Chicago 2020:
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Monday, September 7, 2020: Good morning, Chicago! Debbie popped her head up long enough to get a photo of sunrise around 6:40 AM and then right back to sleep.
By 8:00 AM, it was time to get up and sample the muffins we had saved from our breakfast visit to McDonald's the day before. Here is a closer look at the Banana Bread Muffin from Germany.
As advertised (but completely forgotten about until now), it had a salted caramel filling. Tom ate the Mixed Berry Muffin from the UK.
Both were washed down with ice cold milk, because we had brought frozen milk along to help keep our cooler cold until ready to drink.
We headed out for the day shortly before 9:00 AM.
Originally, we planned on walking to the museums to our south, but realized that we could easily drive to them the next day, so instead, we should walk to Navy Pier to our north and make the most of the absolutely perfect weather.
We walked through Grant Park Formal Gardens, ...
... over the train tracks, ...
... past Congress Meridian Garden, ...
... to the completely empty plaza surrounding Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain. This was Labor Day, it was 72 degrees out, and not a cloud in the sky, yet this park was nearly deserted.
We later learned that all fountains were turned off due to Covid-19, but it took seeing several to realize that there was a pattern.
Let's get a closer look at those interesting sea serpent sculptures over there where the water should be.
Across the street, two sculptures were on temporary display at Queen's Landing.
We sat on the edge of Queen's Landing for a bit. That's Navy Pier in the distance to our left ...
... and Adler Planetarium in the distance to our right.
A Chicago Police boat cruised by us.
We walked along the waterfront, ...
... and walked, ...
... and walked.
When we ran out of waterfront, we crossed over a bridge, ...
... and walked some more.
Oooh, pretty building.
An hour after we started out, we were at the entrance to Navy Pier. It would be another half hour before we made it to the end.
Margaritaville Chicago had a giant Adirondack chair but the chair was closed for Covid-19.
Is that a McDonald's we spy over there on the left? They probably only have regular American menu items. Lame.
There's the famous Navy Pier Centennial Wheel. It would go unridden this trip.
The merry-go-round was also closed, ...
... but we could still admire the cool dragon on it.
We loved the design of these steps, ...
... and the view of the shoreline from the top of them.
There was a mirrored column that made us look much narrower than we actually are.
We popped over to the other side of the pier and found nothing but a view of the northern shoreline.
So we continued walking, past the Shakespeare Theater, ...
... and the Tall Ship Windy.
Ooooh! A horse statue! And it looks suspiciously like it is part of an art exhibit!
Yes, indeed. This was part of the Horses of Honor program in 2017. Maybe, if we're very lucky, we'll spot another one just as we're leaving town.
Riva Restaurant also had a giant Adirondack chair but it appeared to be open for business - the chair, that is, not the restaurant.
Oh, please let us be getting close to the end of this pier.
Yes, finally. We were here to see the Bob Newhart couch and statue.
Debbie took this opportunity to tell Bob all of her woes, all of which centered around how ridiculously far she had walked to get here. Side note: couch statues are extremely uncomfortable.
But hey, while we're here, let's look around. Here's a large, unused, spider-covered building.
A line of flags graced the very end of the pier.
This is the USS Chicago anchor. Arranged in front of it are large metal seals representing ...
... the Marine Corps, ...
... the Coast Guard, ...
... the Army ...
... the Air Force, ...
... the Merchant Marines, ...
... and of course, the Navy.
By now, Tom's head had been in the sun for over 90 minutes and Debbie's purse had failed us by not containing any sunscreen, so Tom finally gave in to Debbie's concerns and fashioned himself a little turban while we relaxed for a while in the beautiful weather.
We started the long walk back around 11:00 AM.
We found a gift kiosk and were going to buy Tom a hat, no matter what price. Tom found a display of Peoria Chiefs hats on sale for $2.95, but when he went to buy it, he was told that it was now only $1. Sold!
Go Chiefs!
Once we were off the Pier, we decided to head toward town instead of returning the way we had come. Here's a colorful sculpture.
We found this little stretch of water and thought we were on the river, but this was just the water equivalent of a dead end.
We continued south another block or two toward Tom's favorite wavy building.
We found the river next to the Centennial Plaza and Fountain. Of course, the fountain was completely dry and we were starting to suspect a pattern.
By now, we were hungry and tired, so we were happy to stop at Lizzie McNeill's Irish Pub. It's indoor dining area was closed so all of its seating was across the street, ...
... under the trees with a great view of the river. Sign us up!
We used the QR code to access the menus, starting with the beer menu first, ...
... because we were both invoking the Bundlings Helsinki Rule today. With weather like this, you've gotta stop and have a beer.
Tom's beer was Apex Predator from Off Color Brewing in Chicago.
We both ordered Italian beef sandwiches because it is Chicago, after all. Debbie passed on the giardiniera but Tom was happy to eat his. The jalapeƱo chips came back with us to be eaten another day.
A Chicago Architecture boat tour cruised by. Maybe next time.
After lunch, we wandered along the river walk.
The Sheraton Grand Chicago was one of several downtown hotels that had temporarily closed during the pandemic.
It's hard to see, but this building had the lights in its windows arranged in the shape of two large hearts, so it is probably a closed hotel too.
We passed the Chicago Loews Hotel, which is where we would have been staying in April for the 4D Summit if the pandemic hadn't shut everything down.
We continued on the River Walk toward the DuSable Bridge, which we'd be crossing later.
There's the Wrigley Building. If you look closely, you can see the skywalk connecting the two halves of the building.
And there's the Tribune Tower, which we were here to see.
We had heard that the Tribune Tower has interesting things embedded in its stonework, but when we got there, we were sad to see that it was all under renovation and inaccessible behind fencing. But that's not a problem, because our camera has a fantastic zoom lens. In this shot along, we were able to zoom in on ...
... tile from the Sydney Opera House ...
... and this detail from the Forbidden City in Peking (Beijing).
We could see that numerous artifacts were visible all along the construction so we moved around to collect everything we could find. Listed with each photo is the inscription that accompanies it on the wall.
Mosque of Suleiman the Magnificent - 1557, Istanbul, Turkey
World Trade Center - 2001, New York
Mount Pentelicus Quarry, Marble Used in Parthenon 447 B.C.
House in Leyden, Holland Used by the Pilgrims as a Church Before Their Voyage on the Mayflower to America
Reims Cathedral, Reims France
Hans Christian Andersen Home, Odense, Denmark (Note correction to the spelling of Andersen's name)
New Jersey, Washington's Landing After Crossing the Delaware River
Nebraska Chimney Rock
Fortress Walls, Cartagena, Columbia
Antarctica, U.S. Navy Expedition 1947
We went around the corner and saw lots more, but these were at an angle and are a little harder to see.
This little section along had eight, so here we go again.
Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Massachusetts Hall, Harvard University, Cambridge

