25.05.2009 - 25.05.2009 69 °F
Room 312, Holiday Inn Express, Amarillo, TX
(By the way, it is possible to leave comments below. Feedback would be most welcome as I am not sure if this is falling on deaf ears - eyes? Thanks.)
These are called "Segways", Paul and a guy called Steve does lessons on them followed by a ride round the park.
Highlights of our 2nd free day in Chicago (which turned out to be cloudy with the odd shower) were:
1. The Chicago Institute of Art (again, one block away from our hotel, as were most things of interest), right on the edge of Millennium Park. It was fabulous. We'd queued to get in for 15 minutes, waiting for them to open, and were entertained by a black guy trying to sell the US equivalent of Big Issue, "Street Wise" with terrible jokes. But also, across the street, he pointed out something we'd missed. A plaque marking the very start of Route 66 on its long journey to Los Angeles, via Amarillo, incidentally!
We rushed to the back of the museum to get to the modern American Art assuming that's where most other people would be headed but, no, for quite a while we had this section to ourselves, the star of the show there being Nighthawks by Edward Hopper which we'd happened to see in New York on our last visit where it had been on loan.
By the time we emerged into the street blinking, we'd been overwhelmed by wall-fulls of paintings by O'Keefe, Velazquez, Caravaggio, El Greco, Titian, Renoir, Matisse, Constable, Turner, Monet, Manet, Rembrandt, Goya... stunning...... It was interesting that the crowds were buzzing round the Impressionists.
Off to find what used to be Chicago's top store, Marshall Fields now, sadly, a Macys. However, the very posh-looking restaurant must have been preserved from the earlier days.
We were served by a camply fragile and aged waiter with a pony tail who was totally barmy and managed to pour a full glass of iced water over a large lady sitting next to us. He was not in the slightest bit concerned. Someone then set off an alarm and another couple next to us stormed out because none of their choices from the menu were available.
We enjoyed our light lunch.
Bob leaves wearing glasses
Then back to the hotel for a rest, I thought. I was busy printing out our boarding cards for next day's flights when Bob appeared distressed. His brand new, "designer" glasses were nowhere to be found. The mystery remains. We cannot puzzle out what happened to them as there is photographic evidence of him leaving the restaurant with them on yet he arrived at the hotel room without them. We shall never know. We are now collecting reading glasses of various strengths as we travel around.
Later we tried out our route back to the airport (as far as a couple of stops). Many of the subways stations on the Blue Line, which goes all the way to O' Hare, have lifts down to the platform. Our nearest one was just a 5-minute luggage-tow away.
Unlike the subway, the lines of the "El" around The Loop are very confusing and getting back, we got rather disorientated. We got back to find the local restaurants closed early due to the holiday so we ended up eating "pulled pork" (they do do the most unlikely things with their meat) sandwiches in the hotel lobby. Actually it was not bad value.
And so to bed. Another excellent day in this most excellent of cities.
Our journey to Amarillo will be Blogged shortly.