A Travellerspoint blog

The Big Chill

Teepees at the fork Red River Winnipeg

Teepees at the fork Red River Winnipeg

Well we had to leave Chicago eventually :o( We said farewell to Chala & Manuel after brunch (v American). Then explored O'Hare airport. . . . hmmmm. Still, a good flight to Winnepeg, flying in with the lights sparkling through the snow. We walked (well skidded) into town accross frozen Red River with people X country skiing over it. There's an area between the Red river and the Assinniboine River called the Forks (go figure) with lots of arts & crafts places where the locals turn out on the weekend to enjoy skating, ice hockey and skiing - with lots of tots being pulled around in toboggans :o)
I had my second serving of pancakes and Maple syrup in as many days - all that activity was making me hungry ;o)
We then went on to the Manitoba Museum - quite something as it documents the geological, ecological and social anthropological history of this region over the past 6,000+ years! Did you know that the whole of north America was once divided north/south by sea? - No nor did I. Anyway all this is presented in huge dioramas featuring everything from dinosaurs to moose to early movie-houses. Quite a few of the early settlers were Scots, thrown out by the land clearances - that was a seriously tough life. The most interesting thing to me though was the indigenous peoples - the Inuit, Cree and Blackfoot plus Meti or mixed-race peoples. I now know how to hunt Buffalo, build a teepee and when not to sign a treaty. . . . . hmmm. There are amazingly still many native Americans around and the texts were all written in English, French and an ancient runic script from these folk.
We board the Canadian Pacific Railway tomorrow - woo hoo - (we were asked if we'd like the Red Caps to take our cases to the cabin - v Orient Express darling). Not sure if we'll be able to update the blog till we get to Vancouver though - not till 27th Tell you all about it then :o)

Posted by colandmand 15:12 Comments (2)

Ola Chicago

MM 5

MM 5

You can't visit with the Mexican Consul without wanting to know more about what it is to be Mexican in Chicago - and Manuel is an inspiring advocate, working round-the-clock to encourage understanding on both/all sides. He and Chala make a very attractive case - so now they will have to put up with us for a trip to Mexico too :o)
Meanwhile, Chala took us to a mainly Mexican suburb of Chicago, where everything is in Spanish - even the MacDonald's signs he he. Street art - specifically murals - are a valued art form in Mexico. I've included some photo's which demonstrate just why this is.
She then took us to the National Museum of Mexican Art - which unsurprisingly is in that same neighbourhood. My knowledge of Mexican history and culture was woefully poor, but this was excellent - really clear and beautifully presented with arts and crafts from each period used to illustrate its development right up to some awesome contemporary artists (quite a few of whom are displayed in C&M's fabulous appt too!!). Chala also talked me through the annual Day of the Dead festival - which completely dispelled the rather creepy, ghoulish idea I had of it. Maybe we'll start an Ardleigh Day of the Dead - ha ha - about time we showed them how to party :o)
Off to Canada later today after brunch in true US-style.
We are so gonna miss C&M - they've made this a fantastic start to our fabulous adventure

Posted by colandmand 05:50 Comments (1)

Amazing Milwaukee

Milwaukee gallery roof fully opened

Milwaukee gallery roof fully opened

Chala drove us through 'dairylands' plains to Milwaukee and I'll confess I'd wondered why, given that the only thing I knew Milwaukee for was Miller beer!! Boy were we in for a surprise :o)
Overlooking the lake (so large as to be like the ocean) is the breathtakingly beautiful Art Museum. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, it features a 'soleil' that opens and closes to form the full 'tail' of a whale sounding. Inside it's equally beautiful - you have the sense of being inside the whale - with ribs arching overhead, and, in the restaurant a view out through the whale's mouth.
The art collection is breathtaking and would be the pride of any European city, with works from Warhol and Hepworth, Kandinsky, Magdalena Abakanowicz and Cornelia Parker. I've honestly never seen such a large collection of first rate work.
And it didn't end there. In the evening we went to one of Chicago's earliest jazz clubs - Andy's - and were treated to a fantastic evening's music, meeting the musicians at the end (tho this may just be because we were the last one's out!!).
I can't quite work out how to put the images on the page with the blog but do check them out at the menu
Somehow think were going to miss Chicago . . .

Posted by colandmand 09:15 Comments (2)

The Windy City

American Gothic I

American Gothic I

We knew it was going to be cold today because it was so clear last night the cityscape was fantastic. Luckily Chala provided ear muffs and a ride to the Cultural Centre because the wind has really got up and made its presence felt!! We were v snug inside though and treated to one of Chicago's weekly, free classical concerts held in what was once the City's Library. The interior was entirely decorated with Tiffany glass mosaics and a glass domed roof to marvel at as we listened to a v accomplished piano/cello duo playing Ravel, Poulenc and Chopin. From here its a short walk back to the Art Institute to catch some of the things we missed earlier in the week - particularly some US classics and their impressive collection of French Impressionists. The more we explore Chicago, the more we like it. There really is so much going on for folk of all ages - much of it completely free. Chicagoans really do have a great civic pride and by comparison many european cities seem shabby and run down - not even making the most of what we do have . . .

Posted by colandmand 16:56 Comments (0)

Spoiled rotten

Frank Lloyd-Wright

Frank Lloyd-Wright

Yesterday took a sculpture-walk with works by Calder, Picasso, Miro and Chagall just in the space of 100 yards!! Chala took us on an architecture tour today - Chicago boasts many Frank Lloyd-Wright residences. He was curiously unwilling to acknowledge any influences on his work, though the interiors of these early houses are so like Charles Rennie-Macintosh it's kinda embarrassing. He also had a 'colourful' domestic life with his second wife and children being brutally murdered. Dodgy bloke altogether he he. Weather here absolutely perfect today so we went up to the 94th floor to see the spectacular views. Just relaxing now after the Chicago History Museum with its accounts of the fire, race riots and the '68 protests being gently counter-balanced with the emergence of the jazz culture and local sporting heroes. I've searched in vain for Chicago Hope Hospital (Dr Green where are you??). More anon :o)

Posted by colandmand 17:34 Comments (0)

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