Thursday, September 13, 2012


After the terrifying night before, I slept in a little on Wednesday morning.  Dave didn't know it, but I had mentally planned to put all his must-see's on the agenda for this day to make sure I didn't hijack plans later, doing stuff I wanted but not stuff he wanted.

First up - Sears Willis Tower SkyDeck.  The locals refuse to call it the Willis Tower, even though the name changed like 3 years ago.  It's like one day waking up to news that the Washington Monument is now called the Chase Bank Fallacy.  No.

I was not excited about this attraction, so I stalled a little.  Not because it isn't interesting - just because it meant more heights!  We had breakfast at the Corner Bakery in the basement of the building...I pretended to be thinking about the day's agenda with Dave as if I hadn't already nailed it down in my head.  But eventually Dave was getting anxious for me to finish my oatmeal, and I had to bite the bullet.

Not only do you take a WARP SPEED, SHAKY elevator (much like the John Hancock Observatory) to the 103rd floor.  Once you get up there you not only get 360 degree views of the city, but you can choose to walk out into a glass box overlooking the busy streets below.  JOY!
See those 4 boxes up there?  See all those people standing in them?  Hell no.

Here's the view looking north - that's the JHO at the top left with the 2 spires on top.

I didn't get near the glass boxes.  I tried, but the floor squeaked and the lady next to me and I jumped back away from the whole contraption.  The boxes are retractable so they can be brought in during winter weather, so I think the mechanism that slides it back into the building is what squeaked, but my brain didn't comprehend that at the time.  What my brain did comprehend was GETTHEEFFAWAYFROMTHEWINDOWNOW.

Dave was in the box with 8 of his closest friends, some of which were laying down in the box to get their pictures taken.  What the hell is wrong with people?  The girl in the hat is looking at me because Dave just asked me to hand him his camera.  I politely declined, and passed it to him via 3 or 4 strangers.

Here's the view from the box:
South Wacker Drive

South River

With 2 of my 3 terrifying skyscraper adventures (3rd one comes up later in this post) complete, we hopped back on the bus toward the Daley Center, where they got that Picasso.  First glimpse of the L:

Dave is a huge fan of the Blues Brothers, so when we decided on Chicago as our vaca destination, he said we had to see where the Bluesmobile died and the building where they paid their tax bill.  Conveniently the internets was very helpful in finding these locations, and even luckier was that they are right next to each other!

Daley Center:

City Hall where the Bluesmobile died (skip to 0:37):

There was a multi-cultural festival going on, so I parked myself on a bench, had a snack, and enjoyed the sights and sounds while Dave walked around and took pictures.  I thought it was strange to have such activity at lunchtime on a weekday, but apparently it's just a thing they do - called Under the Picasso.  Awesome!

Once Dave was finished taking in the sights as well, we hailed a cab (no bus or metro routes worked) and headed toward the Art Institute of Chicago.  The main reason we went, other than to see priceless works of art and expand our cultural horizons (?), was to recreate this:

If you're not familiar, watch this:
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Still not familiar?  You don't know me at all!

Here's Dave's version, wearing a Brett Hull jersey instead of Gordie Howe:

We saw some other stuff, too.  I'm just not that into art.  I don't get it. Here are some that you might recognize!

Moving on - when we left the Art Institute and were almost run over by an angry college student in a large BMW SUV, we headed north into Grant Park...

...and further north into Millennium Park, home of The Bean.  But don't call it the bean in front of its artist because he hates it, apparently.  The thing is way bigger than I expected and way more awesome than I imagined!  

Slimming, no?

And it's not even lunchtime yet!  Phew - just writing about this day makes my shins hurt!  

Ok, now it's lunchtime - we hopped on the bus at Millennium Park, and got off about 3 blocks later (had I know it was that far we would might have walked it) at the Purple Pig!  I want to call it a tapas bar, but it doesn't call itself that.  They specialize in pork plus small plates - fits right?

Unfortch we didn't take any food pics, but my mouth is watering just thinking about this meal.  It was my favorite of the week, I think.  I might regret saying that when I share the steak from Ditka's, but for now it's my favorite.  I got pork meatball sliders, Dave got milk-braised pork shoulder (so soft he ate it with a spoon!) with buttery mashed potatoes, and for dessert:  a Nutella, banana, and marshmallow creme panini!  OMG IT WAS SO HEAVENLY!  It was sprinkled with powdered sugar and I almost didn't share with Dave.  *drools*  We chatted up an English couple during lunch - I didn't understand anything the wife said and the husband just nodded, but she and Dave got along famously!  He's had 39.8 years of experience listening to a British accent (his mom) so he had a leg up.  They were cute.  They also drooled over the panini, but I didn't share!

After lunch, we hopped back on the bus and headed to Navy Pier.  I was hot and wanted to be near the lake breeze, and I knew our GoChicago card included some boat tours that left from the pier.   We chose the Architecture River Cruise, which goes up both the Chicago and South Rivers, featuring the skyline's most famous buildings from an architecture view with some Chicago history thrown in for fun.  The docent was more suited for a club opening, but his jokes were funny, his execution was flawless, and he didn't seem to be making stuff up, like we saw later in the week.
Trump's manhood International Hotel and Tower

Marina City Towers aka The Corncobs - these were built to draw people who had started spreading to the suburbs back into the city.  The concept was to have parking, living, shopping, dining, and errands all in one place to make living in the city center more pleasant.

Merchandise Mart - this building is so huge it used to have its own zip code. 

This drawbridge has been permanently lifted, but it's a popular spot for wedding photos - reminds me of Annie!

Civic Opera Building - built with its 'back' to the river, New York, and big business.  The dude who had it built was angry with the city about something, and the internet isn't helping me remember what that something is.

We made a wrong turn out of Navy Pier and had to walk a loooooong way to the closest bus stop, and then headed to dinner at Rosebud on Rush, directly across from our previous night's dinner destination, Giordano's.  Pretty standard Italian menu, but non-standard taste - not Purple Pig, but right up there!

After dinner we went back to the John Hancock Observatory (as promised, a 3rd skyscraper adventure) to view the weekly Wednesday night fireworks set off at Navy Pier.  This time I didn't even try to be brave, sat against the wall directly next to the elevator door, and waited for Dave to take 694 pictures of the fireworks, some of which can be seen below, along with a plain ole night shot :)

I mean, are you as tired as I am?  Man.  That was a long day!  You'll notice we paid for this long day by taking it easy the next day.  

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