Chicago: Architectural Boat Tour

I am a note-taker.
Things just don't seem to stick unless I write them down.

Remember that trip to Chicago we took?
As part of our day in the city we went on the Architectural Boat Tour with Wendella Boat Tours.

This is an instance where I probably should have taken notes.
But I didn't.
Had I taken notes I might be able to tell you what this beautiful building top is all about.

I can tell you that this is a famous Chicago water taxi.

It's a funny thing about me and note taking.

Sometimes I'm not even writing anything of value down.  Just doodling.

But for some reason the act of putting pen to page makes things stick in my brain that otherwise wouldn't.

Thankfully for us, I do remember a few things....
Like these corncob shaped buildings.  Where the interior walls are rounded and the apartments are shaped like a piece of pie.  Also that in some 70's move they drove a car right off the ledge of that parking garage towards the middle.

Droppin' serious knowledge of Chicago's architecture for you there.

Sometimes my boss will want to tell me something and he'll preface it by saying, "you don't need to take notes."

But "I do need to take notes", my brain says.

This is The Merchandise Mart.  I only know this because I took a picture of the sign.


These are cool buildings huh?  I wish I could tell you some stuff about them.

So I do remember something about this building because it intrigued me.  These are condo's that were first sold in the early 90's for around $300k, not bad considering they are literally on the water.  They were designed by a famous architect (insert name here __________).  And, they don't know their current value because they haven't been turned over since they were originally sold.  Those must be pretty sweet places. 

Anyway, back to note taking.  When I'm not doodling sometimes it helps me just to write down key words from the conversation.

Maybe I'm a note-taker because I'm a bad listener?

I can seriously hear The Cyclist laughing right now.

It is probably partially true that I am sometimes a bad listener.

But I don't think that's why I'm a note-taker.

I think I'm a note-taker because I'm a reader.
But before I drop that theory on you, let me just say, I'm pretty sure this lady is the Goddess of Wheat or something.
She's a famous statue, just in case you didn't know.

Oh, and this is the Chicago Tribune.  (See it's written down, I remembered it.)

So anyway, I'm a note-taker because I'm a reader.

My theory is that I've spent so many years enjoying things in print, that they have to be in print to stick in my brain.

Or, there has to be something visually memorable about them.
Like this building for instance, that was designed to look like a waterfall.

Or this building that (I think) was designed by the same guy who designed the corn-cob looking building.  
These look like crazy space-pods to me.

It reminds me of where Mork & Mindy would live.
Oops, maybe this lady is the Goddess of Grain?  Shoot.

Oh yeah, remember when The Cyclist did this?

Well here is a view of those crazy glass boxes from the boat....

I wasn't zooming in or anything.

This is the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Center...

I know this guessed it...

So the moral of this story is, I should have taken notes.

Or maybe, just maybe, I shouldn't have.

That's right.  Maybe if I gave you detailed info on all of these buildings, you wouldn't bother to do the boat tour yourself.

Which would be a shame.  Because even with my best note-taking abilities, I certainly couldn't be as informative and knowledgeable as our guide was.

If you are in Chicago, you should really do this tour.  It's an excellent way to see (and learn about) the city and the views are amazing.

Not that I am the best example of learning about the city or anything.

Here is something else I do remember...this was The Cyclist's favorite building on the tour... you know why Chicago is often referred to as The Windy City?

It's not because Chicago is windy.... is because after the great Chicago Fire which destroyed nearly the whole city (and jumped the river because it was so heavily polluted, eventually creating the reason for the rivers flow being reversed), the politicians wanted to rebuild and make it great.  So, they invited all of the best architects in the world to come and design amazing buildings (the World's Fair has something to do with this too).  The politicians then traveled across the states and constantly bragged about how great of a city Chicago was....thus making them seem like blowhards, thus gaining Chicago the name of The Windy City.
So I guess I did learn something.

Really though, if you are in Chicago, I highly recommend this tour.  Be careful how you time it though, while the boat tour is available basically all day, the museums close around 4 (we missed the museum).

Happy Travels!


P.S.  Thanks for all of your kind notes about my break last week too!

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  1. Chicago is absolutely stunning! Love all of these shots! And the Sear's tower is so scary being out in those boxes!
    xo TJ

    1. Yes, I was scurred! I couldn't get in the box all the way. I got my heels over the ledge and that was it!

  2. You are a hoot. I loved reading this post.. it made me smile and giggle and i really like to smile and giggle.. so glad I stumbled upon your blog.

  3. this post is so lovely! this is one of my favorite cities for sure.

    lindsey louise

  4. I've never been to Chicago or really ever seen photos...those buildings are amazing! Love the corn on the cob looking ones.

    xo erica

    1. Hi Erica Marie! This was my first trip to Chicago, it is an incredible city! If you ever get the chance to visit, don't pass it up!

  5. The Chicago boat tour is very popular. It is a fun and relaxing way to enjoy the city. I am going to try this one with my family after we finish our whale watching oban trip this year.

  6. Looks like a great trip. Love your photos. Thanks for sharing! Chicago is a fun place to visit. We went on the boat ride on the river when we were there. Fun!

    "Chicago IT"


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