I know it’s been a while but apparently nobody visits during the winter in Chicago! What a bunch of wimps!! Well it’s been a very different kind of winter for us, and by all standards, a very mild Chicago winter for the locals. So we have been doing some exploring on the weekends, taking in the surrounding areas of this great Midwestern part of the country! We have been blessed that we are able to get out and go on the weekends when the weather has agreed with our plans! But finally, our first guest of 2016 has arrived! Our God-daughter, Marissa, joined us for a couple of weeks to take in the city.
It was a “weird weather” time while she was here … for a few days we were in the 60’s and hot, and then it would plummet to the 30’s, and then back up into the 50’s. So, we all agreed she got both a Chicago Winter and a Chicago Spring in the weeks she was with us!
Marissi is our “Get Out and Go Girl” so we did a lot of exploring, and walking, and dancing, and eating! We started the week out by just getting out into the city so she could get familiar with it. So off we went!
We stopped to chat with the South Lion at the Art Institute and continued north to Millennium Park.
We checked out the park where the symphony will play (remember … free evening concerts in the summer??) to see how the grass was coming along.
Then, kept going up and over the river to …
… hop on the famous “Double Decker Tour Bus” so that she could get a bird’s eye view of the city. Check out the reflection of the sky and clouds on the building behind (and above) Crate & Barrel. Isn’t that pretty?
After that long, hard tour, we needed some refreshment. So we walked back down State Street (I love this street!) to the amazing “Magnolia Bakery”!!
Marissi couldn’t quite make up her mind … hmmm … cupcake or banana pudding?? Oh well, let’s try both! Haha!!
We also made a quick pit stop at Ghiradelli’s just because. I promise you we did NOT have any free samples there … well at least I think we didn’t!
After a long day of exploring, we decided to go home and relax. So we made a quick grocery stop and then headed home. Marissi is a great cook, so she was ready to fill up a cart and go home and cook up a storm!
The next morning, we were ready for our day at … The Field Museum! You absolutely cannot miss a chance to take a picture with our “Sue” … we wouldn’t want to make her unhappy now would we??
Now, the Field also has a brand new exhibit that I have never seen in person before, and that I have been wanting to see for years!! The Terracotta Warriors have made their way to Chicago! I know we’ve all seen the NatGeo documentaries on this amazing discovery in China, but to see it up close and personal is pretty fabulous! I can’t begin to explain to you what I learned, but here’s what the Field says about it on their website:
“China’s First Emperor, Qin Shihuang, planned to spend his afterlife buried in a palatial tomb, surrounded by all his worldly treasures. To guard his mausoleum, he commissioned an army of terracotta warriors unlike anything seen before or since.”
The “palatial tomb” is over a mile long and wide, and it is literally a city full of life-sized characters … animals, plants, government workers, and warriors … in fact, everything that the Emperor thought that he would want or need in the afterlife is in his tomb. They have discovered over 8,000 terracotta figures. Here are some free samples for you!
Every single face and uniform is unique. They were hand carved, not molded in any way. Also, they would have been painted in their original form. Here’s what they believe they would have looked like at the time they were buried:
It’s really hard to imagine or convey, so you will really need to see it for yourself! When are you coming again? If for some reason you can’t see it in Chicago, you will need to see it somewhere! To think that someone actually built a full city complete with inhabitants, and then buried it with him, is truly incredible. You have got to see this!!
We spent the full afternoon trying to take this all in and when we left, we took a quick stroll by the lake. It was a little overcast, but I was able to catch an airplane in the clouds so I think it’s a cool picture!!
Another full day so back home we went to make a pot of lentil soup … it was delicious and warm and just right after our recent discoveries! The next day, we had a lot to do before we welcomed our 2nd guest of 2016!! Choochie was due to land at noon so we had to be ready for her! Choochie and Marissi have been best friends since they were born, so anytime they have a chance to explore together, they do! These two girls have been backpacking all over Europe and South America in their days as “starving students who wanted to see the world.” So get ready Chicago when they’re both in town!
The next morning, we got up early and headed out … Navy Pier was Marissi’s next destination! It was a great time to visit the Pier because 1) there was no one there (apparently not a winter hot spot for tourists!); and 2) we found a stained glass exhibit! At the very end of the pier, right before you walk off into the lake that looks like an ocean, there is another “exhibit” … a life-sized bronze Bob Newhart statue with his famous couch from the old t.v. series “The Bob Newhart Show.” Bob was a native Chicagoan so they have built this in his honor. Marissi decided to give him a dose of his own medicine!!
On our way back to the top of the pier, we discovered a little teeny sign that said, “Stained Glass Exhibit This Way” and I said, “What? I’ve never seen this before!” So we followed the signs and found a little teeny room that housed some of the “Tiffany Studios” stained glass.
We had the exhibit all to ourselves and we were able to really reflect on the beauty of the stained glass, learn about how they were created, and the significance of each glass. This was truly a gift. I had no idea that “Tiffany” first created glass and then in his later years, moved to jewelry.
Here are a few more to share with you … until you come out here and see them for yourselves!!
Obviously the quality of my “phone” shots are not really worthy of their beauty in person. But I wanted to show you another cultural opportunity given to the people of Chicago for no cost. I’m not sure how the City of Chicago does all these types of things, but they do … and I’m glad!
We finished just in time to take a quick red line train down to the station to meet Choochie! And … here she comes …
These girls are gonna have me running wild … so I’m going home to take a nap!
Talk to you tomorrow!