Start with Part 1, if you haven’t seen it already.
Friday evening was Veronica’s performance at the guitar festival. She and Chris, the guitarist from UW, played first on the festival’s opening concert. I glanced through the program booklet, and I’m pretty sure that Veronica was the only non-guitarist performing all weekend. The two of them did an excellent job — they played two movements of Mauro Giuliani’s Grand Duo Concertant. I’m looking forward to hearing the whole piece on Chris’s recital in a couple of weeks.
On Saturday, we got up relatively early and checked out of the hotel. We were able to leave our bags there while we headed off to the Field Museum. Our main objective at the Field was to see their temporary Real Pirates exhibit. We arrived fairly early, so we were able to breeze right in to both the museum and the pirate exhibit. The exhibit follows the history of the Whydah, a slave ship turned pirate ship. So, it starts out detailing the ship’s participation in the Atlantic slave trade of the early 18th century, then picks up with the story of Sam Bellamy, the pirate captain who captured her in the Caribbean. The exhibit does a good job of explaining the various sorts of lives at sea — those of a slave, a pirate, and a sailor in the King’s navy. The exhibit is peppered with artifacts from the Whydah — cannon, pistols, pieces of eight, etc. The ship sank off Cape Cod in a storm in 1717 and was found by a team led by Barry Clifford in 1984. Partway through the exhibit, I was a little disappointed at the artifact to diorama ratio, but a whole section about the recovery of the ship and conservation of its artifacts set that straight.
We visited the Field a couple of years ago, so many of the exhibits were fresh in our minds. We did go through the dinosaur hall again, though (I’ve always been a dinophile). We also spent some time in a couple of small temporary exhibits, one featuring ancient jewelry from around the Middle East, and another of photographs of the massive Hindu Kumbha Mela pilgrimage. Sadly, we didn’t have the time or energy to see the other big temporary exhibit, The Aztec World.
We made some great food choices throughout our visit, thanks in no small part to the Yelp.com iPhone application. Yelp lets you search for businesses near your current location and provides user-supplied ratings and reviews for them. Aside from the deep-dish pizza we had the first night, we had a delicious breakfast at the Bongo Room, great very fresh sushi at Oysy, and delectable Cuban sandwiches at Cafecito. We even found an impressively stocked independent liquor store where we were able to buy a bottle of Goats Do Roam red and a bar of Ghirardelli dark chocolate, thus bypassing the allure of our hotel room mini-bar.
The only snag in our trip came at the end. When we attempted to purchase our return trip Metra tickets at Union Station, the agent informed us that on the weekend, trains don’t go as far as the station where we’d parked the car. Whoops. We got on the train anyway, figuring we’d find a cab to take us the rest of the way. But, we remembered that our friends Lesley (of Le Triangle d’Or) and Keith were in Elgin that weekend visiting Keith’s family. They agreed to pick us up and ferry us to the other station. Even better than that, they invited us to stay for a delicious dinner with Keith’s parents and sister. So, what appeared to be a snag turned out to be serendipitous!
As usual, click any of the photos above to see the whole gallery.