Chicago 2020:
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Sunday, September 6, 2020: We awoke to a dreary day. Knowing our amazing weather luck, how would this play out for our benefit? Stand by.
We got slightly rained on as we walked to our parking lot.
The city was relatively quiet on this Sunday morning, ...
... but there was evidence of rioting from the previous weekend, ...
... and there were police cars parked in front of the local Best Buy ...
... and other businesses.
We arrived at the McDonald's Global Menu Restaurant around 9:00 AM.
We were here for the international items on their menu, and we were not disappointed.
The menu noted where global items were from, including Australian coffee drinks.
A laminated sheet off to the side meant for staff eyes only noted that this was Rotation 12, starting in August 2020. Each rotation lasts for about eight weeks, so clearly, we will need to go to Chicago every other month for the rest of our lives. This part of the sheet described the new items on rotation.
We ordered every international thing that we could, with the exception of some of the bakery items that were temporarily unavailable. While we waited for our food, we got photos of the empty, closed-off dining area.
One wall has a world map with light-up Golden Arches supposedly noting the countries whose foods were currently being offered. The countries featured this time were: Canada, Great Britain, Spain, France, Germany, Finland, India, and the Phillippines. We don't know why Russia and Singapore were lit up but Scandinavia, Germany, and the Phillippines weren't. Geography challenges, perhaps?
The McDonald's app served up the available options at this location, so here are screen shots for them. The Veggie Muffin from India consists of a vegetarian patty made of spinach and corn on a muffin with a slice of cheese.
The McPops from Spain are filled donut holes that come in both white chocolate cream and hazelnut chocolate flavors, and in sizes ranging from four to a dozen.
Bakery options from Canada, United Kingdom, and Germany included donuts, cookies, and muffins.
We took our haul back to our van to photograph and consume.
Here's the Veggie Muffin, which we both really enjoyed.
This is the Mixed Berry Muffin from the UK, ...
... and this is the Banana Bread Muffin from Germany. It has a salted caramel filling. Both were saved for breakfast the next day.
We got the McPops assortment and immediately dug in.
Here is the hazelnut chocolate filling (can we just call it Nutella already?) ...
... and here is the white chocolate cream filling. These were both absolutely delicious. Perhaps we can get Spain to share these with the world someday.
While we ate, we drove south. We passed the Museum of Science and Industry, which remains on our list of places to visit.
At 9:45 AM, we arrived at the Robie House in Hyde Park.
We had 11:00 AM tickets, but once again, asked if we could get on the earlier tour, and once again, a late walk-up ended up using our later tour slot.
While we waited for the tour to begin, we looked around the gift shop. Debbie had already read "Loving Frank" (partially shown on the left) and took this picture of "Death in a Prairie House" to decide later if she wanted to read it. This point is important later in our story.
Here's a tiny version of the sculpture we had seen the day before at Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio.
Our tour started at 10:00 AM outside the home.
We admired the design on the entry gate ...
... which matched the colorful window design throughout the house.
We kept dry under the overhanging roof, ...
... but were able to see the FLW downspouts in action.
Each one dripped from the roof above ...
... to a drain waiting right below it.
Since it had been raining, our tour guide took us on the special rain route around the side of the house, ...
... so we got to see this side yard up close, ...
... along with its downspouts.
The 11:00 tour only saw this area from the other side of the wall, so once again, weather was on our side. Better yet, the rain had actually stopped when our tour began.
While in this area, we learned that the Charles M. Harper Center across the street had been designed with features like cantilevered spaces and continuous bands of windows as an homage to Frank Lloyd Wright and the Robie House.
Of course, there was a gingko tree here too.
From the side yard, we climbed a few stairs to get to this cool patio. The bluish glass bricks let in light to the room below.
This area had rain downspouts, ...
... beautiful gutters (two words never before seen together), ...
... and built-in planters, currently unused.
From here, we went down the stairs to ...
... the official entrance of the home.
