Friday, April 30, 2010

Chicago-day 4 and 5

For Chris's second conference day, I decided to go back into the city solo and do some exploring. I thought it would be a shame to be so close to Chicago and not go in at least one more time. Luckily, the day was blue skies and windy. The first part was a nice surprise and the second part was neither nice nor a surprise :). I started at the Sears tower. Did you know that the Sears Tower (AKA now the Willis Tower) the tallest building in the US and the 5th tallest in the world? They have a couple of all glass cubes you can walk out onto and stand over 1,350 feet above Walker street. I did it! One of the workers there talked me through. I had to look at her and walk out backwards not looking down. Crazy. Just plain crazy. They took a nice picture, but I'm still deciding if it's $25 nice. It was a nice moment though :).

Then I went to the Shedd aquarium. My ticket also included a live show and a 4D movie. The live show included tricks from a seal, Beluga whales, penguins, and dolphins. Then my camera battery died. Dang it! Luckily I had my phone with me, so that should explain the quality of my pics: low batteries and camera phones aren't the best formula for fantastic pics. The 4D movie was a condensed version of Happy Feet with 3D glasses and they would vibrate our chairs when he danced or sprayed us with water when the boat passed or blew bubbles when he was swimming. Best of all was wandering around and checking out the animals. I found a flirty penguin (it would follow me and let me take his picture), a turtle that looked mean and only moves to breath (he has actual algae growing on his shell!), a seahorse that looks like seaweed, a brainy fish (I don't know what kind he is but I think he must be very smart), and the Bahama fish. When I came in, they took a picture in front of a green screen and offered for it sale. Luckily, they also offer it as a link to facebook so you can see the cool Bahama fish. Personally, I think it's a bit of a toss up which is better: the facebook green screen pic or my self-portraits :). 

I finished up the day at Navy Pier. I liked it so much after the first day I went back and checked out the shops inside the buildings this time. I found a hot dog stand and bought a Chicago dog with tomatoes, a sweet pickle, and mustard no ketchup. And, yes, it was as good as it sounds :). I also went for a ride on the ferris wheel. It was windy, but the buckets were mostly glassed so I was protected, but I could still takes some pictures of the sun setting on the city. Kind of poetic, don't you think? The sun sets on the city and on my trip to Chicago as well. I can't help humming Sinatra, "Chicago - it's my kind of town."

We're back! Yesterday as we were flying back, I thought how sad it is for for vacation to be over and wonderful to be headed home. It was a funny feeling to miss the beautiful skyscapers but love seeing the mountains and farms again. Today was my first day back to work and I'm glad that tomorrow we'll be my last day before the weekend! Wowsers! I sure have a lot to catch up on at work not to mention the grocery shopping (I feel like Old Mother Hubbard), the laundry, etc that I have waiting for me. Still, it was so worth it!

Chicago- day 1

Chris's conference was at the Marriot in Shaumberg which was a great hotel and and a nice location for her conference. We were about a 10 minute shuttle to the train station and a 50 minute train ride into the city. Our first day we walked around quite a bit and took a hop on tour around the city. It was cold and windy, but we rode up on the top of the bus and got some fantastic pictures of the buildings... well, at least we got about the first 40 floors because of the fog :). I really loved the buildings and architecture of Chicago. The buildings were all so unique. While some of the where obviously new, many of them looked like they had built right on top of previous buildings but they were careful to match the style and colors of the original historic building. Later, we got off at Navy Pier and walked around. Navy Pier has shops and a ferris wheel and restaurants. It smelled so good! I really enjoyed looking at the kiosks that I didn't buy anything at and smelling the food that I didn't eat and looking out over the lake covered in fog that I couldn't really see. I think the fog gave the city of feeling of mystery that I thoroughly enjoyed. Later we ate deep dish pizza at Gino's East. Chris says that Chicago style deep dish pizza isn't just a meal - it's an experience!! We got a small and could barely finish it :). My mouth waters just thinking about it now! Yumm!

Chicago- day 2 and 3

The second day we went into the city it started to rain so we were glad we did all of our outdoor sightseeing the day before. We spent over four hours at the Art Institute looking at the European Art, Impressionists, marble scultptures, Modern Art, and walking through Asian Art Gallery a million times trying to get to the next wing or the restaurant for lunch or back to another wing :). My poor feet. By the time we finished the day we figured we had logged over 16,000 steps today. That's roughly 7 miles! I guess I was pretty inspired with the art that made my own modern art. I call this one Barking Dogs :). It was great fun seeing all that great art and visiting the gift shop :). We finished up the day at the Cheesecake Factory. It's a bit of a tradition of ours visiting the Cheesecake Factory on our trips. So far I/ Chris/ we have been to Boise, Salt Lake, Denver, Honolulu, San Diego, San Franscisco, and Chicago! No matter where you are in the country, there's comfort in knowing the Cheesecake Factory is the same everywhere :).

 Chris had her first day of her conference on Monday, so I made it a lazy day. I slept in, watched some TV, then went to the mall. Anytime we looked something up about Shaumberg, the first thing to pop up was the mall. It's suppose to be the second largest mall in the country and has a store for everyone. I'd like to know where else are you going to find a Michael Kors and JCPenney, or Swarovski and Claire's, or Sears and Lord & Taylor under the same roof?! And the restaurants! We had dinner at P.F. Chang's with some tasty lettuce wraps and crispy chicken.