Monday, April 2, 2012

Chicago: Tiptoe through the Tulips

The rest of my time in Chicago got really really really super busy. Aka why I had to wake up at 6:45am this morning. I wasn’t happy about it but in order to get in the hour workout that I wanted and shower, pack and get my butt downstairs to meet family for breakfast it was an early workout or nothing. Mrs. Painter woke up with me and although I did grumble QUITE a bit I was proud of myself AGAIN for getting making the time to work out. It felt good to get it out of the way so the rest of the day I could spend in play.


My mother-in-law had heard from a friend that we just had to try “Orange without a Peel” for breakfast. There was one nicely located within walking distance. Score an hour long workout this morning and a good half hour walk to the restaurant. I got lost a few times dragging behind the group on the way there and the way back taking photos. I simply cannot help myself when I am somewhere new, everything catches my eye and I am like a little kid filled with wonder and happiness. Thanks to both Mom and Mrs. Painter for keeping an eye out for me.


We got to the restaurant and I loved everything about it. It had a cute trendy kitchy feel to the place with orange and lemon colored antique accents. It was fresh and fun and I was STARVING!


Quite a few of us were able to come to breakfast, the stragglers that were still in town, most of whom were leaving today. It wasn’t super busy when we arrived but then I blinked and all the tables were sat. In the time we sat down and ordered the whole restaurant filled up. With only one waitress it was a NIGHTMARE, in fact the poor girl was RUNNING everywhere trying to take care of everything. After a while when a wait started to form she put up the closed sign... I don’t blame her.


Unfortunately the chaos combined with the size of our group resulted in a forty minute wait for our breakfast to come out of the kitchen. I was annoyed mostly because I was so super hungry. With the early morning wake up, the exercise, the showering, the packing and the half hour walk to the restaurant I wasn’t in any mood to be patient for my breakfast. I usually eat breakfast within a half hour of waking up not a good three hours later. I didn’t want to be rude, you could see that the poor girl was swamped, but I was NEVER HAPPIER in the moment that she brought our meal to the table. And boy oh boy that food did not disappoint... it was INCREDIBLE.

I ordered my usual omelette with a side of fruit but everyone else ordered one of the specialties. There was a Pancake sampler, Chi Tea Latte Stuffed French Toast and orange flavored French toast. I enjoyed my little tastes of everyone else’s food and then settled in to eat my healthier option. I was happy that I didn’t cave and order the Chi Tea Latte French Toast; it was a close call, a close evil sirens call.


After our longer than anticipated brunch we headed back to the hotel for our bags and to say goodbye. Mrs. Painter and I along with mom and dad headed over to the brides house. The bride had taken off on her honey moon however before she left she asked Mrs. Painter and I to hang out with Chester her more than adorable cat. It was an ‘I will scratch your back, you can scratch mine’ kind of arrangement. We got a free place to stay and she got company for her little furry baby.


Her apartment also just happened to be in a really cool part of Chicago, close to downtown, within walking distance to the famous Lincoln park and generally perfect for Mrs. Painter and I! Did I mention that the bride is ADORABLE and left us directions, sticky notes and lots of yummy wine. LOVE HER!!


Since mom and dad had a good three hours before they had to get to the airport we decided to take a walk to Lincoln park. Her neighborhood was so sweet. It spring so all the flowers were in bloom and everyone and their mother had either a cherry tree or a tulip patch. The riot of colors and the gentle kisses of the sun made me so happy. I kept taking photos singing ‘Tiptoe through the tulips’ in my head.


There is a ton of older unique architecture in Chicago. It reminds me of a cleaner smaller New York with a little bit of Paris sprinkled on top. I fell in love with the old brick faces, the sunlight and the beautiful ivy.


We walked by cows on roofs, statues in parks, a greenhouse shining in the distance, street performers and other pedestrians. We didn’t really have a destination other than walking toward the park. It was fun to simply enjoy the city and the beauty of the day. And of course take a bunch of photos; me clicking away, trying my best to keep up and not be too annoying, as the rest rambled along.


