Thursday, December 11, 2008


What a time to be in Chicago! Less than a month after their senator is elected president, less than a week before their Governor is arrested- I was there!

The weather was quite cold while I was there- though I've since been informed that the 20-30 degree weather and snow was considered seasonably warm by locals. I said to my sister after I got home that Chicago politicians may have earned the city the nickname "the Windy City", but the weather certainly could have done it on it's own! Though now I think really the politicos are giving the weather a run for it's money...

I had a great time entertaining myself while the Hubby was hard at work during the week- I spent a shameful amount of time shopping, tromping up and down the Magnificent Mile, though that was also incorporated with as much sightseeing and admiring of architecture as the weather allowed (it's hard to look up to all those sky-scrapers when ice is falling from the sky...) But what architecture I did see was pretty incredible.

This is the entrance to (one of the) Bloomingdale's. That Moorish looking entrance was paired with incredible stained glass windows and towers topped with Moorish domes on either end making it look an awful lot like this building was at one time a mosque that some genius preserved and turned into a department store. So much better than tearing down that beautiful building and putting up a big block!

I also got to spend a little time wandering around Millennium Park , admiring the sculptures and crazy stage there.

You can see "the Bean" there in the background. I was bummed to realize that there had been caroling there the night after we'd arrived, which I would have loved to see had I known it was going on. And while I didn't choose to go skating myself I hung around and enjoyed watching these (clearly inexperienced) fellow tourists trying to make it once around the rink.

I did get over to the Art Institute and said hi to the festively dressed lions.

And of course I went in and spent a few hours getting lost, which was made incredibly easier by the construction going on in the "modern wing". They didn't mention that half the rest of the exhibits are also in upheaval during the transformation. I did get to see the American and European wings with their centuries' worth of paintings and furniture, which is what I was really in the mood for anyway.

I particularly enjoyed this painting in the American gallery, but forgot to label it when I took the picture and, despite my best efforts at searching AI's fantastic website, I have no idea who this is painted by. If anyone happens to know...
NOTE: I found it! This painting is called Morning by Claude Joseph Vernet. Turns out I was clever enough to jot the name down on the map of the museum. (just not clever enough to remember I'd done it...)

While my poor husband missed most of the sightseeing as well as the museum, he did get to enjoy quite a few of Chicago's great restaurants. Our personal favorite was one I picked from the hotel guide called Alhambra.

Really you need to go to their website to see the pictures of the interior because, while the food was really very good, the decor is what blew me away! (and without a flash my pics didn't turn out very clear) Be sure to click on the four blocks at the bottom of the navigation menu to see all the rooms. That was where we had our last dinner, and what a final impression to leave with!

Oh, final except for the holiday decorations at O'Hare airport, which were so cheery...

A SIDE NOTE: All of the pictures in this entry were taken with my Samsung Sync camera phone. Not bad, huh? If you click on the images you can see larger sizes- check out that lion!

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