Thursday, December 24, 2009

3 Days of Pampering, Exploring, and Winter Weather. . . Day Two, Part One

Tuesday was such a great day that I think I'll have to make it into two posts. Greg got us coffee from Starbucks and we reveled in the joys of sleeping in. It was snowing lightly when we left, and since I didn't have to drive in it, I thought it was beautiful. We walked down to the Art Institute of Chicago, one of Greg's favorite places in the city. He's always been interested in art, and since he started painting a few years ago, he spends hours looking at paintings in the many art books he collects. The lions were all decked out for the holiday, and we got to see the new modern wing.

Since the last time we were at the museum (maybe 1-2 years ago?), they redid a lot of the building and added this huge modern section. It was beautiful and bright, with amazing views of the city. However, they also jacked up the prices--$18 per person admission! We were only planning on spending a few hours there, so thank goodness they give free admission to Illinois schoolteachers. Greg wandered through the modern wing admiring the paintings and the freeform art. I liked this strand of lights you can see below. Not sure what it's supposed to symbolize, but it sure looked cool. Perhaps it is meant to stand for that feeling you get when you carefully put away your lights each year and then open them up next December to find a tangle. . . I guess the point of modern art is to make you think, and the artwork I saw clearly made me think. Some of the modern conceptual art made me think, "This artist must have had a very interesting childhood," or "Perhaps psychiatric drugs helped with this painting." Something about the peaceful quiet of art museums makes me feel very relaxed and sleepy. I actually napped a bit on some of the benches, and Greg saw me and suggested that after lunch we go back to the hotel for a nap. Don't get me wrong, I love art, I guess my attention span just isn't as great as my husband, who could probably spend 8 hours walking through the galleries.

I spent most of my time looking out the windows, actually. There's a gridwork overhang and you can see the chunks of snow gather in clumps and then fall to the ground. It was spectacular.
We went to the one sit-down restaurant at the Art Institute. They closed down the old one and opened up a new one called Terzo Piano. It was ultra-modern and the food was spectacular and fresh and unique. I had the three-cheeseburgers lunch, and it was delicious. It better have been for $19! Greg and I shared, though, and he had a salad. I had a lamb burger with goat cheese, a wisconsin burger with cheddar, and a shrimp burger with this delicious sauce. It's funny how food is so important to me on a vacation. Sometimes I remember the food more than the things I'm "supposed" to remember. That lamb burger, though, I will remember for the rest of my life. It just melted in my mouth. mmmm
My favorite part of this restaurant, though, was the chairs. They had the coolest modern-looking chairs, and I'm not usually into modern plastic furniture. These chairs, however, are smiling. Check them out! They're grinning from ear to ear! I love them.
If you look out the window of the restaurant, you can see the metal gridwork I was talking about that goes around the whole modern wing. Look closely and you can see the snow chunks falling down. It was mesmerizing.

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