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Trip to Chicago

Chicago River

theatre
Welcome to Chicago!
lake
Chicago is located at Lake Michigan — one of the Great Five Lakes in the North of the US.
map-1
The lake is connected to the Atlantic Ocean via Niagara Falls.

Map by Uwe Dedering

chairs
Channels bypass the falls, so that ocean-going ships...
sunset
... can arrive at Chicago port.
boom
This is what made Chicago boom: boats would drop off settlers, and load crops and other goods from the Great Plains.
map-2
From Chicago, it is just a few kilometers to the water basin of the Mississippi. So people dug a canal that connects Lake Michigan to the Mississippi.

Map by Uwe Dedering

canal
This canal (shown here) thus connects the North Atlantic to the Mid West, and ultimately to the Gulf of Mexico.
river
The South Chicago River (shown here) usually flowed into Lake Michigan. Since it’s part of the canal, it now flows out of Lake Michigan.
hamata
The canal is called “Sanitary and Ship Canal”, because Chicago gets its clean water from Lake Michigan...
trump
... and dumps its waste water into the canal, bound for the Mid West.

Chicago Streets

Chicago is a very dense and lively city, especially during rush hour.
parking
Hence, people had to come up with a number of smart transport solutions. There are first some snail-shaped parking lots.
harmony
Then there is the “L” — the subway of Chicago (shown here crossing a parking lot; view from my hotel).
elevated
It is called “L”, because it runs on “L”evated tracks through the entire city.
main
Many streets, and even many bridges, have a parallel line of tracks running above them, as shown here.
levels
In addition, Chicago streets run on three parallel levels, one above the other. The top level is the “normal” street level...

Map by SPUI

level
...the second one is shown here in the middle. The lowest one is shown at the bottom. Note that it’s a real street, with cars, middle line, and traffic lights.

Museums

capsule
The Adler Planetarium shows the first manned US space capsule. The two inhabitants spent 4 days sitting in this capsule side by side.
cow
The History Museum tells us that Catherine O’Leary’s cow caused a fire in 1871 by knocking over a gas lamp. The O’Leary and her cow were exonerated from guilt in 1997 by the Chicago City Council.
million
If you ever wondered how much space your first million US dollars will take, come to the Chicago Money Museum.
credit
It explains how to run a bank, how to run the Fed, and when to raise interest rates. Different from what its name suggests, the Money Museum is for free.
goldberg
It also houses an accurate model of the French bureaucracy.
aqua
The Shedd Aquarium was for some time the largest indoor aquarium in the world.
science
The Museum of Science and Industry would deserve a blog on its own.

Food

united
Now to food. This is what they served on the flight here. I wonder why they had to remove a passenger by force from the plane...
deep-dish
This is the famous Chicago Deep Dish Pizza at Gino’s. It’s just as inedible as it looks.
sandwich
This is Chicago’s famous sliced beef sandwich, served in a croissant. Yes, you read that right: it’s a croissant.
hot-dog
Then there is the famous “Chicago style hot dog” – otherwise simply known as “a hot dog”.
popcorn
Chicago’s famous Garrett Popcorn — with a surprisingly bad ratio of sugar to taste.
crepe
But fortunately, there is also Yolk’s. Gorgeous breakfast.
ananas
This is the part of the American Cuisine that they should import to Europe. Not MacDo.
toast
The “French Berry Toast” – unfortunately completely unknown in France.
fridays
Yolk is closed in the afternoon. Fortunately, for dinner, God invented the “TGI Friday” restaurant chain.

Chicago Streets

water-tower
This water tower was the only building that survived the previously mentioned great fire of 1871.
colorful
Today, the city is full of colorful skyscrapers...
strap
... one of them standing only on a small strap...
curved
...and others being curved.
windy
My week here saw temperatures between 10°C and 30°C. Chicago is called the “windy city” for a reason.
ferris-wheel
The Ferris Wheel was invented here in 1893 for the World Exposition, to rival the Eiffel tower of Paris.
notice
The streets are generally clean...
prison
...but maybe the local prison is very crowded.
gun
Signs like this help keeping the city safe.
art
The US does not implement the EU directive that stipulates that modern art has to be ugly and dull by law.
mall
Even the shopping mall has an artsy feeling to it.

Millenium Park

fountain
The Millenium Park is clearly the masterpiece of the city.
bean
Its most famous inhabitant is the Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean”. It’s fun from the outside...
bean-inside
...and from the inside.
bp-bridge
The BP bridge is named after its sponsor. It was designed by Frank Gehry and crosses the motorway like a snake.
bandshell
Gehry also designed the local bandshell.
playground
The Millenium Park also houses a playground...
climb
...and climbing walls (front: beginners; back: advanced).
meditation
Mediation is a local Ersatz-religion (“Feel the goodness”, says the animator, “Allow yourself to be happy”). Easy.
toilets
The portable toilets in the park have a hand-washing station in front of them — with water, soap, and paper towels. I wonder why I have never seen that in my adopted home country.
fountain-1
The Crown fountain is also fun...
fountain-2
... in particular when the box becomes animated...
fountain-3
... and comes to life.
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