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I am an ardent blogger and a web enthusiast. My blogs include varied topics from the picturesque details of my travelogue to theology and worldly facts. My passions are reading English and Tamil classics, Management Topics, Playing Tennis and taking long walks. I live with my wife in Bangalore. Visit regularly my children in Michigan and Colorado to spend time with them and three grandsons. Please brief your opinions there in when you read my blog :- http://divinenotes.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Visiting the most famous 'Windy City' in the world !

I suppose you may be aware that Chicago, the largest city in Illinois and the third most populous city in US, carry a nick name the 'Windy City'. The origin for this name emerged when Chicago was rebuilt after the great Chicago Fire in 1871 when the streets were modeled on a grid system where the wind is sucked down the 'Skyline' along the columns and rows at an average speed of 10.30 mph,'Chicago loop' what it is known as, is dense and windy and stands as a man made tunnel.

We hired a Dodge vehicle to accommodate all of us for the journey. We left Canton MI in the afternoon of July 21, 2010 and our daughter Aparna was at the wheels. The journey was smooth and we reached Chicago in little less than 6 hours and parked the vehicle in the parking lot near Navy Pier.

We first made our decision to finish dinner as we feared a long ques in "Capi's" which is a tourists' choice for its Italian cuisines. It proved to be an unique dining experience for us.

Navy Pier is 3300 ft. long on the shore of Lake Michigan. It may cost anywhere near $90 million today. It was built in 1916 @ a cost of $4.5million.
We walked along the Navy Pier relaxing the sound of waves quietly lapping on the lake shore. We rode the splendor of the giant Ferry Wheel. Next we hopped into a merry go round and Vignesh and Karthik our grand sons enjoyed the wide & speeding swing. We were in time for the fire works. Navy Pier's award winning fire works light up the sky every Wednesday and Saturday at 9.30p.m - a stunning spectacle over Lake Michigan.

We returned to Comfort Inn where we were lodged. The Inn is an unit of Choice Hotel chain in US and known for the comfort it provides.

Next day morning we had a sumptuous buffet complimentary break fast in the Inn before taking the architecture cruises from Navy Pier- a sight seeing extravaganza in Shoreline boat. The cruiser highlight more than 40 of the city's architectural masterpieces including the world's iconic skyscraper 'Sears Tower' and the tallest building in US. Incidentally it had been renamed as Willis Tower in July 2009, houses 110 story and 1450ft high.



The next important assignment on the second day was the visit to Johnshedd Indoor Aquarium. The 80 year old unit exhibits and was for sometimes the largest with 25000 fish, 5,00,000 US gallons of water and has a record of 2 million annual visitors. The Shedd features marine mammals, Pacific white-sided dolphins, belugas, green sea turtle, birds, snakes, amphibians, insects, sea otters. The aquarium boasts for different exhibits like Amazon Rising, Caribbean Reef, Waters of the World, The Occeanarium and Wild Reef. The Amazon Rising recreates a flooded forest of its river and the surrounding jungle.

'Fantasea' is a multiple animal show at the Shedd Aquarium featuring Sea-Lions, Beluga Whales, Penguins, Hawks,& Dolphins. We enjoyed watching the show. We spent the entire afternoon in the Shedd. We then drove a long distance to call on one of our close relatives who had invited us for the dinner. By the time we returned to Comfort Inn, it was nearing 11p.m.

The next day, being the last lap, we scheduled to visit the Millennium Park which trails only Navy Pier as a Chicago tourist attraction. The principal signature of Millennium Park is Jay Pritzker Pavilion, a band shell. It hosts the Cloud Gate sculpture. It is dubbed by the Chicagoans as " THE BEAN" because of its shape. The piece which is widely popular is a highly polished reflective steel sculpture that is inspired by the liquid mercury. The Bean reflects and distorts the City's Skyline. We saw again and again our reflections in the cloud like surface of the Bean. The place is a popular center for photography.



We then moved to another spot namely the Crown Fountain. The fountain is composed of a black granite reflecting pool placed between a pair of transparent glass brick towers. LEDs are used behind the brick to display videos on their inward faces. Water sprouts from the mouth of the figures when stream of water cascades over the images.

We went all the way to Mysore Woodlands for lunch and enjoyed the Indian delicacies for a change. We also searched for the 'supari' and got it packed to eat it on the way. We said 'bye bye Chicago' and started our return journey at about 4p.m. There was heavy rains on the way all along and the road became icy and slippery with low visibility. Besides there was a considerable stretch where repair works were going on. Compliments to our daughter who managed well the situations and drove safely till we reached Canton and Ajay's home at 10.30p.m. The rains did not stop even then and was continuing.

A heavy and delicious dinner awaited us which our son and daughter in law had prepared with zeal and enthusiasm.

This is all for the present. The attach files figure salient snaps and descriptions in the essay and I suppose you will enjoy viewing them in the zoom.

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