Saturday, March 28, 2009
Well, I took a blogging break during March break but of course now it's back at work. From Sunday until Tuesday I spent in Victoria including a rainy trip to Chemainus with a couple of friends on Monday. Could you believe more snow? I kept telling myself that this was all preparing me for visiting Chicago.
Due to being on a committee for the International Reading Association I left for Chicago last Friday morning. All set to go, seated for my three and half hour direct flight, surprise surprise, there is something wrong with the plane and we are told to leave our bags and wait until the situation is checked. Well six hours later (two spent waiting in lines and a few conversations with my travel agent) I left on another flight (my original flight did actually leave an hour later). Instead of arriving in Chicago at 2:30 it was after 8. After an efficient taxi ride, I dumped my bags at the Renaissance. I literally ran the five blocks from my hotel to the Lasalle Bank Theatre where Jersey Boys was playing only an hour late for the performance but I had a great seat and it was a great show in a stunning theatre.
Fortunately, the rest of my trip went smoothly. I spent two days literally running around Chicago in perfect weather. And yes, I even ventured into Obamaland, the University Chicago campus area in Hyde Park. I had a pleasant time in (what I discovered later was) his favorite book store, 57th Street Books, where I told the bookseller about our Canada Reads selection, The Book of Negroes, and I found out the Chicago Reads selection was The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.
This was my second trip to Chicago and I still think it's a fabulous city with very helpful, friendly people and amazing architecture. Saturday, I woke up to a view of the river (see picture) and after a scrumptious breakfast at a former office building turned hotel, the Hotel Burnham, I walked through Millenium Park to The Chicago Art Institute Museum where I spent four and a half hours soaking in all the great exhibits, well of course only a few highlights really. I wandered back to my hotel with many stops, and then saw The Quiet Man Tales, a cheerful Irish play at the historic Chicago Theatre.
Sunday, I decided to go out to Hyde Park to visit the Robie House. I am a bit of a Frank Lloyd Wright fan and on my other trip we went out to Oak Park and visited his home there. Of course I missed the part that it was closed on Sunday due to restoration, but a block away I discovered the Oriental Institute Museum which has an amazing exhibit on Mesopotamia (now modern Iraq). Grade seven teachers should check out their website. The University of Chicago campus- Hyde Park area is beautiful and a nice place to wander on a beautiful spring day.
My next stop after the almond croissant at Medici's, was the Museum of Science and Technology. It's huge, the biggest such museum in the world, and amazing and contains a real German U-boat, a plane, and a recreation of a coal mine all of which you can enter. Incredible displays including (for a fan of miniatures such as myself) the fairy castle and a miniature railroad trip from the west coast to Chicago. You could spend days and I only had a couple of hours...
The express bus took me back to The Loop and I had time to take advantage to the 25 percent discount sale at Borders Bookstore for educators and for $2.50, I took the train out to the airport in 45 minutes. The next couple of days were spent at the Airport Hilton on my IRA search committee which turned out to be a fascinating experience. I arrived home very late Tuesday night, my plane only an hour late due to Chicago weather (the brilliant weather only really lasted the weekend).
A bit hard readjusting Wednesday but we are back into it now. So stay tuned for more local postings!