Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tall Ships in Chicago

The Tall Ships have arrived at Navy Pier.  Here they are, right outside my window!

(Click photos to enlarge)

Opening Day parade of the tall ships on Lake Michigan

Close up of one of the tall ships

Shooting off the cannon

Circling past Navy Pier and out onto the lake again...

...past the lighthouse.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Flowers in the City

Some people have this impression that the city is all concrete.  Maybe many cities are, but Chicago is known for its lakefront beaches and biking/jogging path (some 20 miles of it north to south) completely dedicated to the recreation of its citizens (no shipping, commercial industry), its parks, and its FLOWERS!  Mayor Daley has done a great job of beautifying the city and at one point (not sure if it is still true) Chicago was leading the pack in "green cities."  He started the green movement in Chicago by constructing a roof garden on city hall, encouraging other buildings to follow suit.

These are a sampling some of the flowering planters and landscaped areas around the city....

(Click photos to enlarge)

And these are just examples of planters around Streeterville, my neighborhood.  All along Michigan Avenue are center planters filled with seasonal foliage;  window boxes and planters hang from many buildings on many streets in the city;  the developing River Walk (a subject for a future post) displays gardens and plantings;  and rooftop gardens abound in our city.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Women Traveling Alone, Pt. III -- 7 Reasons to Go

Reposted from Solo Traveler
August 18, 2010 by Janice

A twitter friend, @ DSXmac, told me that she heard a woman say that all women should travel alone before they get married.

Interesting comment. While I don’t like the “should” word – it’s quite judgmental in my mind — going solo is a good idea for women (and men) at just about any stage of life. Whether you’ve never been married, are married with kids, divorced, widowed, partnered with an empty nest… here are some great reasons to travel solo.

7 Reasons to Go

1.  Discover yourself as you discover the world – before you get tied down, learn self-reliance, decision-making and how to organize your time.

2.  Do what you want to do when you want to do it.

3.  Have a last hurrah before you have children.

4.  Discover who you are when you’re not responsible for children or a partner

5.  Take a break from endless daily responsibilities and come back refreshed.

6.  Build confidence after a divorce or loss.

7.  Eat dessert first – do anything you want to do without being judged.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Little Secret

If you, like me, aren't a bent-like-a-pretzel-over-the-handlebars, ride-as-fast-as-you-can cyclist and like to leisurely bike, looking at people and places, I'll share with you a little secret place of mine to bike:  Grant Park.  During the week, not the weekend.

Usually during the week, it's fairly empty and clear for biking back and forth and around and around.  I ride along the lakefront path (which can be actually dangerous with all the joggers and other bikers) past the yacht club and boats and cross over into Grant Park.  The city has newly paved around Buckingham Fountain, so it's nice to do a few rounds feeling the spray on your face, then if it's hot, stick to the heavily shaded paths.  I clocked 15 miles the other day just biking back and forth around the park and the strip of bike path between Museum Campus and Monroe Avenue!

Unfortunately, on this particular day, the city was setting up all over the park for the annual free Lollapalooza (free bands playing F-S-S and vendor tents galore) so in some parts I had to dodge workers and fencing and tent frames going up.  Ugh.  I hate Lollapalooza.  In my early years, I'm sure I would've been one of the teens or 20-somethings going to hear the music, drink and look for the opposite sex, but nowadays, I see it as just a huge crowd of noisy, drunken kids.  I'm officially o-l-d, I guess.

(Click photos to enlarge)
Clear and free paths around the park during the week (usually without the ugly event fencing, set up now for Lollapalooza)

Signage for Lollapalooza

With giant four-sided schedules of bands playing for the event

But still lots of open paths for biking

Just the occasional group of segway renters (and not the tent framing being put up that you see in this photo)

Buckingham Fountain with the landmark Hilton Hotel in the background

With the 200' center spray, a new tourist feature...

And "new" Chicago on the south side of the park

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rainy Day in the City

No biking the Pier this morning.

(Click to enlarge)

Monday, August 2, 2010

7AM Biking on the Pier

My city condo faces Navy Pier and Lake Michigan.  I never tire of the view.  Peaceful waters, sailboats, dinner cruise ships, motorboats.  The Ferris Wheel and amusement park rides.  Crowds on the Pier, Bubba Gump's, Harry Carrey's, the Beer Garden and the Shakespeare Theater.

And in the early morning, nothing but a few walkers, joggers, cyclists and delivery trucks.  Oh, and fishermen.

(Click photos to enlarge)
Backside of Pier, John Hancock building in background

Early fishermen

Planters all along the backside of Pier

The city as seen from the back of Navy Pier

Early walkers, joggers, cyclists on the Pier

Another view of the city from the Pier

Front side of Pier, my building in the distant middle

Shakespeare Theater, dinner cruise boats, my building in the distance

Further down the Pier, restaurants, Ferris Wheel, rides, bike rentals

City from the Pier, hot air balloon in center

Early morning on the lake