Estonian Maritime Museum

I just realized that I forgot to blog about one more museum in Tallinn – the Estonian Maritime Museum. The museum is relatively new, and its centerpiece is an old cog – a Medieval merchant ship. 

It was built at the end of the 13th century, and it sailed for quite a long time until it sank in the mid-14th century. The ship was discovered and lifted from the sea in 2015. Now, the cog, along with hundreds of artifacts discovered on the wreck, occupy the museum’s first floor.

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Tallinn: Getting Inside

The rain started shortly after 11 AM, as forecasted. At first, we could ignore the random drops, but later, the rain became more substantial, and we switched to numerous museums and cafes.

The first cafe we landed in was Maiasmokk, the oldest in Tallinn (in business from 1864). That was the first public space we entered in Tallinn, and there we learned that by city ordinance, proof of COVD vaccination is required to enter any place. Masks are still required.  

Tallinn depends heavily on tourism, and I was very happy to observe that this requirement didn’t impact tourism negatively and that the business owners were happy to comply with the city ordinance. 

This round pastry with cinnamon was heavenly good!!!
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A Visit To Pullman

For many years, Igor and I visited Pullman on one of the Labor Day weekend days – they always had something interesting going on. Last year, there was nothing because of COVID, but that year, it was going to be a big celebration: Pullman officially became a Nationa Monument.

We decided to go on Saturday because according to the museum website, the actual ribbon cutting was supposed to be on that day. Also, they were going to give away free tickets to tour a factory and Florence Hotel, and also there were going to be old Pullman cars tours.
It turned out that the ribbon cutting was scheduled for Monday, and as for the tickets, people stood in lines from 7-30 AM to get them!

We didn’t get any – they were all gone five minutes after we arrived. However, one lady happened to have one extra ticket for the cars tour, and I gave it to Igor.

Still, we managed to see a lot on the museum grounds, and we were shocked by the amount of restoration work that was done on the site!

Restored Main Gate
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At The Field Museum

Since Nadia is all about dinosaurs these days, we planned a visit to the Field Museum. Going there on Tuesday was a great idea – the first day of school was Monday, and the museum was almost empty. One thing neither Anna nor I could predict was how long our visit would last. We thought about 2- 2,5 hours, and we were even thinking about going to the Maggie Daley park afterward (since we didn’t go there on Saturday), but we ended up spending six hours in the museum! Nadia could not get enough of it! 

We started from watching a 3D movie about titanosaurus. Then, we saw the Pacific nations exhibit, then Evoving Earth, Jade, a gemstone exhibit, the Ancient China, Jane Goodall exhibit, the Underground adventure and I think I forgot something :). Nadia kept exploring

At The Art Institute

We’ve been to two museums with my granddaughters, and both museum visits went surprisingly well.
On Saturday afternoon, Anna suggested that Boris and I would take Nadia to the Art Institute. The Rayan Educational Center in the Art Institute is still closed, and I thought that that would be the biggest attraction, but Nadia said she wanted to go anyway. I asked whether she also wanted to splash in the Crown fountain, but she said no. Well, having the Maggie Daley Park as our backup plan, we headed to the Loop. It was a long way on the Red Line, but Nadia enjoyed peering out of the window, looking at the people, streets, and cars from the elevation of the L.

We entered the Art Institute from the Modern Wing Entrance, and I decided to take a shot at viewing the contemporary art. We ended up looking at one or two artworks in each room, and I answered Nadia’s questions about them and told her what I feel looking at these pieces, and she told me how they felt for her. I think we both enjoyed that experience, and just at the moment I thought that that was enough for one visit Nadia said that that was enough:)

Some pictures which caught our attention:

We talked about why the bodies are painted with different colors
We talked about two faces on one face
Nadia surprised me by asking why the woman in the picture looks so angry – I didn’t even notice it before she mentioned!
Nadia liked this Mardi Gras picture
And she really liked all the Buddhas!

On the way back, we took the Brown Line and later switched to the Red Line. I think, Boris enjoyed it more than Nadia:), but I agree it was a great idea – seen the Loop from above!

Aquarium Member Night

On Tuesday, there was a member night in the Aquarium. There were two days to choose from, August 24 and 27, and I’ve realized that I won’t be able to make it on August 27, because my family is coming for our big weekend. When I signed up there was not much information about what would happen during the member’s night. I just knew that there wouldn’t be an aquatic presentation and that there will be no speeches:), and there will be no banquet. The entry was timed, and I thought it would be just an opportunity to see the exhibit without the crowd.

I took mom with me because she didn’t go when I want with Anna & her family.

It turned out that the Aquarium came up with the program just hours before it started, and I didn’t even look at my personal emails! Still, I was able to figure out what we can do and in which sequence.

Mom was pretty much like a child, which was good in this case. It was the first time in her life that she saw the 4D movies, and she loved it, although she said that it was a little bit too much stimulation for her.


