Emeryville Amy

This blog will be a combination of my favorite places in the Bay Area and abroad, memoirs, recipes, restaurant reviews and travel experiences.

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Location: Emeryville, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, United States

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Hello eveyone! This is my last email from the road. I hope you have enjoyed following along on my journy with me. I plan to continue writing from Emeryville.


I have had a wonderful time in Chicago. The only other time I was here was years ago when I popped over while I was attending a Willow Creek conference. That was in the middle of summer and I felt as if I was trying to swim through the air because it was so hot and humid. Now that I have had 4 days to explore the area in the cool autumn weather I see what an amazing city it is.

I went on a architectural boat tour that was incredibly interesting and informative. Since the city was completely destroyed in the fire in the early 1800's Chicago was virtually a blank slate for architects to redesign an entire city of breathtaking skyscrapers. It really feels as if the buildings were created with both beauty and function in mind. I was fascinated hearing the stories of how they were designed. The tops of many are captivating works of art. My camera got a good work out as I took picture after picture of the skyline and the individual buildings. Many are so tall that you have to either photograph them from a distance or get a wacky angle as you shoot straight up.

Fall was at its peak here about 2 weeks ago and so the trees were either golden or partially bare with yellow blanket of leaves beneath them. The fountains have all been drained for the winter and the boats taken in for storage. There was a bit of desolation in the air as the city was metamorphosing into the next season. Crews were out stringing up Christmas lights and setting up holiday displays in exchange for the Autumn/Halloween decorations. I caught the city in an in-between stage rather than at its best, but I too am in a transition time and it resonated well with me.

I loved walking through the trees in Grant Park at sunset and seeing the Chicago skyline reflected in the mirrored "jelly bean", a huge jelly bean shaped reflective sphere in Millennium Park. The city sparkled as it grew dark outside and the lights in the buildings glowed in the fading daylight. I had a few warm days and evenings before the stormy weather hit. Jo Ann, a college friend and roommate who lives and works in Chicago and with whom I am staying, met me downtown for dinner and then a show. We saw the 4 person musical, "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change!" in a small cabaret theater. It was really funny and good and not overly cynical.

I also walked the Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier (which had all but shut down during the weekdays for the season), and up and down State Street and all around Chicago. I went to the top of the Sears Tower and saw for miles in every direction (unlike my zero visibility experience at the Empire State Building in New York). Jo Ann and I went to the Planetarium after church on Sunday and came out to a deep red sunset. The day before we spent in Evanston near Northwestern University which is located right on the edge of Lake Michigan. We strolled along the lake shore until big fat raindrops drove us back to the car and eventually to a cafe where she caught up on some work and I on email and reading. The thunder and lightening convinced us that catching a movie was the way to go so we saw Steve Martin's movie "Shop Girl." For dinner we went to the Hot Plate Grill, a restaurant where you put ingredients together at a salad bar type buffet and then the chefs stir fry it on a big flattop grill. It was a very popular restaurant especially with the college crowd.

I spent a good portion of my last day sightseeing at the Art Institute of Chicago. It has amazing collections, rivaling those in Paris. Now that I have figured out how to not have my camera automatically flash when the light is low, I was able to take pictures in the museum. It was a Monday and relatively empty and I enjoyed taking my time looking at the art. I am glad that i finished up my Amtrak 2005 experience in this city. I feel invigorated and renewed and ready for the next chapter in my life.


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