Sunday, July 20, 2008

Chicago Odyssey

This is where my Chicago odyssey began. My first train ride. Our little station was somewhat of a disappointment. I thought it might be taller so we could board directly onto the train. Ha... just shows I have watched too many old movies.
When I got inside I almost expected a preacher to step out of the 'employees only' room and begin preaching but no such thing happened. Luckily our train was on time coming and going. It was a pleasant way to travel into the heart of Chicago. No fighting the traffic and I could gawk all I wanted.
I don't want to bore you with pictures of the corn and bean fields we passed through on our way to the big city. However I always think this first glimpse of the downtown area is always exciting.This wasn't exactly a pleasure trip. I spent most of my time in this building. The Merchandise Mart. I can't tell you how numb ones feet and legs can become from traipsing back and forth through the various show rooms. That isn't what I want to focus on.Chicago is one of the prettiest big cities I have been in a long time. This time of year they do their very best to put a rosy glow on this world of concrete and stone. I think every meridian, flower box built in the sidewalks and park had many many flowers and they all looked surprising beautiful. The shots of color were most appreciated by this gardener I can tell you. These are but a few of the plantings we admired. You couldn't hardly turn your head without seeing something beautiful blooming in this concrete jungle.

There was art every where. The only birds besides the pigeons I saw were these peacocks interplanted in some beds. They may have been Herons I am not quite sure. I couldn't find them in my bird field guide. There is other kind of art on the streets of Chicago. They seem to have a theme every year. This year were manikins that were dressed in recyled materials. This was my favorite one.

I just love the street artists that you encounter in big cities. Those of you that see them all the time probably don't get a kick out of seeing them as this 'tourist' did. I wasn't the only one admiring their work. I am always amazed at the energy the street musicians and other performers use to garner their tips.

This planting was outside our hotel. It was so well done. It even had a fountain running in it. We wondered whose job it was to keep all these plantings watered and groomed. We did see a truck with a big tank of what looked to be Miracle Grow or some such substance going around very early in the morning.
You can see from our hotel room that there are many planters dividing the roadways. OOps, did I inadvertantly show you Nordstroms? They were having an Anniversary Sale. Did I get to shop while in the city? Ummmm guilty as charged. tee hee....
I must say there was a little bit of wildlife there too. As we were walking along there was this beautiful caterpillar crawling up the side of a building. I wonder what kind of moth this is?? Does anyone know?
I have to say that Chicago this time of year is a great place to visit. I was truly impressed by all the lush plantings through out the city. It is beautiful and if you have time you can keep yourself occupied in the most fun ways. Oh, I couldn't forget to mention the restaurants... Yummmmm


  1. Thanks for the summertime tour. I went to Chicago last October and had a marvelous time. I too noticed all the street plantings. Did you also see the rooftop gardens, and did you get over to Lurie Garden or the Chicago Botanic Garden on this visit?

  2. Chicago looks great! I have no time when I visit Indiana and fly to the O'Hare Airport back to Puerto Rico. From the air look a beautiful city. I hope next year we could fly Indiana and Chicago. Thanks for the trip to the "Windy City".

  3. Lisa, it has been a long time since I took a train ride-but it is wonderful to just watch the country go by. Chicago can be a beautiful city in the summer-but oh, the winters! Glad you got to do a little sight seeing and see some 'gardens'. I am surprised you didn't see any sea gulls.

  4. Thanks for sharing your trip, Lisa. I've never been on a train nor have I ever visited Chicago. I agree that the inside of the train station looks a bit Spartan.

    Jennifer @ A Passion for Nature knows all about your caterpillar.

  5. I've been to Chicago once and it was in March. I honestly can say that I've never experienced THAT kind of cold as we walked to the Shedd Aquarium in my life. The wind was whipping through us, tears were streaming down my face and felt like they were freezing in the process. I am sure I would enjoy it so much more this time of year! Sounds like you had a wonderful time. :c)

  6. Pam, I didn't get to do a lot of touristy things. I didn't see any rooftop gardens. I did see lots of balcony flower boxes. I would like to see the Lurie Garden and the Chicago Botanic Garden some time.

    You are welcome Gabriel. You will have to stay around longer next visit to see more tourist attractions.

    Beckie, you are right. I did see a few gulls. I just didn't think about that when I was writing about the trip.

    Hi Marvin. Thanks for the Caterpillar id. It was such a pretty bug.

    Jayne, you are right. The Windy City is a terror during winter. I have been there many times to bird along the Lake front. It is like a different world then.

  7. I'm another country girl who likes to visit "the Big City" every once in awhile. Thanks for the tour! I think it's great that most cities, including smaller ones, now recognize the need for some greenscape in their planning; it's certainly a welcome relief.

    The train station looks like something from another time period; how quaint! I don't think we have many left in central Illinois.

    Did you pick your hotel so that you would be right across the street from Nordstrom's??:)

  8. I have not yet been to Chicago but look forward to my first trip sometime in the future. I hear it is a lovely city with much to do and great plantings as your pictures show! Thanks for taking us along and I hope your feet have recuperated.

  9. Lisa, thanks for those Chicago memories-been quite awhile since I was there. Great photos!

  10. I live less than 100-miles from Chicago and haven't been there more than twice in 10-years. Your post made me want to take the train there and do some shopping, eating and site seeing.

