Architecture and the blues

Trip Start May 27, 2011
Trip End Jul 12, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another good continental breakfast at Harbor House and then into the car to drive back to Chicago. Drove into Sagautak on Lake Kalamazoo. Pretty place on Lake Michigan. Thought we might get a look at their Oval Beach by climbing some stairs over the dunes. After 302 steps we were left with very sore calfs and disappointment. We 'set sail' for Chicago. More freeways, skyways and tollways until we got to Gold Coast B&B at 113 W Elm Street. Met by Sally, dropped our bags off and then had to drive a short distance to Hertz to drop the car off. Had to get petrol first. Took a while to find the petrol station we had seen on the way in and then the 5 min drive to Hertz on State Street. Unfortunately, with the one way streets and roadworks on State Street we ended up back on the freeway. Testing times but after a couple of circuits we got the car back. Did a walk out to Navy Pier, very hot day 96 degrees. Glenelg on a massive scale with Ferris wheel, amusements, Childrens Museum, theatres and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant. Walked backed along N Michigan to the B&B. Went up the John Hancock Building to the Signatures Lounge on the 96th floor for a cocktail and the view. Had a Sik Dik minus the melon liqueur; think it was a peach fuzz. The traffic was amazingly busy and there are traffic attendants on street corners directing traffic; and the noise of the emergency service vehicles. Got to a cool (temperature wise) pub called Dublins for tea. A tiring day with the walking in the sun.
Went on the Architecture Cruise at 11am. Another very hot day. The guide was an Australian women. A very informative 90 minute cruise explaining the design of many of Chicago's iconic buildings and some of the history. The change from timber, load bearing walls to the development of internal structures and skins of the skyscrapers precipitated by the fire of 1871 was described. The different architectural periods and schools was demonstrated with reference to the buildings and the architects. After the cruise we walked down to Millennium Park. A great place for families, saw a lot of kids splashing in the water by the two block fountains with a happy face on one and a sad face on the other. Thought we would try the L train (elevated train - think Blues Brothers and other Chicago based films). A 24hour pass cost $5.95. Headed out south for a bit then came back getting off to check where Buddy Guys Legends was for tonight's blues show. Caught the Red Line back to the B&B, only a short walk from the station and rested up for the night out. As we were about to leave for the GRAMMY Blues show Jenny told us that another couple were going so we caught the train together. The couple were from Luxembourg. Got to the club just before the opening at 6pm. Luckily for us the couple had bought a table for 4; I had only bought bar tickets, so we shared a table with them - a real bonus. There was some complimentary food and also quite a few items for sale by silent auction; Cheap Trick packages, Buddy Guy memorabilia, tickets to Ben Harper and books, Cds and signed posters. Music started at 7.30pm, MC'd by a local DJ. Each band/artist did three or so songs with quick changeovers; no lengthy sound-checks and the sound was great. Some Blues Hall of Famers played; we stayed for most of the acts which comprised Billy Branch, The Brooks Family Blues Dynasty, Cathy Richardson, Carlos Johnson, Chicago Stone Lightning Band, Deitra Farr, Matthew Skoller, Nellie “The Tiger” Travis, and Nick Miss and The Fliptops. A gentleman sitting next us introduced himself as John Ludwig, singer/songwriter - will need to check his website. A great night of music and we left at around 11 not lasting to the end. Easy train ride back, after Yvonne insisted on buying me a Buddy Guys Legends cap. Had been another hot day but the forecast was for storms and a dramatic drop in temperature.  We planned our departure for the airport in the morning to make an early start to catch two trains to the airport; still on our 24hr ticket compared to a $40 cab fare.
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