Here is the first room you enter as you come in the front door (just barely visible on the left).
A sharp right turn from the front door leads you to this large room. Outside the windows on the left is the side yard we got to see because it was raining.
This large fireplace was at the other end of the room.
The light fixtures were very cool, of course, and threw interesting shadows on the wall and ceiling.
A small hallway just around the corner contained floor-to-ceiling windows - the same ones we had seen in the side yard behind the rain spouts.
We went back into the entry area to head up the stairs ...
... to the second floor.
At the top of the stairs, we turned left and passed a gorgeous built-in glass bookcase lining one wall.
We headed into the living room. Like our FLW Home and Studio tour the day before, red mouse pads were placed on the floor of each room to guide visitors to standing locations that were safely spaced apart from each other and our guide.
Look at that beautiful detail. Just outside is the patio we had stood on a few minutes earlier.
Tom admired the wooden grates ...
... which covered lights in the ceiling.
Lovely round globes in square sconces were also placed every few feet for light. A sunken fireplace was located at the end of the room, with twin chimneys on either side of it which left the space above it open to the adjacent dining room.
The dining room was absolutely stunning.
Electric lights were built into the dining table on all four corners.
There was a built-in sideboard adjacent to the stairwell.
Before we headed upstairs, we got a quick photo of a bathroom down the hall.
Up we went to the third floor, ...
... where there was a small child safety gate at the top, ...
... and another bathroom down the hall.
This is the Robies' bedroom, lined with more of the signature Robie House stained glass windows. That back corner ...
... has a wooden radiator cover and built-in drawers, ...
... facing the dressing area, ...
... with wardrobes and more built-in drawers.
The room has a vaulted ceiling
The bedroom has three pieces of vintage FLW furniture on display, ...
... and of course, there's a fireplace in the room. There's a tiny nook on the right in this photo, ...
... that contains a small attic access and a safe in the wall.
Here's a closer look at the tiny safe, described as the place where "Mr. Robie stored his wife's jewelry," because of course it is the man who stores the woman's valuables.
Here is the Robies' bathroom.
Check out that bizarre shower cage.
Here's another room, ...
... and another.
We were about to get really familiar with this type of light switch when we checked into the Emil Bach House two days later but nothing would match this panel for number of switches.
We headed down to the lower level, ...
... past this incredible coat closet with a million coat hooks.
Here's the last room on the tour. It features beautiful glass-inset doors, a standard FLW fireplace, built-in bench, ...
... and a lovely little alcove.
As we returned to the carriage house-turned-gift shop, we each got a chance to peek at the external stairs that lead to the servants' entrance.
We headed back to the gift shop to do some shopping. We saw this Emil Bach House mug and wondered if we would be receiving a free one with our house rental two days later. (Spoiler: no, but we had the option to buy some.)
Instead, we left with a Tree of Life doormat, a pair of pink socks, and a couple of stickers.
Here's a little gingko leaf on the ground.
We got one last shot of the Robie House and we were off.
We found a nearby shopping area and went into Target to get some groceries. We got Lunchables, Pop Tarts, Pringles, Club crackers - all the good stuff.
We had hoped to drive along the lake and stop at a park to see Lake Michigan up close, ...
... but it didn't take long to figure out that every park was closed.
Thanks, helpful sign.
Note to selves: drive the Lake Michigan Circle Tour someday.
We passed McCormick Place, where we've both done corporate time in the past.
We got closer to downtown Chicago ...
... and got a peek at Soldier Field.
It was news to Debbie that they took the old one out and dropped a new, shiny one on top of it.
Straight ahead is Tom's favorite Chicago skyscraper: "that wavy building." It probably has a name. Maybe we'll look it up someday.
There's Navy Pier which we had planned to see in April. We didn't plan to visit on this trip but we ended up changing our mind the next day.
We drove under the cool BP Pedestrian Bridge designed by Frank Gehry.
