|We just finished having three fantastic days in Chicago with Gary & Michelle. We arrived in on Friday and left our trailer at the campground and drove into where Gary works and had drinks at a bar right around the corner. We then followed Gary into Chicago where they live it was a very busy rush hour and I have to give Gary a lot of credit for making sure we stayed behind him.
The first night Gary & Michelle did up a delicious bbq we couldn't believe all the food. We enjoyed the evening spending time with them having a few drinks. The next day we got up and sat outside on their deck which overlooks a beautiful courtyard, they sun was shining and it was just a relaxing way to start out day. They took us downtown by way of the Red line train (hope I'm right on the name) reminded me of the muni in San Francisco. We were surprised how close they are to everything downtown, the train, parks yet the street they live on is beautifully treed and you won't even think they were in the city it was so quiet.
Once downtown we went to Millennium Park which is 24.5 acres. Millennium Park is an award-winning center for art, music, architecture and landscape design. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion which looks like a huge crab holds outdoor concerts during the summer. They have an interactive Crown Fountain which is like a mini water display which squirts water at the children playing it really is unique. The fountain consists of two 50 foot glass block towers at each end of a shallow reflecting pool. The towers project video images which allow water, a symbol of life, to flow out.
The Cloud Gate sculpture is so different you get really neat looking views of the people walking around and of yourselves. The 110 ton elliptical sculture is forged of a seamless series of highly polished stainless steel plates, which reflect the city's skyline and the clouds above. A 12 foot high arch provides a entry beneath the sculpture which reflects images in a variety of perspectives.
We went from there over to Navy Pier which was packed you could sure tell is was a long weekend. Navy Pier is right on Lake Michigan and has a ferris wheel and many restaurants and pubs along the pier. Navy Pier produces hundreds of free shows, concerts and much more in the summer including fireworks. The pier also has lots of shops if you like shopping. We had a great lunch at Navy Pier.
We got the Shoreline Architecture Tour. Which is a 60 minute river tour highlighting Chicago's architecture. You learn about over 40 buildings along the Chicago River that are a testament to Chicago's reputation as the birthplace of modern American architecture. I can't tell you about all the buildings but the river tour was one we certainly would take again when we go back. The narrator did a fantastic job of explaining who designed the buildings and other history facts. Both Brian and I said this was one of the highlights of that day.
We left Navy Pier and walked up to the Hancock Center which is the tallest building in Chicago. You ride the elevator up to the 94 floor in less than a minute it goes so fast your ears pop. You can just walked around and see the views of Chicago but we went into the lounge and had a drink and got to sit and enjoy the scenery. From the Hancock Center you can see all over Chicago and get a really good idea how large it really is. The one thing that we noticed is that they have perserved so much green space it is unbelievable. You can see the beaches and marinas along the shoreline. We couldn't believe it we even saw people going into the water which I can't image it was warm enought for that. It was neat looking at the top of some of the buildings and seeing decks and swimming pools just went to show how they have combined huge office buildings and great living areas as well.
By now it was getting late in the day so Gary & Michelle took us out for dinner to one of their favorite restaurants it was neatest Italian restaurant downtown. It was so neat they served everything tapas style so that you could get a sample of everything. We let Gary & Michelle order and I have to say there wasn't anything we didn't like it was delicious. The server was just great and it was so relaxing their was no rush to eat they just slowly once you finished each food item then they would bring out the next. I have to say I know now why this is one of their favorite places to eat. Another thing I want to comment on is almost on every corner there is a pub or restaurant unbelievable.
We went back and had a relaxing late evening I have to say both Brian and I were ready for bed I don't think we have ever walked so much and so far as that day yet it didn't seem hard it was really great. I really recommend walking around the downtown area otherwise I could really imagine you would miss so much.
The next day Gary & Michelle took us on a driving tour of the town and we saw lots of different areas. We went to Wrigley Park which was built in 1914. The outfield bleachers went up in 1937 and the scoreboard was constructed the same year. It is still manually operated and it still has never been struck with a batted ball. Then we went downtown to the zoo and walked all around there. What surprised me was this was all free there was no charge into the zoo and the size of it was also a shock. It was a beautiful place to walk around but it was getting cool so we decided to go back to the house and watch the hockey game and order the world famous Chicago Pizza. Now I know why it is so famous absolutely delicious.
We were sad to leave Gary & Michelle this morning we had such a great time. We won't see them again until their wedding in September down in Vermont. We want to just say we love you both and the time we had together with you was very special for us. We will always cherish that time.
Today was our wedding anniversary so when we got back to the campground Brian decided he was taking me out for dinner. We went to "Hank's Farm" and we had a delicious meal and the service was superb. It is a steak house and is very nicely decorated inside. As we were leaving our server gave us a big balloon "Happy Anniversary" and a bottle of champagne which we thought was so great and what a nice way to end our evening.
Tomorrow we leave for Kalamazoo Michigan and will stay there for four days before heading back into Canada. Stay in touch.