Day 7: October 5, 2015--Chicago, IL, to Boston, MA

Don't miss today's Gallery!

We left Chicago at 9:30 Monday night, Oct. 5; changed trains at Albany (Rensselaer)
around 3:00 PM Tuesday; and reached Boston at 8:00 that evening.

A great day around Chicago: first, breakfast and lunch with our dear friend (and my Best Man) Alan Rosenfield, who put us up at the University Club last night; then visits to two world-class museums, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum of Natural History; and finally, jumping on another overnight train, this one bound for Boston.

After an all-too-short sleep, we left a bed that was like sleeping on a cloud, packed up, and headed down to meet Alan. We had seen him many times in China, where we met and where we were married (well, Hong Kong), but this would be the first time to meet him on our home soil. Too bad we couldn't have met his wife last night (due to train delay--see the sad story in yesterday's post).

The University Club has some pretty high standards. Most surprising was the dress code, which prescribes "Business" or "Business Casual" on weekdays; while "Casual" may be permitted on weekends, on weekdays it may only be worn "for accessing the Club's Athletic Facilities or bedrooms." Note that "'Smart casual' dress [including jeans] is allowed for traversing the Lobby, and up and down the front elevators.... Loitering in the Lobby in 'smart casual' attire is not allowed." Believe me, I scooted across that dang lobby in my jeans on that Monday morning!

Other rules limit the areas where cell phones may be used (yay!) and the use of laptops, tablets, and other such devices in public areas; prohibit gratuities; and prohibit photography inside the building. The whole list can be read here.

Toddling around Downtown Chicago

Alan took us a block up N. Michigan to a Panera Bread shop for breakfast, then another block up to the amazing Chicago Cultural Center. Built as the opulent City Library in 1897, it was meant to show that Chicago had arrived.

And had it ever! The building was constructed of "the most sumptuous materials, such as rare imported marbles, polished brass, fine hardwoods, and mosaics of Favrile glass, mother-of-pearl and colored stone, to create an architectural showplace." It also features "the world’s largest stained glass Tiffany dome."

After the Library collection was moved to another location, the building was given over in 1991 to use as "the nation's first and most comprehensive free municipal cultural venue." It. Was. Awesome.

See some pictures in today's Gallery.

Reluctantly leaving the site--vibrant even on a Monday morning--we crossed the street to take in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the Cloud Gate sculpture, and other sights in Millennium Park on our way to...

Us, cleverly selfied in the Cloud Gate. See the whole thing in today's Gallery.

The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is located kitty-corner from the University Club, toward the harbor on Lake Michigan. Incidentally, the intersection in front of the entrance is the starting point of the old Route 66, which passes through Albuquerque, and on which we stayed in our first hotel of the trip, in Williams, AZ.

Alan is a member, so we were admitted for free (my favorite price), but it would have been well-worth the $25.00 General Admission (less for Illinois residents, and still less for Chicagoans).

I'll let the Gallery tell most of the story, but here's another touch of serendipity: There was a temporary exhibition of art related to Lord Krishna. Lila was ecstatic. (We recalled that Alan had once given her a statue of Lord Krishna as the Butter Thief, so we knew that he knew how much she'd love this.)

A pretty happy girl!

Again, I'll let the Gallery tell the rest of this part of the day. But after lunch in the Institute's cafeteria, we said goodbye to Alan. It was a workday for him, after all!

Obligatory selfie-at-a-table with our friend, host, and Best Man Alan.

And so we caught a bus and headed on our own toward the "Museum Campus" and...

The Field Museum of Natural History

I love art museums. I truly do. Growing up near the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA, I regularly visited one of Gilbert Stuart's portraits of George Washington, the sculptures of Houdon, and of course Pinky and the Blue Boy (who were not, sadly, a couple).

But my favorite sort of museum is one that contains dinosaur skeletons, cultural relics, stuffed birds and mammals, mummies (who doesn't love mummies?), and all the things you'll find in a Museum of Natural History.

And this one, founded with a donation from department store magnate Marshall Field in 1893, for the purpose of the "accumulation and dissemination of knowledge, and the preservation and exhibition of artifacts illustrating art, archaeology, science and history," is one of the largest in the world.

Again, I'll let the Gallery do the talking.

And Beyond...

We left the Field at closing time and--though we knew they would also be closed--decided to walk out in the decreasing light to see exteriors of the Adler Planetarium (America's first) and (from afar) the Shedd Aquarium. We agreed that, if we were lucky enough to live in a city like Chicago, we would be spending a lot of time in places like that.

A bus back to the Club, a short walk to Union Station (where we had a modest dinner), and a wait for our 9:30 PM departure toward Boston. This time, all went as planned.

Don't miss today's Gallery!

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