Chicago, Part 2 – This City Was Made for Walkin’

In my last post, I just described raiding the rails in Chicago … something do to once (and hopefully not too much more). Today we’re getting off the train.

Without getting all gushy and lyrical, I love walking in big cities. And by big cities, I mean places like Chicago and Toronto, not necessarily Portland. Portland is a decent-sized city, but its downtown is fairly small: really it’s just a few square miles on one side of the Willamette River.

Chicago, on the other hand, knocks you on your ass with its grandeur. In my walk up Michigan Avenue, I walked by—in no particular order—the Wrigley Building, The Tribune Tower (fascinating and Gothic), the Corn Cob Towers (this explains more), over the Chicago River, past Donald Trump’s latest ego-creation, past the Art Institute of Chicago and their awesome lion statues. A couple nights later, I walked north a few blocks and saw the Water Tower, and Sears Tower. It’s an architectural treasure-trove (
see some pics). Portland just doesn’t compare this way.


One of the lions.


Tribune Tower

I reached my hotel just as snow flurries started dusting the city. Two hours later, when I went out for dinner, the flurries had become a full-fledged snowstorm, slanting into people’s faces (some carried umbrellas to keep it away), making people squint. As I walked and squinted, it occurred to me that ski goggles would have a practical application—they’d keep the snow out of your eyes, not to mention marking you as a kook (which might deter some of the panhandlers and hucksters).

I went out twice that night, early and late, and saw the progression of the storm. The bridge across the Chicago River was treacherously slick … I followed one woman who wore high-heel boots across the bridge, and she skittered her feet, leaving a trail in the snow like cross-country skis. I mentioned that to her, and she said she did it to keep from slipping.

Umbrellas, shuffle-steps … walking had changed from one kind of an adventure (sightseeing) to another (don’t fall).