Today was the first day of true tourism. We went on a river tour and saw the Willis (Sears) tower. There was a lot of walking and much information!
The river tour we chose was the Chicago Architecture tour. On our way to the pier I really saw why everyone says Chicago is a really beautiful city. There was a sidewalk detour, and the DETOUR brought us along this path with rose bushes and trees with the leaves changing colour. It was such an aesthetically pleasing walk; even the jogging path we came to was manicured and extremely well cared for.
When we made it to the pier, the tour cruised along the river and our guide gave us a very rich historical overview of all the buildings along the waterfront. We saw a lot of skyscrapers and got to hear about the different schools of thought that went into them, as well as how the city was re-built after the Chicago fire in 1871. I never knew this, but apparently the fire started when Catherine O’Leary’s cow kicked over a kerosene lantern in a barn. The hay quickly caught fire and spread rapidly to the predominately wooden structures around the city. As our tour guide told us the origin of the fire, he used an Irish accent and even had a name for the cow, Daisy. Throughout the tour our guide used his quick wit and alternated a dry and goofy sense of humour to keep everyone engaged. At the end, he even played us a bit of harmonica and sang to us about Chicago architecture.
After the tour we headed into Navy Pier for a look around and lunch. The winner of our lunchtime expedition was Bubba Gump Restaurant and Market. When Paul saw the sign, he immediately said we HAD to go there. It’s not often he says something with quite that much conviction, so I thought we ought to go. I’ll say this… there was a lot of shrimp.
After lunch she shopped around for a few minutes, then got some star bucks and headed back out into the cold. We dropped our shopping at the hotel and headed out to the Willis/Sears tower. It was pretty close, only a few minutes walk, I thought it would have been further. While we were at the top of the tower, the light faded from twilight into darkness and the entire city lit up. It is worth it to go at night. During the day you definitely see how high it is and all the small people on the sidewalk below, but at night you can see the line of the highway and every building window with a light. The rows of cars look like trickles of water moving through the city and filtering through the streets and alleyways.
The glass boxes were interesting; a lot of people were crowded into them to take pictures. I don’t know if it was just me, but I thought I felt the boxes shift every now and again. It was probably just me and… what is the opposite of wishful thinking? Pessimistic musings?
Since Paul and I did not plunge to our deaths in a freak glass box accident, we bought some gifts for those back at home; small, touristy things. Anyone from home reading, if you want something specific, you’d better put your order in now.
After descending the Willis/Sears tower, Paul and I went up State Ave and checked out some of the stores there. This was my first time in a Macy’s. Holy cow. Their clearance section was almost the same size as most Wal-Mart’s at home! It was the biggest store I have ever seen in my life! There was no perusing here and there for a few minutes. You had to plan your steps and specifically go looking for something. I checked out the coat selection and it took a good five minutes to simply walk along the hallway to see where the department finally ended!
They were also decked out for Christmas. I am not a fan of this! It is too soon for there to be Christmas things going on. Just walking around the store with the decorations and the Christmas carols playing in my ears, I felt very stressed out. The kind of feeling you get when you’re going to be flattened by an oncoming stampede of people trying to grab that last gift or two. That, and I actually had to start thinking about what I was going to get people for Christmas! It may be crude, but THEIR MARKETING SCHEMES ARE WORKING!!!!
**Deep breath** deep breath** think of the yarn… happy feelings… kittens and puppy dogs.
We didn’t actually spend too long at Macy’s; only about a half hour. Paul and I wanted to be back at the hotel for 8pm because a new episode of Sleep Hollow was on and we never get to watch them when they’re actually on TV. Unfortunately it wasn’t a very good episode, but it wasn’t horrible so I think it was worth it.
With TV time over, we were free to go to dinner. There wasn’t a whole lot of planning in dinner, so went across the street to Vapiano’s again.
Tomorrow we’re planning on hitting up the Field Museum, Shedd aquarium, the planetarium and more than likely the White Castle that is located close to those attractions. Will post with an update tomorrow!