-do list (and I hope to go back sooner than later and see the bits we didn't have time for!).
Seeing Un dimanche après-midi à l'Île de la Grande Jatte was such a treat. It's been a favorite piece of art for ages. I really wanted to find a field trip group of kids, grab The Scot, and run around a la Ferris Bueller (sadly, it wasn't really field trip season).
Chagall's America Windows were simply stunning.
Fortuna tried to make a new friend (*wink*wink*nudge*nudge*)
We ended our Monday with some classic Chicago deep dish pizza from Pizano's - which turns out to be a top pizza place which we happened to stumble across. What luck! (But we should've ordered a small pizza instead of a medium!)
After lots of museuming, and wandering, and general touristing, we slept quite well! I'll be back tomorrow with tales of our Tuesday in Chi Town.