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Sweet Home Chicago…..

Posted by on September 14, 2013

We have visited a number of great American cities during our trip – e.g. Savannah, Charleston, Washington, New York – and have to say that Chicago has turned out to be one of our favourites. No doubt the great summer conditions helped, but we found it lively, outdoorsy (much like Vancouver due to its excellent public parks and beaches), down-to-earth and friendly, with many interesting things to see and do. A very good transportation system, including an excellent lakefront bikepath/park, made getting around relatively easy for such a big city. We used the ‘El’ system to commute to and from town on a number of occasions, as well as to take us to and from the city to the airport; it was efficient and much cheaper than a taxi.

Both Ria and I enjoy Rhythm and Blues – hence the title of this post – and we visited two clubs (Buddy Guy’s Legends; the House of Blues) that provided great local entertainment and good food. Highly recommended if you enjoy R&B.

The pictures and captions say a lot about our new-found love affair with Chicago. If you’re thinking of visiting a big American city, give Chicago a try!

A sunset view of the Chicago skyline from our marina; we stayed at the 31st Street Harbour facility, which was modern and clean, and only about 3 miles south of downtown.

A sunset view of the Chicago skyline from our marina; we stayed at the 31st Street Harbour facility, which was modern and clean, and only about 3 miles south of downtown.

Our first excursion was a bike ride along the excellent Lakeshore Bikepath to the city centre.

Our first excursion was a bike ride along the excellent Lakeshore Bikepath to the city centre.

The Admiral's first desire upon arrival in Chicago was to ride the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier; this is a view from the top.

The Admiral’s first desire upon arrival in Chicago was to ride the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier; this is a view from the top.

The roof of the Cisteen Chapel? No, this is the mosaic tiles roof of the Tiffany Dome of Macy's Department store, where shopped and then lunched at the elegant but reasonably priced Walnut Room.

The roof of the Sistine Chapel? No, this is the mosaic tiled ceiling of the Tiffany Dome of Macy’s Department store, where we shopped and then lunched at the elegant but reasonably priced Walnut Room.

We were very lucky to arrive in time for the two day Chicago Air Show, which is held on the lakefront before thousands of spectators and many hundreds of boats - what a scene!!!

We were very lucky to arrive in time for the two day Chicago Air Show, which is held on the lakefront before thousands of spectators and many hundreds of boats; what a scene!!!

We were also fortunate to be joined by Dominic Linder, our website technical guru who was in Chicago on extended business.

We were also fortunate to be joined by Dominic Linder, our website technical guru who was in Chicago on extended business.

If you have an interest in architecture, Chicago is a feast for the eyes; not only does it have an incredible diversity of both historical and modern buildings, the river running through it provides excellent perspectives for viewing; this is a shot of the Wrigley Building.

If you have an interest in architecture, Chicago is a feast for the eyes; not only does it have an incredible diversity of both historical and modern buildings, the river running through it provides excellent perspectives for viewing; this is a shot of the Wrigley Building.

We had another memorable dining experience from the 95th floor of the Hancock Tower (with the (twin spires).....

We had another memorable dining experience from the restaurant on the 95th floor of the Hancock Tower (the black one with the (twin spires)…..

.....which provided excellent views of the surroundings....

…..which provided excellent views of the surroundings….

.....which provided excellent views of the surroundings....

…..and perhaps a touch of vertigo.

The House of Blues entrance, where we heard some great local R&B artists.

The House of Blues restaurant and stage, where we were entertained by some great local R&B artists.

Public parks and artwork abound in Chicago; one of the neatest pieces we have ever seen is 'The Bean', which is located in Millenium Park.

Public parks and artwork abound in Chicago; one of the neatest pieces we have ever seen is ‘The Bean’, which is located in Millennium Park.

Outdoor concert venues are free events are also prevalent; this is Pritzker Pavilion, one the most sophisticated venues of its kind in North America; we listened to opera with many thousands of other spectators one lovely evening.

Outdoor concert venues and free events are also prevalent; this is Pritzker Pavilion, one the most sophisticated venues of its kind in North America; on a lovely September evening we listened to opera here with many thousands of other spectators.

There are many excellent indoor venues too; the one we chose was the Museum of Science and Industry, where one could spend days; this is the pavilion for U505, the German submarine captured during WWII (got to hand it to the Americans- they are amongst the best at doing museums on a grand scale!).

There are many excellent indoor venues too; the one we chose was the Museum of Science and Industry, where one could spend days; this is the pavilion for U505, the German submarine captured during WWII; you’ve got to hand it to the Americans, they are among the best at doing museums on a grand scale!

A display of all different types of bicycle seats (as frequent bicycle riders, this very close to our hearts, as well as other parts of our anatomy); this was from an exhibit about the history and development of the bicycle.

A display of all different types of bicycle seats (as frequent bicycle riders, this very close to our hearts, as well as other parts of our anatomy); this was from an exhibit about the history and development of the bicycle.

Finally and reluctantly it was time to go; entering the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal, start of our journey down the Illinois to the Mississippi River.

Finally and reluctantly it was time to go; entering the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal, start of our journey down the Illinois to the Mississippi River…..

.....which included our much anticipated route through the centre of the city (and many, many low bridges).

…..which included our much anticipated route through the centre of the city (and many, many low bridges).

Farewell sweet home Chicago.....

Farewell sweet home Chicago (this big black sky scraper is the famous Sears Tower)…..

Coming up in the next installment will be lots of river travel – the Illinois, the Mississippi, the Ohio and the Cumberland, ending at our winter destination in the Kentucky lakes.

3 Responses to Sweet Home Chicago…..

  1. Charlotte Kerr

    What a great trip – I do so love reading your blog! (And you even travelled with our friends on √Član – they were on a mooring next to us in Boot Key Harbor three winters back! Such a small world.) The history and background you include is better than anything I remember from my history books. Doug and I spent the summer on Lake Champlain and are now back in Annapolis getting ready for our son’s wedding in mid October, and will be starting down the ICW end Oct, and staying in Marathon Marina for the winter – unfortunately we won’t be making the Bahamas crossing with the PDQ crowd in May as we must return return north. Have a wonderful journey down the Mississippi etc. We hope to make it to the Georgian Bay next summer and will be using your blog for ideas. Best to you both and fair winds, Charlotte and Doug, m/v Abbotsford III, currently moored Sherwood Forest Marina, Annapolis MD.

    • john-and-ria

      Hi Charlotte and Doug,

      It’s good to hear from you, and that you’re continuing to enjoy the blog. It sounds like you’ve had an excellent cruising season too.

      After a side trip up the Cumberland River to Nashville and back we’re just about to put His Idea on the hard at Green Turtle Bay Marina (Kentucky). We plan to go home for a few months and then return in February for our next leg to Florida and the Bahamas. Sorry to hear you won’t be with the group for the Exumas expedition, as it would be fun to have you join us.

      Georgian Bay will be a wonderful place to spend the summer. If you have the time, be sure to make it to the North Channel too. Please contact us if you have any questions about places we’ve been – we’d be happy to share information on good anchorages or whatever.

      We hope to meet up with you again one of these days. Our plan is to spend a couple of seasons in Florida and the Bahamas beyond 2014, so perhaps in Marathon or…..

      Till then, safe and happy cruising!

      John & Ria.

  2. Janice

    Hi John and Ria. Enjoying catching up on all your pictures. Chicago sure looks different than all of those winter pics you see when watching hockey! It looks like you are continuing to have a great time. Looking forward to hearing all about it John when you are back. Safe travels.

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