Monday, September 22, 2008

Windless in Chicago

Winding down after winding up a weekend in the Windy City! I made my first trip to Chicago this weekend with the missus. Aided by fabulous weather and absolutely no wind (thus the title), I spent a couple of days in the downtown area on what was a low-key relaxing tourist sojourn. We stayed at the Westin River North which was very close to the Magnificent Mile area and it turned out to be a very good thing. Being so close to the riverwalk and other spots in the downtown made our job easier.

Art Dekho

We ruled out the museums in the interests of time (I know they are a big highlight), but without doubt, walking around the city gave me more than my fill of art that I needed to see. Sprawled around the river, the buildings in the downtown, constructed after the great fire are a testament to great architecture. Numerous instances of buildings styled in art deco as well as postmodernism abound. To the untrained eye (mine) too, the subtleties aren't obvious to grasp. What helped though was an architecture cruise that we took that snaked through the river highlighting in great detail, excessive at times, the history behind the different buildings and the varied styles in which they were constructed. Walking around the downtown in the evenings was also a rewarding experience, especially along the RiverWalk. The buildings however weren’t the only art highlights. The Millennium Park was a treat as well. From the “Cloud Gate” to the “Jay Pritzker Pavilion”, it was great to see a public space with such emphasis on art and architecture.

Khana Khazana

While in Chicago, eat the deep dish pizza. At least that is what I had been told. So we headed off to Giordano’s, known for its world famous stuffed pizzas. We ordered a small, which claimed to fill in 1-2 people. I am not sure what appetites they had in mind while prescribing that. Between the two of us, we made it around 80% of the supposedly small pizza. That a human being can single-handedly eat that delicious offering beats me. While on the food, I also liked some of the offerings at India House.

Touristas

Besides the tour and the Millennium Park, I did due diligence to my duties as a tourist and made a trip to Hancock Tower. The only difference is that instead of going all the way to the observatory, I hopped over to the Lounge on the 95th floor per a friend’s recommendation and enjoyed the view sipping an impossibly expensive cup of coffee (alcohol might have been cheaper). The view of the shoreline was amazing. Walking along the Magnificent Mile was fun; what with the expensive shops all along and us skipping by for want of time. Navy Pier was another hop along the way and having been to the Santa Monica Pier in California, this one definitely came across as a place with more substance. Finally, we also caught the play Wicked at the Oriental Theater in The Loop.

Photographs

Yes, shouldn’t the post actually have some on here? The momentous event on the trip was not getting a great picture atop the architecture cruise. The momentous event was getting none, especially with my digital camera. My Canon s-50 finally died. After 5 ½ years of diligent service through thick and thin, it finally coughed its way to a tragic end. The shutter was stuck halfway, like Trishanku; unable to go in or fully come out. While I have photos from some part of my trip, I am going to have make arrangements to offload them, so this will have to wait. For the architecture cruise, I had to go low-tech and buy a disposable camera. I have no idea if and how those pictures will turn out. I guess I should look for a new camera now. With technology having developed so much since the time I last bought a camera, lots of research and a better product await me.

That’s about it. Enjoyable trip and I’d definitely recommended it. If some good pictures are salvaged, I shall share them with you. Final tip: Do stay in the downtown. That’s where all the action is.The train service from the O’Hare airport is well set for anyone to just get off and get there.

9 comments:

Radha said...

Such a pity about the camera!! Would've loved to see those pics!

sd said...

I might be biases, but after San Francisco and Boston, Chicago is my favorite city in the US.

Parth said...

@Radha: It truly is. Still working on getting those photos transferred.

@SD: I liked San Francisco too, along with NY. I spent a very short time in Boston so I couldn't really grasp the city much. Its tough for me to pick a favorite US city.

Vi said...

Indeed, the pictures would have been nice.

Good to read what you've been up to. :)

RagzZmatazZ said...

Nice Log ! Have been meaning to visit Chicago for a while now. Two recommendations:
1. The Nikon D-40
2. America's finest city : San Diego !

Parth said...

@Vi: Glad to be posting as well :-)

@Rags: thanks for the recommendation. I'll definitely check it out. SD is a place I have been to thrice now and have liked it always. Actually, I stayed with a friend close to UCSD so I suppose La Jolla is the place I have spent the maximum amount of time at. Next time I am there, we should meet :)

Sridhar Iyer said...

Oh yeah, Chicago is definitely one of those must-see American cities. Sorry about the camera conking off -- I'm myself thinking of venturing into SLR territory, btw, so do share your new-camera research. And post any pics you can salvage!

frissko said...

you don't like santa monica pier?...i thought it was a perpetual carnival...loved it...but i haven't seen anything else to compare...

scanned pics from a makeshift camera are welcome too...

Parth said...

@Sridhar: Certainly shall share the results of the investigation with you.

@Frissko: I wasn't bowled over by Santa Monica pier, but perhaps I didn't see it as its most festive. I went there in the middle of the day on a hot summer afternoon. Loved the walk on the beach around it though.