Wednesday, August 01, 2007

chicago day 1 (or two tired people play tourist)

T. and I left for the airport in the very wee hours (thankfully, we had stayed at a hotel near the airport, thanks to my mom-in-law). T's flight was before mine (we both going on points, donated by friends, and as such went on different airlines).

By the time we arrived at our hotel to stash our bags, we had been up for four hours and it was only 8:00 in Chicago!

So, of course we went out for a greasy breakfast. I knit while waiting for our food (this and much coffee helped me to say awake.

Then we went for a stroll along the Magnificent Mile.

We couldn't resist stopping by Fox News to hang with the Simpsons. This photo is for S. who has been doing the countdown for the Simpsons Movie.

We followed this up with a boat tour, run by the Chicago Architectural Foundation. This tour had been highly recommended to us and it deserved to be. We learned a great deal about Chicago's history (it turns out the Chicago fire cannot be blamed on a cow, after all, for example) and were introduced to the city's amazing buildings both old and new. Every building in downtown Chicago seems to have its own special details and history. I don't know much about architecture but I was truly awestruck.

And we got to learn stuff while sitting on our bums for ninety minutes, which was a big bonus.

Then it was off to Millenium Park, where we saw this:

Anish Kapoor called his work the
Cloud Gate but we called it the jelly bean and took many, many pictures.

We also really liked the
Crown Fountain.

Designed by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa and inspired by the people of Chicago, The Crown Fountain is a major addition to the city's world-renowned public art collection.

The fountain consists of two 50-foot glass block towers at each end of a shallow reflecting pool. The towers project video images from a broad social spectrum of Chicago citizens, a reference to the traditional use of gargoyles in fountains, where faces of mythological beings were sculpted with open mouths to allow water, a symbol of life, to flow out. Plensa adapted this practice by having faces of Chicago citizens projected on LED screens and having water flow through a water outlet in the screen to give the illusion of water spouting from their mouths. The collection of faces, Plensa's tribute to Chicagoans, was taken from a cross-section of 1,000 residents.

Kids really loved the fountain, too. There were dozens of kids there when we were, playing in the jets. I love this mix of form and function and also how it made the art accessible, in different ways, to everyone.

And speaking of kids, I had been desperately ready to get away from mine (the fighting had been really wearing of late) but I spent the whole day saying, "S. would really like this! D. would really have fun here!"

I missed them.

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