Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A walk around downtown Chicago

We arrived 45 minutes late at 9:30 and our afternoon train to Seattle was due to leave at 2:15 pm. This gave us plenty of time for a stroll around Chicago.

After a cup of coffee and a snack at the Amtrak Lounge, we headed off. However we took the time to look at the magnificent Great Hall at Union Station.

As I remember, 'The Untouchables' featured these steps in one of the scenes.

The entrance.

Our basic plan was to start at Union Station on the left and walk to Lake Michigan, south a little and then back. The temperature was in the low 80's and reasonably humid. I marked our route with yellow and you can click on the map to make it larger.

This 108 story building is now known as the Willis Tower but used to be known as the Sears Tower. It was the world's tallest building from 1973 to 2014. Apparently the building's largest tenant is United Airlines.

The Chicago River with a couple of water taxis ready to take visitors on an architecture tour.

Small building at the end of the bridge on Adams Street. It was used to control the opening of the bridge.

Part of the L train.

No car chase scene this time.

Chicago is famous for its architecture and it's easy to see why.

Curious sculpture.

Another section of the L.

Play the tune here.

The Art Institute which Marianne would have liked to visit if we had time.

More importantly for me,  Orchestra Hall.

The concert hall is spectacular, but had problems with its acoustics which have been reduced.

Muti is one of my favourite conductors. He was Philadelphia's conductor from 1980 to 1992 and was very popular. Here is a video of him conducting Bolero. I am a devoted fan of the oboe player (Richard Woodhams) who plays at 4:00.

Anne-Sophie Mutter was a wunderkind violinist who made a recording with the Berlin Philharmonic and Herbert von Karajan when she was 15. She has had a great career.

A park near the lake.

We finally made it to the lake. The temperature was in the low 80's and quite humid.

The Buckingham Fountain, one of the world's largest.

The unusual building in the foreground is the Crain Communications Building (formerly the Smurfit Stone building). 

This obviously comes from a Harry Potter nightmare.

However it adorns the Chicago Public Library.

We arrived back at Union Station.

And walked down the famous steps and into the Amtrak Lounge. We were glad to be back in the air-conditioning and able to relax with some snacks and a glass of wine from the free wine tasting at noon.

I enjoyed the walk. Although I have been to quite a few of America's largest cities for conferences. Chicago was never featured. Perhaps I will go there sometime and take in a concert and maybe some Chicago blues.

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