Three days, three events booked: Monday the boat tour, Tuesday the Chicago Symphony, Wednesday the bus tour.
Both tours were through the Chicago Architecture Foundation, with the emphasis strictly on … yes, the buildings and architects of downtown Chicago and also the southside area of the University of Chicago and the Illinois Institute of Technology. The Obama family home is in this southside area too – we saw the house through it’s treed boundaries. Pity the poor neighbours with the ever-present security. The guides (called docents in the US) were excellent. I’d highly recommend the boat tour but the bus tour was limited in its success because you couldn’t “look up” – it needed an open top bus. However, a look inside Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘Robie House’ was a highlight.
The Symphony was terrific. I’d booked cheaper (not cheapest!) seats in the impressive concert hall – in a side balcony overlooking the orchestra. Not loved by aficionados because the acoustics are not best there. But wonderful for being in the middle of the music making. Neither is it the best view, you miss about a quarter of the orchestra, in this case the cellos and double basses. But I’m partial to a bit of crash-bang and I could see the percussionists perfectly. As it happened, all three pieces gave the timpanist a jolly good work-out, and the rest featured a bit more than usual too. No encore, except too many curtain calls for the composer of the “new work” which was saved from being bad probably because it was only 9 minutes long!