Thursday, May 1, 2008

Chicago weekend, 4/25

Below is a link to Sarah's digital photos - Craig loaded his camera with black & white film, which is a great canvas for his artistry but which takes a long time to get developed if you live in Garland, Texas (a roll of his Australia photos was hung up in the lab for, literally, a month).

Most of you know that Craig has been working south of Chicago, in Lisle Illinois, for about 3 out of every 4 weeks. He started his job in January, which was not the most attractive introduction to life in Illinois. Due to weather and his work responsibilities, until last weekend he did not have time to take the train into Chicago and explore the city.

Craig had been to Chicago only once before, when he was 5 years old, and Sarah's last trip was in her 20s (yep...long time ago). Chicago of 2008 did not disappoint! We made it to 2 museums and 2 jazz clubs, had a lovely Italian dinner with former Dallas/Fort Worth friends who now live in the area, and took a boat tour that was very scenic until a storm blew us off the lake. Although sometimes overcast, the weekend weather was fine for walking, cool but not cold.

We liked our hotel - Hotel Monaco is part of the Kimpton chain, to which we're growing addicted. Usually refurbished historic buildings, the Kimptons tend to be in downtown locations that give you walking access to most places you would want to go. And, Kimptons offer free wine tastings from 5-6 every day, meaning a real savings for our beverage budget.

We loved the diversity and friendliness of Chicago, and it's one of the few US cities that has a truly living downtown - with jobs and activities for more than just the yuppie class. We didn't get to try out as many restaurants as we planned - and horror of horrors, we ran out of time to have deep-dish pizza or a Chicago hot dog - but Craig did have a late lunch combo sandwich of Italian sausage and Italian beef. Not surprisingly, that led to an afternoon nap, but we woke up in time for our sunset boat tour.

The reflective sculpture shown in these photos is Cloud Gate, by Anish Kapoor. Coincidentally, on Sarah's 2003 trip to London she saw Kapoor's installation in the Tate Modern museum - that sculpture looked like a giant gramophone made of human flesh, and she didn't appreciate it much (and can't be bothered to do enough web research to explain it here properly), but both Sarah and Craig thought that Chicago's Cloud Gate achieves its artistic goals. In fact, Sarah likes it enough to include a web link for more info:

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