New York City – November 2017 – Tourist Day in Manhattan

With a day to spend in Manhattan with nothing special planned we wandered the city and checked out some of the non tacky tourist spots (i.e. Time Square)

 

Bryant Park Ice Rink and the Main Library

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Entrance to Rockefeller Center

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Statue and Flags at Rockefeller Center

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The Oculus

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Central Park West View

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A stop at the Met.

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Ornate apartment building on Fifth Avenue.

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Where do they put the prisoners?

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Hyderabad – November 2017 – The Charminar and the Market

The Charminar is a monument and mosque in the Old City section of Hyderabad. Given that we passed on a Friday (Muslim Holy Day) the area was packed with the market in the surrounding area. Unfortunately we were unable to tour the interior because of it being Friday.

 

There were numerous fruit stands.

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Rug delivery by bicycle.

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One of the many buildings with numerous small shops, most had displays out in the street. The old city had far more took tooks than it the newer areas near Hi-Tech City.

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A close up of the Charminar – note the bamboo scaffolding.

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An overview of the area.

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The shopping apparently complete it was time to march home.

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Past the chick pea (??) vendor

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And out of town.

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Hyderabad, India – November 2017 – Golkonda Fort

Golkonda Fort in Hyderabad, India is built into a nearly 500′ high granite hill, about 7 miles west of the old town city center. The original fort was built in 1143, but was rebuilt numerous times with this iteration dating from the 1500s.

 

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The lower levels had the living quarters.

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From below it is clear to see the integration of construction into the existing rocks.

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The view from the top is fantastic.

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Nearby Qutb Shahi Tombs are clearly visible.

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More of the geology on top of the hill.

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An overview of the lower fort.

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Including a courtyard.

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View from the courtyard back up the hill.

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Hyderabad, India – November 2017 – Qutb Shahi Tombs

The Qutb Shahi Tombs are located in Hyderabad, India, a city of 8 million people. The tombs were originally constructed during the Qutb Shai dynasty in the 14th and 15th century. They were initially restored in the 1800s, with some restoration continuing.

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With one central tomb, there are numerous ones surrounding it. For those interested in more details I suggest using the wiki page as it describes each in detail

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qutb_Shahi_tombs

For those not interested in reading the photos give a good overview of them.

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Joliet & Pontiac, Illinois – October 2017 – Route 66 begins

While officially Route 66 started in downtown Chicago it isn’t until you get out of town a bit to Joliet before it really is emphasized by the local communities.

Downtown Joliet has the unique position where Route 66 crossed the first major trans-continental road, the Lincoln Highway.

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Joliet is also the home of old Joliet Prison, home of the (fictional) Joliet Jake Blues – of Blues Brothers fame. Now closed the day we were there an Illinois Department of Corrections van and officer was in the parking lot – to keep people from breaking into prison!

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The Blues Brothers are celebrated throughout town – on the ice cream stand…

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An auto parts store…

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And a replica Bluesmobile high above a truck stop.

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Further south along Route 66 is the town of Pontiac, where they have a nice museum celebrating the history and impact of the road on Illinois.

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Also throughout town are mural/billboards. The town was once home to a ‘Walldog’ festival. Walldogs are the names of the group of artists who paint these impressive murals. During the 3 days they had the festival in Pontiac, 19 of the murals were painted.

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Inlcuding one that celebrates Route 66 across Illinois.

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Also throughout town are smallĀ  artistic cars and trucks.

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Finally in an alley we found another fabulous mural.

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Chicago – October 2017 – Open House Chicago – Part 1

Open House Chicago is an annual event where over 200 buildings open up for free tours. Most of the buildings aren’t normally even open to visitors, so it is even more special to get to see inside.

We spent two very long days touring as many as possible.

 

Our first stop was the Federal Reserve Bank, where they have a money museum.

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Next door is the Chicago Board of Trade, featuring a large vault in the basement housing safe deposit boxes, including one was used by Al Capone.

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The lobby of the Board of Trade Building is magnificent.

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Further up South LaSalle Street we were able to go up to a 22nd floor outdoor seating area of a financial firm.

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The lobby of 231 South LaSalle Street is very ornate, although cluttered with the Cubs ‘W’ flag because of the playoffs.

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One of the few lines we encountered was at the famed Rookery Building. On this day we could go up to the spiral staircase.

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The view from below leading up the staircase is equally impressive.

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The lobby at 1 North LaSalle Street continues with the Art Deco style of most of the buildings on the street,

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Another basement, another safe deposit section. This one was massive.

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One of the newest buildings is 150 North Riverside, with it’s tapered bottom.

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The position of 150 North Riverside at the corner of the branches of the Chicago River offered great views in all directions.

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Back on the ground for a panorama of the area.

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The Builders Building also has a great lobby.

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The Michigan Avenue lift bridge was open with views of the gears and the opportunity to go up to the tower.

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Chicago – October 2017 – Open House Chicago – Part 2

Part two of the tour starts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The tour indicated you could go on stage, which I was expecting a large concrete pad. Instead it was a beautiful wood stage with the risers for the orchestra behind it.

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Outside was the famed curved metal of the pavilion.

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Not officially part of the tour we went past the tourists at the Bean.

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The Maclean Center Grand Ballroom is the home of an art school.

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The famed Railway Exchange Building had an architectural firm open on the fifth floor, giving a rare view above the skylights.

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Along with a nice view of Millennium Park.

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111 West Monroe Street was the home of another architectural firm who had some great models that they have designed and built.

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Yet another firm down the street in the National Building had a visually interesting work on the entrance wall.

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While not open we passed by the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower)

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Also not officially part of the tour, but always open and interesting is Union Station.

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Our final stop in the Ravenswood neighborhood is the Ravenswood Events Center. Once a sign factory someone has purchased it and restored it to show off their exotic cars.

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