Friday, March 14, 2008

Chicago: Day 1

Fantastic view to wake up to, isn’t it? We’re at a hotel near O’Hare airport, which can be somewhat noisy with the planes landing and taking off, but it’s fun watching them.

As Jimmy began his conference, I took the train downtown. My first stop was the Art Institute. Before we left on this trip, the most common thing my friends said I had to do was go to the Art Institute. I’m glad I took them up on their suggestion. I spent a quick 90 minutes there, enjoying some of my favorites like Picasso, Dali, Matisse, Monet and the special exhibition of Edward Hopper. I could only spend 90 minutes because I still had a bunch of things on my todo list. Besides, it was noon and I was hungry. I have my priorities.

On my way to lunch, I stopped to take photos of this Crown Fountain. It portrays images of Chicagoians. During the warmer months, it’s a fountain where water squirts out of mouths and such where children of all ages play.

I grabbed a sandwich and sat by the fantastic Cloud Gate or more affectionately The Bean at Millennium Park . So much fun people watching especially with the warm sun. It was actually in the high 40s, low 50s today. Blessings.

As you all probably know, when you’re adventuring alone, it’s not likely that there’ll be many photos of yourself. That’s where reflective mirrors become the friend of anyone requiring a self-portrait. The Bean must be the best thing for anyone wanting to capture their own image. Me, dead center.

But I’m sure that it’s intended purpose was to reflect the amazing Chicago skyline in fun and unusual distortions.

The guide book I’m reading recommended taking the brown line El (Elevated Train) because it snakes around the downtown highrises, crosses the Chicago River and cuts through many Chicago neighborhoods, giving the visitor a local’s view of the city. I liked the idea, so I did exactly that. Took the brown line out about 10 stops, walked to the other platform and headed back into downtown. I got out near the Sears Tower and just walked around the downtown Loop awhile.

Within the Loop, there are some famous sculptures. This one is the Flamingo by Calder at Federal Center Plaza.

This one is clearly a Picasso, which is untitled.

And this one is Dubuffet’s “Monument with Standing Beast.”

This one apparently is a changing piece: Pigeons warming by an eternal flame. Just kidding, it’s not really an exhibit. But the eternal flame is at Daley Center Plaza for some reason I’m sure, which I’ll look up why sometime, just not today.

St. Patrick’s Day is Monday and it’s well known that Chicago dyes the river green. I guess they dyed this fountain as a precursor of the event.

And one of the last views of the day before heading back was the famous Chicago Theater.


Anonymous said...

Wow those were awesome pictures! You are too funny re: the pigeons & the eternal flame! Looks like you are having a great time :)

Lilli & Nevada said...

That is some interesting stuff you are getting to see, love the journey with you. I am amazed that you are out doing this by yourself i guess i am not that gutsy to venture out on my own in such a big city. Me it small town stuff. LOL can't wait for more photos. Have fun

rosemary said...

i agree with Lilli....I am a wimp when it comes to touristing alone. You saw all of the best places...if you get back to the AI...go see the armor...awesome!

Unknown said...

wow. I like the huge reflective bean and the green fountain!

Wiley Willows photoblog

Anonymous said...

Looks like fun! I would have never thought about Chicago in March as being a neat place to visit but I have to revise my opinion looking at your pics!

Anonymous said...

The public art is amazing.

Jodi said...

I've been to Chicago twice and loved it. Thank you for sharing your journey!

Ragged Around the Edges said...

The bean rocks.