  11. I'm going to Chicago in August. It's my favorite city to visit...even in the winter! We love it and have had several long weekends. Your shot of the city from the train sure does showcase the flat prairie aspect of Illinois! It's a beautiful photo.

  12. Hi glad you enjoyed your trip....I love your little station and the different from ours, I suspose that's what it is. Chicago is beautiful and the planting makes it looks so green. If only all the big cities of the world would do this, it would be wonderful.

    What a lovely caterpillar, never seen one like it.....

  13. gosh! I love that peacock! and the artist sculpture... very fun! thanks for the taking us along on your tour.. no idea about the caterpillar.

  14. Now Rose you don't think I would pick a hotel right across the street from a Shopping Mall now would you?? tee hee... Actually my boss did the hotel resves. I just benefited from it.

    That little train station was in Effingham, IL. We had to drive there to get on the train. It is our closest terminal. It takes and hour and a half to get there from here.

    I am glad you all enjoyed the fun part of my trip.

  15. Lisa I love your little quaint train station! Here we have the huge cosmopolitan type with crowds galore and noise and confusion...your wee station..a breath of fresh air! ahh!
    I have been to Chicago! Love the bird sculpture and that soon to be butterfly or moth ....WOW!!
    Thank you for sharing ,,hugs aNNa xo

  16. I'm glad you enjoyed your Chicago trip. We having a pretty good summer, so you've been spared the most beastly of the summer weather. I love the Merchandise Mart. It's such a neat Art Deco building & then there's all the great home furnishing stuff inside. Major Daley asked me to thank you for the good P.R. & he wants you to send this post to the Olympic Committee. ;^D

  17. I am glad you liked my little tour NG.

    MrMcD, you can tell Mr Daley (is there really still a Daley in command?) that the people in the hotels, stores, restaurants etc were most accomodating too. Not that he doesn't already know that of course. tee hee...

  18. I can't believe I'm this close and have never been to Chicago. Maybe one day. Until I get to experience it myself, I'll just have to be satisfied with your lovely pictures.

    Glad you had a good time!

  19. I've been to Chicago once, about 8 years ago and I loved it. I'm wondering how they keep people from stealing those gazing balls in the planters?

  20. Hi Lisa, thanks for the trip to Chicago. It will help prepare us for the blogger's meet up next year. Looks like there is lots to see and do there, Nordstrom's took a nose dive when I left California. ;->

  21. Hi, Lisa! I LOVE Chicago. It is definitely one of my favorite cities in this great country of ours.

    That funky little caterpillar in the last shot is a White Tufted Tussock Moth. They pretty much look like something that came to earth on a spaceship. They become some drab moth that eats some tree...I forget exactly.

    Great post! I love riding trains - I'll bet you had a grand experience.

  22. Although I was born in Chicago and lived most of my life in various suburbs, seeing it as a tourist is one of my "someday" ambitions, Lisa - and you're fueling the fire with this cool post!

    Urbs in horto is the city's motto, translated as City in A Garden and it looks like Richie is working hard to make that happen. (I dare to call him Richie because we were at the same school for awhile, but he was several years ahead of me.)

    My kids didn't tell me about the mannequins! They look like fun - thanks for the tour!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  23. The street artists and artwork are really neat. Thanks for the Chicago tour, Lisa.

  24. Lisa, I'm glad you enjoyed your trip to my hometown. I just love Chicago. If DH said he wanted to move back to the city, I'd start packing right now.

    As for the weather, it's not much different where I live just south of the city - maybe not so windy, but I'd take the wind in stride - I'm used to it. It's a fair trade for everything else the city has to offer. Plus, two of my daughters live on the north side - my favorite part of the city.

  25. Robin you should make and opportunity to take your kids. Don't you have a daughter? They have a wonderful store all about the American Girl dolls. You can even see a play there.

    Phillip, I wondered about those gazing balls too. There were two planters with them in it right in front of our hotel. There were also two fountains. I didn't ask if they had to be replaced regularly. I like to think they are safe.

    I am glad you all enjoyed my trip to the Windy City. Thank you for all the comments.

  26. Dear Lisa,
    I have never been to Chicago!
    My sister loved the shopping there and my best friend loves the art!
    Now after reading your post, I think a train trip would be very fun and I bet I would enjoy Chicago!
    Glad you had fun and are back home safe and sound.

  27. Oh I love chicago, but never see it full of life and green--always there int eh winter. And I LOVE street performers--I can wathc them for hours, but my wife, after 10 seconds, is tugging on my arm like pit bull. Alas.

  28. It's the son, Richard M. Daley, who is mayor these days.

  29. What a terrific trip, Lisa! I'm going to be landing at O'Hare in late August on my way back from my first foray into your country, but there will only be time to do customs/change planes, unfortunately. I hope there are a few plants around the airport I might be able to see, though. Maybe next year I'll get to visit there...

  30. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Chicago! It's my favorite big city. Looks like you had a great time!

    We have those caterpillars here, too. I forget what moth it is that they become, but I know it looks nothing like the flamboyant thing it is now!

  31. Thank you for the tour of a city I most likely will never get to visit. I loved your choices - especially the street artists. I love that kind of stuff. Wonderful posting.


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