For the second week in a row, we were graced with an out-of-town visit, this time from Sonia. She wanted to see Chicago, Andrew always wants to see Chicago, and Soren hasn't been back there (not counting stop-overs at O'Hare) since we moved to Boston. So, it was time to check out the old haunts as well as to see how the city has changed in the past several years. Since we were entering from the south side of town, we stopped over in Hyde Park, where we saw the old apartments in the Grosvenor and Piccadilly buildings, ate some stuffed pizza at Giordano's (blessedly it was as good as remembered), and took a swing around the University of Chicago and the lake shore.

Zoe (mid-wink), Soren and Sonia near the lilipad pond at Zoe's alma mater. With guardian gargoyle in the background.


Sonia and Soren out on "The Point," with downtown Chicago to the north on a rather blustery afternoon.


After Hyde Park we made our way to downtown, where we stopped by the Field Museum. It's an enormous place, and we must have seen a good 3% of it during our two-hour visit. Thanks to Mom Clark for the Museum of Science pass, which also gives complimentary entry to partner museums nation- (and world-) wide, including the Field Museum. Afterwards we meandered around Grant Park, which was a little more challenging than usual due to fences put up in various spots for the Chicago Marathon, which was to take place the next day. In the park we stopped by Buckingham Fountain.


I'm not sure exactly what's going on here. Showing off our "broad shoulders?"

Ok, now we're a little more composed (especially Drew - no hair means no wind-blown hair).


Then it was across the Loop for the inevitable trip to the Sears tower. Pretty cool at dusk, actually. And still the tallest building in the world as far as I'm concerned, with a respectful "nya-nya-nee-boo-boo" to that fraud in Kuala Lampur.

So Andrew has previously displayed his cutting-edge camera skills. Now Soren shows off his avante-garde side with a view of the Building With The Big Blue Bulb Thing On Top Of It, from the top of the Tower (note that the BWTBBBTOTOI is nicely framed on the right by the Building That Really Isn't Interesting Architecturally, So They Decided To Paint it All Red).


Sonia was interested in getting a Chicago music experience, to that night Sonia and Andrew headed off to the famous Chicago blues club, Kingston Mines. After finding parking a good time was had by both, not least during the brief musical detour into a reggae version of Sweet Home Alabama, featuring the guitarist playing the instrument with his teeth. "Daaay-um."

Among other things, the next day featured a trip to Chicago's new Millenium Park. The park's got nice fountains, outdoor venues for the city's various summer music festivals, and this bean-shaped mirror-ific sculpture featured below.

Soren, at one end of the big, shimmering frijol. Drew (with camera) and Zoe are also in the picture.


The day, sadly, was not all shiny-happy fun. Soren suffered through the bitter disappointment of finding that Cereality was closed on Sundays. So his hopes for a dream lunch of Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch with strawberry milk were dashed. But he eventually recovered, particularly on the ride on the Brown Line "El." The elevated train runs through a number of interesting parts of town and provides a tremendous view of The Loop. We managed to get in the front of the front car, where only the driver's compartment is in front of you. Noting Soren's interest in looking out the front window of the train, the conductor opened the door to the front compartment where there were two seats waiting for Soren and Sonia. The view from the front of the El leaves you wondering at every moment what keeps the train from falling off the tracks, and continually grateful that it does not. Appropriately for a Sunday, it is, indeed, a religious experience.

Sonia and Soren, with the up-close-and personal view of Chicago from up above. Andrew gets stuck in second class. 








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