Chicago

First day in Chicago we walked down through the town to the lake and then crossed the river to the Navy Pier. I guess there is no real use for a Navy here , so it has been redeveloped as a recreational area with many different eating places and imax etc and various organisations offering cruises of both the river and lake . We booked ourselves on an “architectural” cruise of the river . The was hot 33 degrees C in the end and humid ,why a place a similar distance from the equator as Tasmania gets so hot , I guess it’s hot air coming over a dry interior. The water supply for the town comes out of Lake Michigan and in the mid 1900’s 12% of the population died from cholera. So they dug a huge canal and reversed the flow of the river away from the lake .So this saved the lake but sent all the pollution down to StLouis. St Louis eventually sued Chicago for this. The river is still polluted apparently but it look like it is getting cleaned up. The flows of the lake are now strictly controlled with a maximum of 3200cubic feet allowed for both diversion and the  town water.  Chicago really is a river town so seeing it from the river really orients you to the area. It is also the City of Skyscrapers and the Willis tower was the tallest in the world for some time . Some of the buildings built in the early 1900’s are remarkable including the wrigley building with its Big Ben like clock and the cathedral looking building next to it that was done circa 1920. The cocktails were cheap too at $5 each , with Lil downing 3 bloody Marys. After the tour we walked up to the other side of the river to where there is a nice beach with swimming area -but I’d left the togs at home .
Next day in Chicago the weather started off the same , hot and humid 27 degrees by 10 o’clock. We were going to walk north along the lake front but the whether turned with a thunderstorm and steady rain and a 10  degree drop in temperature . We turned back and walked along the river trying to get some cover though we had fortunately brought our umbrellas. Back in the town we went past the cultural centre and there were free tours of this running at 1.15pm. After a coffee we came back for the tour. Our guide was a guy in his 80’s who ran a campaign to have the building saved 30 years ago. It was the original public library which was built in the late 1890’s . Inside it is amazing with marble walls of a different type for each room . Individual decorations on each ceiling , marble arch ways and stair banisters and intricate mosaics on the floors – and they were going to demolish it – instead they built a new library and converted to the centre it is today.
After dinner we were going to go to a free classical concert in Grant Park – but the thunderstorms broke out again and are still going.

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