Monday, July 27, 2009

USA Trip - part II - Chicago

Since Magnus had never spent any time in Chicago (although we've flown through or to it several times on the way home to Madison), we decided to leave Madison a day early and do a bit of the tourist thing there. Our flight to Missoula was the next day at 10am, so that was another reason to go a day before: the trip to Chicago from Madison is about 2 and a half hours and so that would have meant leaving by 6am at the latest. We prevailed upon my dad to spend the day with us there, serving as chauffeur as well. He's always game to drive someplace and it had been many years since he'd been in Chicago too.

Our plan was to drive to Larry Santoro's place near Wrigley field and then make our plans from there. Larry is an author, a director, a movie buff, who I met through StarShipSofa. He's had several stories aired on the podcast and has been active on the forum connected to it. I thought, since we were going to be in Chicago, it would be fun to meet him face-to-face.

Larry lives in a cave. Well, not literally, but he lives in an upstairs apartment (above a restaurant) at the back of the building and there are only windows at the back (short end of the one room), which makes the whole place sort of dark. But cozy! He and Tycelia (his wife) have used the shelves and shelves of DVDs as well as couches to delineate smaller spaces. He must have thousands of DVDs and books. And the biggest TV I've ever seen.

We went out for lunch nearby. I wish I could remember the restaurant's name. It was a Swedish place and they had the best cinnamon rolls ever. Think Cinnabon, but actually good. Not overly sweet, but in a good way. The pecan roll wasn't too shabby either. I had a lovely omelet as well.

After lunch we headed into the city on the L, running commentary courtesy of Larry. It was like getting a guided tour. Our mission was to get on a river boat tour. Unfortunately, we had to wait a bit, due to faulty info we received on the telephone. But that was fine with me. Larry posted his pictures on Flickr. Check them out! The tour was great. We rode first "down river" past all the architecture and then back "up river" toward Lake Michigan. Sound backwards? Well, yes, it is. The City of Chicago, lo, these many years ago, in a feat of engineering diverted the Chicago river to the Mississipi so that they could get fresh water for the city from the lake. We went out onto the lake for a view of the buildings on the lakefront.

From there we walked down Michigan to Millenium Park, where we ogled the "Bean", a huge reflective silver sculpture, in the shape of a bean. It has another, more official name, but damned if I can remember what it is! We also took a look at the bandstand designed by Frank Gehry. I'd love to go to the free open air concerts there!

My dad drove us to our hotel near O'Hare and we went to TGI Friday's for dinner and conversation.

All in all a great day. It was a hoot meeting and getting to know Larry and Tycelia. I bought his book of short stories, "Just North of Nowhere". You can read his Blog "At Home in Bluffton" where he says some very nice things about me, my singing and my narrations. Thanks Larry! It was a pleasure to meet you and spend the day with you.

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