Tall Ships, Hard Candy, and a Skunky Aroma

That pretty much describes our long Labor Day weekend visit to Chicago
(pics to come). Diane’s has a cousin there who’s been inviting us to
visit for a couple of years, and we were finally able to make it happen
this past weekend. She lives two blocks from the
Museum of Science and Industry, so
we were pretty sure we’d see that museum, but other than that, we did
very little pre-planning.

By happy coincidence, AT&T Tall Ships Chicago was scheduled for the
weekend; we didn’t know about it until we were en route to Chicago, but
we quickly changed our lack of plans to include at least one trip to
Navy Pier to see the ships.


Saturday, we slept late, but eventually caught the bus downtown to the
Field Museum and visited
Sue, as well as
seeing Underground
(which charges an additional fee — I don’t think it’s
worth it) and part of “Inside Ancient Egypt”, plus bits and pieces of
other exhibits we passed along the way. I particularly enjoyed
Anthropology: CITY 2000
, photos of Chicago In The Year 2000 from an
anthropological viewpoint.

They eventually threw us out of the museum and we found the Metra
station to take the train back down to Hyde Park. I bought three
tickets, but when we got on the train, the conductor told me that I only
needed two, because Jeffrey was free. I wish I’d known that when I was
fighting with the ticket machine to get it to take the last couple of
dollar bills.

Later that evening, we walked to a nearby supermarket, where, among
other things, I discovered the motherlode of hard candy; in addition to
the expected Brach’s Pick-a-Mix, they had Daintee (from England) and
Peerless (a local Chicago
brand). I ignored the Brach’s and bought a small amount of the other
two — good stuff!


On Sunday, we used that left-over Metra ticket to go back downtown; this
time, we had to run to get to the station for the 10:40am train. I
still had to fight with the machine, and Jeffrey had to go under the
turnstile (it wouldn’t work without a ticket, and we already knew he
didn’t need a ticket!), but we made it, and met Diane’s younger cousin,
Dori, who was on her way to work at the
Terra Museum of American Art.
She helped us find a CTA station so we could buy a mag-stripe bus ticket
so that we wouldn’t need to have exact change for the rest of our rides
on buses or the L; then she went to work, and we got on a bus to Navy
Pier to see the Tall Ships.

The lines were long, the sun was hot, but it was worth it. We got to
visit three of the ships (the True North, the Highlander, and the
Tecumseh) before we ran out of energy and decided to head back to the
train. Unfortunately, the only really good picture of a ship I got was of the Windy, which wasn’t actually part of Tall Ships Chicago — she is actually based at Navy Pier and takes people out for harbor cruises.

We decided to walk back to the station (so much for being out of energy)
using my trusty GPS as a guide (we probably could have made it without
the GPS — the route only required one turn). We emerged onto Michigan
Avenue after a few minutes, and started looking around at the buildings
— and suddenly, we saw Dori on her way back to the train, too. So we
joined forces and headed back.

[More to come; I would have put up a picture or two, but I’m not having
much success editing them on this machine. I have two more computers to
try, but not tonight. But before it’s too late, I do want to say one more thing: Happy Birthday, Al!]


On Monday, we started the day with a trip back to Navy Pier to see the Tall Ships again — but the lines were longer than the day before. I guess the fact that it was Labor Day and the AFL-CIO was having an event for union members and their families might have accounted for some of the additional people there. We spent an hour on line for the Fair Jeanne; after seeing that ship, we decided, regretfully, that we’d skip the Picton Castle and the Nina, in favor of lunch.

We hiked up to Water Tower Place for lunch — they have an interesting arrangement there called Foodland, where there are about a dozen restaurants sharing one set of cash registers. You get a mag card on your way in, and whenever you order something, it gets noted on the card. On your way out, the card is read by the cashier and you pay the total. This makes it easy to pick and choose things from the different restaurants — on the other hand, it makes it hard to keep track of your spending! But the food was good (much better than standard mall food courts) and well worth the price.

Water Tower Place also has a Marshall Field’s, and we took advantage of that to buy some Frangos (wonderful mint chocolates, though they’ve extended the line to other flavors, too).

Then back down to Hyde Park, where we finally visited the Museum of Science and Industry until closing time, then back to the apartment for a Chicago deep-dish pizza (I almost wrote “Chicago-style”, but for a change, it was the real thing!). And another trip to the supermarket for a big bag full of hard candy — Peerless makes good stuff!


Tuesday, it was back to the Museum of Science and Industry to see the U-505 — a German U-boat which was captured during WWII and brought to Chicago about 10 years later. I am very glad that my career path never had anything to do with submarines.

And then home — as usual, the flight was about half-an-hour late, but we were still home before 7pm. United has started giving away free headphones in coach — I wish the movie had been worth seeing.

Something had preceeded us, though. A skunk had decided to get scared in our yard, and the evidence was quite noticable throughout the house. Fortunately, we have an exhaust fan, which made a good dent in the odor quickly.

Wine of the Trip

Bonny Doon Winery’s Pacific Rim Dry Riesling. Very refreshing, and a nice accompaniment to the pizza.