I felt more than a bit out of place walking to the hostel dining room for breakfast wearing shorts and flip flops. This has been my attire for almost the entire previous three months in Asia. Summer has yet to make it to Chicago. Out of the sun it was cold today at around 10C, close to coat weather.
When it comes to film settings, Chicago is hardly Los Angeles or New York, or even San Francisco. That said, there have been a few classics set here, enough to warrant a free walking tour. I always dread being the only person to turn up for such things, but thankfully two others came along. This meant that we got a fairly personal service from tour guide Ryan. Some of the locations didn’t always leap out at you but Ryan had photos and iPad film clips that brought the scenes to life. My favourites included stuff from Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, The Blues Brothers, Planes, Trains and Automobiles and the recent Batman films.
In addition to film locations, there’s so much to see walking around the Loop area of Chicago. It’s like being in a living architecture museum. Just around Daley Plaza is the landmark City Hall, the world’s tallest church (First United Methodist Church, atop a skyscraper), as well as a Picasso sculpture that unintentionally doubles up as a popular children’s slide. Getting a glimpse of Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower, also formerly the world’s tallest building) is harder than you’d think when walking among all the other tall buildings.
Last autumn, after a wait of 108 years, the Chicago Cubs won baseball’s World Series. And they’ve certainly gone to town on this in Chicago. You still see Cubs championship regalia everywhere. As I overheard one pedestrian sarcastically say to his mate when walking past a Chicago Cubs t-shirt stand, “You’d never know that they’d won anything!” I’ve got a feeling that this could be milked even more than 1966 in England!