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Some final sightseeing downtown, then home

Chicago VT meet day eight

View Chicago VT meet on ToonSarah's travel map.

A rainy morning in Chicago

My last day in the city, but with an early evening flight there was still time to see a bit more of Chicago. After packing and checking out (leaving bags to be picked up later) Isa, Amelie and I went for a final relaxed breakfast at Goddess and the Baker. It was raining, so for the first time we sat inside for our meal.

We then took the El to the Harold Washington Library stop in the South Loop area of downtown, as I’d read that there was some interesting street art around there. It took some searching out, but we liked what we found, even if it was harder to photograph in the rain!



Some of the street art

Museum of Contemporary Photography

Given the weather an indoor activity seemed a good idea, so we visited the Museum of Contemporary Photography on Michigan Avenue. Isa is as keen a photographer as I am, and Amelie was more than happy to come along. And we all found plenty to like in the varied exhibits on show. The exhibition was title ‘Love: still not the lesser’ and featured photographers from all around the world including Japan, Canada, the US, UK, Morocco, China, Senegal, Austria. We all enjoyed the installation by Moroccan Mous Lamrabat, and I was moved by the story told in Scottish photographer Alice Bruce’s images, of a community fighting against Donald Trump’s plans to create a golf course.

By Mous Lamrabat

By Mous Lamrabat (left) and Alice Bruce (right)

The museum is free but asks for donations which I felt were more than merited.

Grant Park

By the time we came out the sky was clearing, which was great as we were all keen to see the Buckingham Fountain. So we crossed Michigan Avenue into Grant Park where the first thing that struck me were the two huge sculptures by Ivan Mestrovic. They depict Native Americans on horseback but interestingly the weapons they purport to carry are missing. There is an urban myth suggesting they were somehow removed as a prank, but in fact it was intentional as the artist wanted to draw attention to ‘the bold lines of the musculature of both man and beast, as well as the linear patterns of the horses’ manes and tails and the figures’ headdresses.’

The Spearman

The Bowman

I had mixed feelings about this pair. On the one hand I admired the skills that had created them, but on the other I had to agree with those who feel they over-romanticise the Native American experience. But that didn’t stop me taking plenty of photos!

Buckingham Fountain

We had thought about visiting the fountain at night, after watching the sunset from the top of 875 North Michigan Avenue, but we were tired and no bus was due for some time, so we had given up. But now at least we were able to fit in a visit before we had to leave Chicago.

The fountain was inspired by one at Versailles and is gloriously over the top! For one thing, it is double the size of the original, making it one of the largest fountains in the world.


The Buckingham Fountain

The centrepiece is a multi-tiered array of jets, cascading upwards and outwards. In the surrounding pool, said to symbolise nearby Lake Michigan, four Art Deco seahorses spout more water. The latter represent the four states that border the lake. In all, according to Wikipedia, there are 193 jets, spouting more than 14,000 U.S. gallons per minute during one of the nightly displays. Even by day though it is very impressive, and we lingered a while, taking lots of photos and getting a passerby to take one of us together.

One of the seahorses

With Isa and Amelie

Michigan Avenue

By now time was getting on so we started to make our way back to the station along Michigan Avenue, enjoying the variety of architecture on show. We popped into the Fine Arts Building, one of the best examples of Art Nouveau in the city.

In the Fine Arts Building


On Michigan Ave, and the Rte 66 sign

I was thrilled to pass the end point (or start point) of Route 66 on Jackson Boulevard, even though it isn’t much to look at!

Then it was back to the hotel on the El to collect our bags.

Harold Washington Library station

Riding the El

Amelie was on a later flight so we said goodbye to her there, while Isa and I were catching the same flight to Heathrow from where she would continue to Barcelona.

Time to go home

We got to the airport without any problems, but the flight was delayed owing to a technical issue – not something I relish hearing! However they got it sorted and we finally left. We were seated separately and as Isa had a tight connection we said our goodbyes on boarding. I was pleased to get a message from her when on my Tube home to say she had made the connection – just!

So there we are, the end of another super VT meet. Next up will be the Euromeet in Kotor next May/June when hopefully many of us will meet up again.

Posted by ToonSarah 11:43 Archived in USA Tagged architecture fountain chicago usa photography street_art virtual_tourist

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All's well that ends well! Thanks for another fine story, Sarah!

by Vic_IV

Thank you Victor, I always appreciate your comments :)

by ToonSarah

Thankyou so very much for sharing this last day with us Sarah. Your Pictures and prose help so much to compensate for the fact I was unable to go to this meet. As you say - looking forward to meeting up in Kotor next year.

by Yvonne Dumsday

Thanks Yvonne. Yes, it will good to meet up in Kotor!

by ToonSarah

I'm glad the VT meeting in Chicago was such a success. Sorry I couldn't be there.

by Nemorino

You'd have enjoyed it Don, but I know that you choose not to fly any more.

by ToonSarah

I think the Native American horses were too big - they rode little scrapy horses - often Apalousas and those horses look like German warm bloods.

by greatgrandmaR

You could well be right Rosalie, but I guess it's artistic license - he was more interested in impact than in accuracy!

by ToonSarah

Some familiar faces.


by pieter_jan_v

Fun to see your take on Chicago. My Dad lived there when I was a teen and I spent summers with him. Ed and I visited for the first time in decades and I couldn't believe how much it had changed in 50 years. Thanks for the memories.

by Beausoleil

Hi PJ, good to hear from you! And Sally, glad to have brought back some good memories :)

by ToonSarah

loved the read and hope you guys have another fun meetup next year! :)

by Ils1976

We usually do Ils :)

by ToonSarah

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