Byron's Chillon, Chillon, Switzerland

Berlin Wall, Berlin, Germany
Great Wall, China
Hamlet's Castle, Elsinore, Denmark
We moved on and were temporarily entertained by the small birds who called this sculpture home.
What's this? A colorful statue? These statues were part of 25 Ducks on the Mag Mile. We later learned that they were scheduled to be on display through August 9, 2020, so it is great that they were still waiting for us in early September.
The sale of these sculptures would benefit Special Olympics Illinois.
When we looked up the street toward the DuSable Bridge, we spotted more ducks.
Quack, ...
... quack, ...
... quack!
We crossed the bridge with its mighty carvings on the side.
On the other side, casually placed in the sidewalk, is a sign noting the site of Fort Dearborn. So there's that.
We had been walking for approximately 100 years now, but we still had many city blocks ahead of us. We were now heading south on Michigan Avenue.
Oooh, this entrance to the Carbide and Carbon Building sure is grand. This building houses a hotel that costs many times per night what we were paying for our room.
We passed the Prudential Plaza with its carving of the Rock of Gibraltar on it.
That shiny metal thing is the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
We went into Millennium Park to see Cloud Gate, AKA "The Bean," only to find that it was gated off due to the pandemic.
So behold, the only photo you will ever see of the Bean without a million tourists underneath it, like it was the last time we were here in 2012.
Here's our reflection in it.
Each entrance into the park had tents where park authorities were making sure that everyone entering was wearing a mask and that all entrances and exits followed the correct direction.
There was a small demonstration near one of the entrances, ...
... and Chicago police officers were there with their bicycles.
We didn't dare get a picture until we were a little further down the street.
There was no water in the Crown Fountain reflecting pool, but the LED show was still going.
Here's the Art Institute of Chicago.
Tom's sharp eyes spotted the Route 66 sign again, ...
... but this time, it was the big one: THE VERY START of Historic US 66. We will be back. Oh, yes, we will. (We were!)
We encountered more reminders of the violence that had occurred the previous weekend.
This photo of a Lamborghini Aventador is for Tom.
These twin sculptures at either end of this photo are called The Bowman and the Spearman.
This is the Auditorium Building, built in 1889 by Adler and Sullivan Architects.
It has been designated both a Chicago Landmark and a National Historic Landmark.
However, our architectural tastes tend to run to the ultra-modern, such as the Spertus Building.
This is the Theodore Thomas Memorial, called "The Spirit of Music."
The Merle Reskin Theatre offered words of support on its marquee.
The Hilton Chicago, right across the street from our hotel, was another one of the big name hotels closed during the pandemic.
Speaking of hotels, here's the Hotel Essex, housed in the building that used to be the Essex Inn. We were on the sixth floor out of 15 total, in the center third of the building.
We often wondered if people on the street could see us if we used the toilet without the curtains closed. The answer is yes, sort of.
Here's the restaurant where we would get our takeout dinner from later on.
It was nearly 2:00 PM when we returned to our room, exhausted and ready to use the aforementioned bathroom.
Tom got out his phone and figured out how far we had walked: 5.8 miles. For two fairly sedentary people, this was quite unusual.
At dinnertime, we ordered burgers and fries, and enjoyed them while ...
... continuing the third straight day of Scrabble tournaments. This time, Tom was victorious, winning four games to two.

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