Friday we headed up to Chicago for Claire’s last weekend in the States (for now! She has to come back next year because we were supposed to see U2 earlier in July but Bono had to go and have back surgery so they postponed). We were seeing a concert at Soldier Field. And guess who was opening for the main act?
I know! I didn’t even think he was still a person either. And he totally charmed me! He was WAY more talented than I ever gave him credit for – he played an awesome piano and was really quite engaging! And then it was time for the main act.
Now, I’d been sort of explaining the Bon Jovi concert to everybody by telling them that I owed Claire a concert since she’d gone to see Kylie with me in Sydney – usually accompanied with a bit of an eyeroll – but they were awesome! I went in determined to at least look like I was having a good time for Claire’s sake, but I ended up having a TON of fun – they put on an amazing show. And they played the six Bon Jovi songs I know, so I was a very satisfied customer – I’ve always wanted to do a sing along of Livin’ on a Prayer with 50,000 people! The experience did not disappoint.
The next day we hopped on a hop-on/hop-off bus tour (because I’m terrible at showing visitors around Chicago – I find the city very stressful) and hopped off for an architectural boat tour which I’ve always wanted to do!
It was very fun and very informative – apparently Chicago was basically built by an architural firm called SOM and…oh, my god, I’ve already forgotten his name. The dude who was a proponent of minimalism in the 70s and designed all the buildings with black windows and recessed lobbies. That guy. It was a little overcast, so the buildings weren’t quiet as shiny and sparkly as they could have been, but it was nice to not be baking in the sun.
Then we hopped back on the bus and rode to the Art Institute. It’s really hard to take in any of the city’s museums in only a couple of hours, but we did our best, heading straight for the Impressionists and Van Gogh, then American Gothic and the Hopper one of the diner. I have to say, though, I don’t remember the AI being quite so confusing to navigate – we kept getting lost! Okay, I kept getting us lost – but the map makes no sense and you can’t get to any of the floors or galleries from any of the other floors or galleries – you have to keep going back down to the main floor and choosing the correct stairway!
This is my favorite thing at the Institute. It’s the iPhone of the 16th century! ‘Oh, you need a compass? Let me get out my compendium.’ ‘Oh, you need a world map? You need a sundial? A calendar? Let me get out my compendium.’ ‘Oh, you need a device for telling time at night by using stellar positions? I have an app for that.’
After finishing up at the Art Institute, we hopped back on the bus one more time, finished the tour, and then headed back to our hotel to move everything over for the night (there was a very frustrating kerfuffle with the hotel on Friday night) – this activity resulted in something I don’t want to talk about because it makes me look really stupid. But it ended up with Claire having a bruise on her shoulder and me with a bruised lump on my knee.
But we recovered and went for deep dish pizza before our ghost tour! I ended up not being super impressed with our guide, though I’m entirely ready to admit that it might have been because I was distracted by all the SPIDERS THAT COME OUT AT NIGHT IN CHICAGO. Just another reason to not be a fan of the city. D:
Alas, we didn’t see any ghosts, though Claire got a suitably spooky photo on her camera at Hull House!
The next day, we were up bright and early and on our way to the Museum of Science and Industry (They’re running a contest where the prize is to live for a month in the museum – how awesome is that?!)! We saw the U-Boat – I remember it from the days when it was free and outside and rusty – now you have to pay to go inside it. We did, though. We saw some baby chicks and learned all about inventions of the future including a coffee table/musical instrument which I LONG for now, food that you can print out, clothes that let you text a hug, and this awesome computer that you control with your shadow – to get butterflies to land on you for now, I guess.
I was intrigued by the Smart Home, but…you have to pay extra to see it (the Museum of Science and Industry seems full of hidden expenses!), so we took a pass and went to learn about weather phenomena instead. Claire finally got to see her tornado!
We tried to go visit iCream – a super cool ice cream shop we’d seen a feature on on the Food Network while we were in St. Louis, but there was some sort of music festival on and the block the shop was on was closed off and we had to pay to get through. So we decided to just call it a day and head off to O’Hare so as not to risk the traffic.
Claire’s safe and sound in Melbourne again and even back to work now – it was so much fun having a visitor here, it’s very lonely now! And the cats are totally confused about where she is and why no one is giving them massages anymore (I guess I don’t do it right).