For a Good Time, Head to Chicago

We can all talk about Chicago food, help write the next guidebook on what to see, its architecture, or just muse about the city’s history (be it the city’s founding, Ferris Bueller, the mafia wars, or the baseball wars).  But Chicago is a great “canvas for curiosities” (fun little stories or curious sights); what with its size, multitude of places to go & hang out, and colorful locals/visitors alike there can be no shortage of curiosities or good times!

Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that other places can’t provide perfect backdrops for good stories (New Orleans certainly is! I could tell you stories… if I remembered them), but Chicago offers such a variety of possibilities, that it is inevitable to leave the place with good stories or good pictures.

A group of folks passionate about the experience of travels (who also share an interest in meeting like-minded folks) got together in Chicago for the Windy City tweetup in May 2012.  There will be/are blog entries here and in their blogs (check them out – links below!) written about the weekend but I thought I’d devote one to the curiosities and/or the good times of the weekend as captured with my camera…

Plenty of Odd Birds

People watching doesn’t get much better than in this city with the sheer number of people out and about (OK, it does in some places but not by much more).  But this strange bird caught my eye as he was sitting perfectly still in-air 😉  Or was he just watching tourists play at The Bean?

A bird on the Cloud Gate, or The Bean

We Didn’t Start the Fire (No, Not THAT Chicago Fire)

No matter what anyone claims, we did NOT cause this mishap in Michigan Ave.  Some other group of marauders must have done it.  (Notice that the city kindly placed an orange cone to protect pedestrians!)

Traffic light mishap

We Think We Are Having a Good Time until We Look at the Photo Days Later…

Our group enjoyed standing in front of The Bean while we all shot pictures at ourselves – we thought that was a cool idea.  But the real action was taking place right next to us.  Now THEY were having a good time!

Tourists at the Cloud Gate in Chicago, also known as The Bean

Warning – Don’t Make Me Smite You Guys (or Is It “Youse” Guys?)

Well, early on, a warning seemed to have been delivered to us to NOT have too much of a wild time while at The Pump Room on our first night enjoying drinks, dinner, and the ambience.  I want to say we were not affected by it but some had an odd glow all weekend.  Oh, wait that could have been the boa…

Indoor lightning strike

The Angels Are in Town – and not the Baseball Team

Friday night, as we walked the streets in the Water Tower district, a local realized that Charlie’s Angels were in town.  I took a look around me, and, oh dear, I was Charlie.  Better than Bosley for sure.  So, we decided that the Angels needed to do their thing.  And here it is:

Charlie's Angel in Chicago

Good times.

Spread ‘Em, Lady

Chicago,of course, can provide a rather large playground for bachelor and bachelorette parties – ALL sorts of good times.  We believe that was what we ran into as we went to the Cloud Gate (or The Bean) at Millenium Park as a group of ladies kept hoisting one of their lot up in various poses…  One of our guys was “had” as he heard the words of legs being spread…

And Just When You Think You Have Had a Good Time…

… the BOA enters the picture.  Then all bets are off.  What you thought had been fun so far, becomes childplay-fun only.  We don’t know where the boa originally came from.  I can’t tell you much else about it – the moment it enters the picture, the fun begins and the time for chit chat is not gonna happen…  You see, the boa has a mind of its own, it wraps you within its feathers, and then… well, this is the point where I have to use that old and wise adage and give it a local twist:  “What happens in Chicago, stays in Chicago… or else the ghost of Mr. Capone will make me regret it!”

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Check out these folks with a great point of view and travel stories to tell!

http://lolastravels.com

http://leahtravels.com

www.jettingaround.com

www.elatlboy.com

www.travelingted.tv

http://theworkingmomstravels.com/

A Nice Discovery in Chicago: Its Architecture

These well-traveled eyes have seen a lot of great cities and still have others left to discover.  But they can say that they have seen truly one of the most interesting and enjoyable cities in the U.S. – as long as it is not winter, of course!  (OK, it still can be fun in winter as my visits many moons ago can attest though my memory cannot fully recollect…)

Chicago is vibrant, day or night.  It is not the 200+ yr old charm that Philly has (Chicago burnt deep and well in the famous fire).  It is not the capital of everything that NY is.  It is not the power center that DC is.  But it is a city that has everything that an urban area should have:  unique neighborhoods, a vibrant center, a body of water (or two) running through it, great food, great hotels, diversity of entertainment options (blues clubs, skyscraper-top bars, mafia lore, shopping, people watching, and on and on), and a strong business community.  Of course, it also has that required element of large cities:  corrupt (or dubious) power brokers – but I digress.

But one thing it that tood out to me as if I had never been here before was the architecture.  Not sure if it was the scale (as in the Hancock and ex-Sears Towers or as in the Merchandise Mart), or the contrasts between “old” and new, or just the fact that I got see it on foot, on boat, and on a bus.

View from the Wrigley Building to the "south side" of the Chicago river

View from the Wrigley Building to the “south side” of the river

If you have any interest in learning about the city’s architecture (and you most definitely do not need to be an architect for that!), the boat tour is a great option.  The boat tour we took was offered was by Wendella Boats (http://www.wendellaboats.com/ (right by the Wrigley Building on Michigan Ave.).  They provide an excellent narration of the architecture of the city by cruising the river – and they help you learn why the river no longer flows into Lake Michigan… I won’t spoil it for you.  They also offer you a free drink (and you can pay for more) – the Honker’s Ale was very nice.  And I digress again.

Here are examples of the architecture of Chicago (more pictures on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ILiveToTravel):

Buildings in Chicago that show it has great architecture

The building on the left was inspired by a champagne bottle

Chicago's high buildings reflected on the Cloud Gate, or The Bean

The real and reflected skyline (at The Bean in Millenium Park)

Other stories from our tweetup:

 

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