When we got to the Lincoln Park we decided to take a peek at the Lincoln Park Zoo, it was after all free and we had about an hour and a half left before the parents had to take off. Anyone who knows me KNOWS I ADORE THE ZOO. I was a little sad because I didn’t bring my bigger lens, without the longer range zoom I was limited in the photos I could take of the animals, however on the other hand I was able to concentrate on different types of photos. Normally I go in for the extreme close ups; an elephants eyelashes, or the curve of a zebras nose. Without my big lens I got full body photos of the animals and their environment.


Of course when I could manage it I did get a few close-ups. This chimpanzee in particular had his back pressed to the glass. I am always drawn to the monkeys, especially their hands. They are so human and I can feel the connection with them. Zoos are so bittersweet. I love them because we get to be with animals we normally wouldn’t see however the monkeys... they always make me sad.


I just see too much human expression and personality in monkeys and I can’t help but think how I would feel locked in a cage, day after day.


Most of the big cats in the Lion house were surprisingly awake and active. It was fun to read the different signs learning about the animals, their spots, how to tell the difference between the cats.


Mrs. Painter fell in love with the zebra, mostly because her daughter is obsessed with all things zebra print right now. The zoo wasn’t large, there were not a ton of different animals but I was impressed at its size for a free zoo. I could imagine myself coming here often if I lived as close as the bride does. A quick ten minute walk... I would be here all the time.


Soon it was time to find the exit. Mr. Rogue’s parents had to sadly leave to catch their flight. Mrs. Painter and I walked them back to the apartment so they could get their luggage and we said goodbye.


Mrs. Painter and I had plans later that night to meet up with one of the cousins at a Jazz bar downtown but we still had three hours. We could have taken a nap at the apartment, we were after all tired from our early morning wake-up, however we decided that we were in CHICAGO... we don’t have time to sleep there is so much to do! We took off on a walk toward the lake.


It was chilly, but we made it to the lake and had a fantastic view of the city. We sat for a while on a bench and just talked and rested our little feet. After hours of walking we needed a break. We didn’t stay long... that wind coming off the lake was FREEZING and we were not dressed warm enough for an extended stay.


We walked back through the park to a major roadway so we could hail a cab to downtown. We still had a good hour before we had to be at the Jazz club but just around the corner from the club was something interesting I wanted to see.


The something interesting was the Tribune Tower, something that I found during the research I did before coming to the city. Home to the newspaper the Chicago Tribune the building was built as part of an international competition. They were asking people to ‘design the most beautiful building in the world’.


The winner was a neo-Gothic design by New York architects John Howells and Raymond hood. The buttresses, statues and carvings make this building one of the Chicago Landmarks.


Of course it was an interesting architectural building but I was more interested in the stones. The reporters of the Chicago Tribune brought back rocks and bricks from tons of historically amazing sights from around the world. Many of the stones were put into the lowest levels of the building. Stones had political or social meaning and there are 136 fragments with a piece of steel recovered from the World Trade Center as the last piece added.



Standing next to the wall, gazing up all the parts of history sunk into the cement I was awed. It’s such a fun idea, such a collection of greatness. After walking all the way around the building and snapping photos of some of the fragments that caught my eye I felt overwhelmed.


After exploring the tower we had about a half hour. We slowly starting making our way toward the Jazz club and the sun was sinking. It’s my favorite time to take photos; the highlights on the buildings were beautiful.





And of course it was fun to swing by and say hi to the 26 foot tall sculpture of Marilyn Monroe on the Magnificent Mile.


We said goodnight to the city as the sun sunk low. It was time for some JAZZ!!!



Jennifer Arens said...

That sounds like a great day, minus the early wake-up call :) Beautiful shots, of course!

paul peggy zeus said...

Love Chicago! Those monkeys at the zoo looked really weird, but breakfast looked amazing!! Good Choice Mrs. Faith!

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