A little later, we drove past this cool building. You've probably guessed by now that we weren't driving back to our hotel. Nope, we were heading to Global Menu McDonald's again for another round of international foods.
This time, we placed our order online ahead of time. We had to try the Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwich from Australia, ...
... and the Bacon and Blue (Bleu?) Cheese Chicken Salad from France. The Canadian side salad was currently unavailable, which wasn't a problem at all.
Oh, yeah, add some Taco Shaker Fries from Finland to our order too.
We'll take a Canadian Chocolate Chunk Cookie in the shape of a heart as well.
Unfortunately, we have limited stomach space so we couldn't order the Coffee McFlurry with Oreo from the Phillippines or the Caramel Top Sundae from Brazil.
We pulled into Parking Spot #4, noted that in the app, ...
... and waited a few minutes for our food to be made and delivered.
We found a parking spot further down the street and stopped there to eat our lunch and admire the unusual local architecture. Yes, those are horse statues on the roof of that apartment building.
We had to start with the Taco Shaker Fries from Finland. It started out as a normal order of French fries, but came with a bag containing ...
... the McShaker seasoning.
The back of the packet makes it absolutely clear that this is a food product from Finland.
We put half of the fries in the bag, poured in some seasoning, and shook it. This is the result. Our American jury both rated it "Eh."
On to the entrees. We didn't get a picture of the Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwich from Australia, but it didn't look much different than the chicken sandwiches on our local McDonald's menus. It consists of bacon, lettuce, white cheddar cheese, dry slaw mix, mayonnaise, and buffalo sauce on a toasted artisan bun. Tom was neutral on it.
The Bacon & Blue (Bleu) Cheese salad from France was absolutely amazing. It came with a warm roll and a choice of dressing on the side, defaulting to Caesar (which we chose).
The salad contained cranberries, tomatoes, bleu cheese crumbles, bacon, and a sliced crispy chicken breast. So delicious and so filling. We'll show you our bakery purchases later when we had enough room to eat them.
We passed this interesting building on our drive back to the hotel.
Tom's sharp eyes spotted the item of interest in this photo: ...
... a sign for Illinois's Historic Route 66.
We drove under the post office building again while Debbie wildly looked around for the hotel where she and her family had stayed in 1977. Later, with the full knowledge of the Internet available to her, she realized that it was the Holiday Inn 20 feet away to her right when she was taking this picture.
We passed the colorful "L" train in front of a colorful mural ...
... before parking in our equally colorful parking lot.
The great thing about dreary days during a pandemic is that it completely justifies spending a lazy day in your awesome hotel room with the one you love.
We had brought along binoculars so we used them to get extreme closeups of the Shedd Aquarium.
The Adler Planetarium was visible from our bathroom, ...
... but so was this giant spider who was spinning a web outside near the top of our bathroom window. He wasn't bothered by either the height or the wind, so he earned our respect.
When we finally had enough stomach space to eat more, we got out our latest bakery purchases. Look how cute that heart-shaped Chocolate Chunk Cookie from Canada is!
Here's the Maple Caramel Donut from Canada. We never did get the Canadian Sprinkles Donut but we should have, because this one was delicious.
We lazed around while interesting clouds filled our view on their way toward Lake Michigan.
Occasionally, the sun would peek through and light up nearly empty Grant Park.
A Chicago Police horse trailer passed by. We had seen officers on horseback the day before but didn't get a picture in time, so this was a nice reminder.
By late afternoon, it was fairly sunny out, ...
... but we had a pressing schedule inside that mostly consisted of playing another Scrabble tournament and eating Lunchables for dinner.
From our bathroom window, we got some nice closeups of Adler Planetarium ...
... and Shedd Aquarium. We still weren't tempted to visit because we had no interest in any more virus exposure than necessary. Museums can wait.
Around sundown, Chicago streetlights and buildings were starting to light up.
Like Saturday, our Scrabble tournament ended in a tie with three wins each.

Day 3 >

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