October 17, 2012

The windy city gets rainy

More Chicago! Today was our major day of city touring together, so we started early with a bus trip to the Museum of Science and Industry. For us country folks, just taking the bus is an adventure. It only took us about 45 minutes of sitting on the bus bench to figure out that we were supposed to be at the stop across the street. Well, I'll be.


The long bus trip gave me a chance to try out this new drink. I love the herbal tea rooibos, and I love pomegranates. Together in this drink, not so much. But I am saving the glass bottle to use for kitchen storage, so it wasn't a completely empty attempt. 


 Another bonus: museum entry was free because we are museum members in our hometown. 


We spent the majority of our time at the U-505 submarine exhibit. If you haven't been to this museum, you should just head straight to this exhibit when you go. 


Quick history: the U-505 is a German submarine that was captured during World War II. The exhibit is the perfect blend of history, information, and emotion. 

I loved the quote below. Especially poignant having recently read Unbroken, which you must read if you haven't.


Some other favorite museum spots. 

Oh, that's what they mean.
Hard to identify the creepiest clown.
Planes!
A tiny Chicago.

We were trying to hustle back (hard to do when taking the bus) for the 2 p.m. architecture boat tour, so we just ran for lunch to the closest place that didn't look disgusting. 


Turns out that our sandwiches were tasty, but we missed our boat by one sad minute. That's OK because we got a bonus hour to hold hands and act in love by the river.


We chose the Chicago Architecture Foundation boat tour (out of many tour services) because their guides are volunteers who love the freak out of the local architecture. The cost was $38/person for a 90-minute tour, making it the splurgiest part of our sight-seeing. I started to purchase the tickets online, but with all of the fees added to the online "sale," it was actually more expensive to purchase them that way.

The tour was definitely interesting, although with the calming river flow, I started falling asleep at the hour mark. But I perked up when I saw this.


Salvation Army -- I want to go to there (said like my idol Liz Lemon).

The rain that started to come down also helped to wake me up. It wasn't a huge downpour, but the drops were cold and consistent enough to dampen our clothes and freeze our buns off. But I didn't fall asleep again!


Scroll down to see some of my favorite buildings on the tour.




I was amazed at how many of those skyscrapers were built in the last decade. Trump Tower, which is a huge presence in the city horizon, is only a couple of years old.


According to the tour guide, Trump had decided to build the tallest building (of course) in the United States, but then 9/11 happened. So he couldn't get financing for the tallest building, but apparently, he could get financing for the tallest building with an all-concrete structure. Looks like the Donald is stretching to make his building number one at something. Pretty much people are always saying, "Wouldn't it be cool to go to the top of the tallest building with an all-concrete structure?"

After the tour, I decided to head up to the Trump pool.

Source

With this view, it was hard to break away from the window and get to swimming.


Warning if you ever swim near me: I will look like I am drowning the entire time. After 20 laps, I jumped out and hit the locker room showers, which come fully loaded with spa oils, sugar scrubs, lotions, razors, combs, robes, hair ties, q-tips, and basically pretty much any little thing you would ever want in a bathroom. If you don't smell fresh when you are staying at the Trump, it's your own darn fault.

Fully sugar scrubbed, I headed down to dinner.


Still impossible not to take a picture in the elevator mirror. And, yes, I did wear stripes ever single day of this vacation.

Tonight's choice for dinner was Keefer's, an incredible steak joint close to the hotel.


I started dinner with the mixed greens, bacon, and blue salad, which was a little over cheesy/dressing-y for me. Should have asked for dressing on the side. Warning: ugliest food cell phone pictures you've ever seen coming up.


Then I had the large filet mignon. The smallest large I've ever ordered. But also the tastiest!


And the dessert, warm chocolate cake, was a big thumbs up. The ganache center was perfectly warm and creamy. 


This place was pricey but incredibly delicious. So it gets two thumbs up from us. 

And all of Chicago gets a big hug from me.


Even with the rain on our sight-seeing parade, we loved this day in Chicago. Now we only need 100 more days to finish seeing the city.