The Windy City
I finally finished my course, and headed downtown to the heart of Chicago. The good news is that I am getting accustomed to travelling in this city, and the trip into “The Loop” was done without difficulty.
I am staying at a the Swissotel Chicago, which is on Wacker Drive right next to the Chicago River. I am on the 35th floor and the view is spectacular. The hotel building is quite unique; It is triangular and actually shaped like a giant Toblerone bar.
The view is spectacular.
My hotel is just three blocks away from Chicago’s Millennium Park. It was an easy walk over to the park; however it was windy and a little rainy at times, but it was worth the trip. The park, which stretches along Michigan Avenue here in the Loop, contains some interesting structures, modern art and a cool looking amphitheatre.
One of the structures is a reflecting sculpture which the locals call the “Bean.” It is a blob shaped shiny object. When you approach it you can see your distorted reflection in the surface. You see a lot of people just taking photos of themselves as they stand in front of the sculpture. When you are under the sculpture you can look up and see a kaleidoscope illusion as your image is reflected many times over. It is very cool.
Another feature is the “Crown Fountain.” The fountain features two 50-foot high glass block towers at each end of a plaza. The towers are activated with changing video images of people’s faces. The faces are images of thousands of Chicagoans. Water cascades over the towers and every five minutes the faces on the towers will purse their lips and spew water from their mouths. However, when I was there they faces were appearing, however the water portion of the fountain was not occurring as they were repairing the fountain. Maybe I should stop by there today and see if the water is turned on.
Here is a video I took of the Crown Fountain. If you look further at youtube.com you can see other videos that show the effect when the water is running.
The buildings in this area are remarkable. Around every corner is another cool sight. Surely I must look too much like a tourist as I walk through the Loop gawking upwards at the skyscrapers on every street corner. Last night, as the lights came on, the Chicago skyline was even more remarkable as each building seems to have a different personality after dark.
The People in the Loop
The people of Chicago are polite and relaxed. People seem to walk through the Loop at a casual pace, they occasionally will smile at you and make eye contact. So far, I can report that this is a friendly and interesting place to visit.
Here is a short video clip of the magnificent vista at East Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue here in the Loop.