Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Navy Pier and the Magnificent Mile

This was our first full day in Chicago. I think I mentioned yesterday that our hotel takes up one full block. Depending on what door you exit, you are on an entirely different street. Today we ventured out onto State Street. We wanted to visit the Navy Pier and that required us riding the bus. We made it down to the Pier shortly before 11:00 am. We did a quick walk through the first building and saw the gigantic ferris wheel. Here is a picture of the skyline from the pier that I took:

The glass building that is the darkest is the John Hancock building. It is the second tallest building in the city I believe. I honestly don't remember the names of the others, but Chuck knows them all. We had walked out to the dock where the siteseeing boats were and just made the 11:30 Architecture River tour. This was a very interesting tour that really gives you the history of the city and why some buildings are built the way they are. We learned that there is basically four types of architecture used. This is the first picture I took from the boat. It takes you up and down the Chicago River for a peaceful 60 minutes. That is, it would be peaceful if you didn't have two classes of children on field trips! That is one downfall of going to an attraction during the week. There had to be at least 25 to 30 school buses parked at the Navy Pier. From kindergarten to senior classes, kids with chaperones were all over the place. The tour guide asked them to quiet down a few times on our ride. As you can see, the weather was perfect today here. Unlike at home where they have had over 8 inches of rain in the past 24 hours :( Remember boys, we invited you to come with us and all three of you declined. I thought this picture turned out rather well, as you can see the reflections of some building in it. This building is curved on the water side to match the shoreline and on the back (street side) it is squared off. Once we were done with the tour, we had lunch then wandered around the rest of the pier. We were fairly close to the Magnificent Mile so we took the free trolley over to it. Sadly, I didn't get a picture of the street sign. We wandered a few blocks and eventually went into the Crate and Barrel store. It was four stories tall. I picked up a few fun kitchen items like a pancake turner. Now many might say, don't you own a spatula? Well yes, we have two actually, but this one is a big round spatula the size of a large pancake. No more have the pancake flop down one side because I wasn't in the exact middle when I flipped it. I can't wait to try it out. The other really cool find was a butterfly cookie cutter. It is at least 4 inches big. We took the trolley back out to the pier so we could catch the bus that we knew would take us back to our hotel. On the way back we saw a Borders bookstore so we hopped off. You see, we don't have one of these back home and wanted to compare it to Barnes and Noble. I have to say, we like B&N better. As we walked back to the hotel guess what store is across the street? Blick's Art Supply. For you non-crafty readers, this is the store I can buy Copic markers at!!! I was really good, I only purchased 11. And like the organized person I am, I had my list of colors I wanted in my small notebook I keep in my purse. One never knows when you will need your list of copic marker colors. So all in all, a great day here in Chicago. The conference begins tomorrow at 7:45am. The opening ceremonies include a parade of flags, a juggling/tumbling group and a pottery artist. The keynote speaker is Jim Lovell from Apollo 13. Check back in tomorrow night to see how it went.

One more picture for you: Chuck sitting next to the bronze statue of Bob Newhart. Notice the numerous school buses in the background....I didn't exaggerate!

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