Chi-cago, Chi-cago…

So, here’s a question – how on earth did I forget to blog about my trip to Chicago a couple of weeks ago?! Some things boggle the mind. It was a work trip, but you all know how much I love exploring cities (even those I’ve been to before) especially when the weather cooperates.

I couldn’t believe our luck in having almost a whole week of sunny skies. I was in the Windy City for 5 days, but only had a chance to explore the city my last day there. And explore it I did. I’m pretty sure I walked about 10 miles in 6 hours…in boots. They were comfortable boots, but still. Ouch.

I stayed at the Palmer House Hilton, which is a historic hotel about 2 miles from the Navy Pier. The most distinguishing feature of the hotel is the beautiful fresco in the lobby.

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We walked to Millennium Park, which was about a quarter mile from the hotel. Millennium Park was home to this lovely ice skating ring. Does this look like a scene from a holiday movie, or what?

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Millennium Park is also home to “The Bean.” My presumption is that it’s a coffee bean (since I’m more than a little bit obsessed with my cup of joe), but I guess it could also be many other iterations of beans. I love how the buildings are reflected in the picture below. Such a lovely distortion.

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And here I am, coffee in hand, taking a photo of my reflection in the Bean. Come to think of it, this is probably how most of the world sees me as I have my face buried behind my camera most of the time.

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And now I’m just getting silly. This was my imitation of Atlas. Except instead of the world, I’m holding up a coffee bean. Yup, that about sums up my responsibility in this world relative to Atlas’. I love that you can see my buddy, Al, in the reflection squatting down to take the picture. The Bean is fun!

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Here is the cityscape from the park looking back towards the city. I love how there are fall leaves still on the trees – my corner of North Carolina is decidedly barren already.

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Here is one last look at the Bean. This may just be my favorite photo of the trip – I love the composition, the symmetry, the couple towards the bottom of the picture. Photography feeds my soul.

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Okay, enough hokiness. Here is a view of the outdoor theater – it looks like it converts to a covered dome. I bet it’s a great music venue.

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After a trip to the Navy Pier and an awesome Japanese lunch, my friend and I went hunting for two Chicago institutions. Since we’re criminologists, the first was the site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. I know what you’re thinking – that’s kind of morbid – and it is, but we’re suckers for that kind of lore, so we went looking for it. Turns out, the old garage has been demolished and it is now a lovely manicured parking lot of a nursing home. Keeping with the spirit of authenticity, Al was the stand in for one of Al Capone’s cronies. Totally macabre, right?

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And the last site we visited was much more lighthearted – Wrigley Field! Truth be told, neither one of us has any interest in baseball, but we figured that visiting Chicago without seeing Wrigley Field is kind of like going to Paris and not doing a drive by of the Eiffel Tower.

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After our self-guided tour of the city (I should mention that we had Chicago-style pizza on 3 separate nights), we headed on back to our hotel to fetch our luggage and head to the airport to catch our late night flight. Tired, satisfied, caffeinated.

Until next time Chicago…

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