The ending of the night was a little bit dramatic. When we headed out, we saw that the terrible thunderstorm we expected earlier had finally started. And it was terrible indeed! There was no way we could get out; no umbrella could keep us dry!

So we turned back to the museum and went to the cafe to have dinner. I was hoping to see the rain calming doing, but that didn’t happen. So we asked the staff which exit will be the most convenient for Uber pickup and headed out. We were lucky to get an amazing driver who was from Rogers Park herself, so we talked all the way :). And then she said that there is no way I could walk home from mom’s place, so she pulled up and waited till I walked mom to her apartment, and then added my stop to the ride:)

But regardless, it was a great event. I think that the Aquarium staff went above and beyond to make it a memorable experience. ANd I was so glad to see that there were many kids attending!

The Rest Of Weekend Activities

To recap the rest of our weekend activities: after the architectural tour, we went to the Chicago Architectural Center – we disembarked right there, and also, Lena didn’t visit it since it moved to this new home. We saw the exhibit of Helmut Jahn, which I saw earlier with my mom, and the permanent exhibit on urban development, which was very interesting.

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Back To The Field Museum – First Time After The Lockdown

On Saturday, I went to see the new Field Museum exhibit dedicated to Jane Goodall (and I took Igor and mom there as well). I was not sure till the last moment whether e should proceed with the plan: the forecast was rain and thunderstorm for the whole day. I went to clinic escort in the morning, and I meant to ask Igor to bring mom to the Loop by the time I will be done. But I was not sure about the rain. Miraculously, we managed almost to escape the worst of it, and I was really glad we did it! 

Mom said she does not remember anything about Jane Goodall. It was sad because her books were translated into Russian when I was a teen, and I remember both mom and I reading them and discussing them. I still remember the names of all of the apes, and I was delighted to see them “in person”. Mom said she would look her up in Russian, and I hope she will. I loved this exhibit a lot; also, I got a chance to show both Igor and mom the Apsaalooke Women and Warriors exhibit, which I got a chance to see right before the lockdown.

Here are some pictures from the Jane Goodall exhibit:

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A Visit To Shedd Aquarium

On Saturday, we all went to Aquarium. 

For many years, I had a family Aquarium membership, but when the kids were grown up and gone, I witched to the individual one, occasionally bargaining for a pair of extra free tickets. When I realized in May that the Aquarium is reopening and that now it would be much easier for Anna’s family to visit, I decided to upgrade the membership back to the Family level. My individual membership expiration date was September 30, and I was sure it wouldn’t be a problem to upgrade earlier.

It turned out that it was a big problem! There was no way to pro-rate the membership. There were only two options: either to pay the full year of upgraded memberships right away, only for it to expire on September 30, or to wait till September 30 and upgrade then. I could not even “annul” the current membership because “two memberships at the same time are not allowed.” An additional complication was that they already took my money before realizing that they can’t do what I asked them to do :).

I was on the calls with them four times until I finally decided to take the September 30 upgrade. Also, they gave me two complimentary adult tickets and ticketed Nadia as a Chicago resident 🙂

That way, on Saturday, we all went to Aquarium pretty much for free:).

It was so-so-so good to be in Aquarium after such a long break!

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A Fabulous Weekend

It was a wonderful weekend. I feel like I am getting more things done here, and I am not sure why.

No, I didn’t resolve all the issues in my apartment. I still need to fix my ceiling lights/fans, and I am still waiting for the rest of my furniture for the dining room. Also, I need to change my driver’s license and mom’s State ID for new addresses. And I didn’t go to the local library yet and didn’t find a new doctor for my mom or me. 

The list is endless, but still, I had a fabulous time this weekend. Of course, it helped that we now have summer Fridays, so the weekend started at 2 PM on Friday. Here is what I did this weekend (in addition to the regular errands list)

  • I biked to Northwestern twice. The first time, I messed up a couple of times, and the second time was a charm.
  • I went to do my nails. I didn’t like the place that much, so I will continue to explore what else is around, but at least I have my mani-pedi, which were overdue.
  • I went escorting for the first time since February
  • After escorting, I took my mom to the Art Institute to see the Monet exhibit and a couple of other exhibits which will close within the next week
  •  I biked to the Glenwood Sunday Market (and bought tons of awesome stuff). I was not sure from their website whether they allow bikes on the market, and put a new bike lock in my backpack. But fortunately, they allow the bikes in, which helped to plan my purchases realistically :). I liked his market so much better than the Evanston market! I think I will be going there most of Sundays.
If thIf they ey t
  • I made sorrel soup (perfect for the hot weather)
  • Also, I made a rhubarb tart
  • I had mom and one of my friends over for coffee
  • And I went to the beach and even dipped myself into the cold water of Lake Michigan (I will show the pictures in a separate post).

And with all that, I even caught up on some work, these boring parts with paperwork, which you tend to push away beyond all the deadlines.

It feels so much as the life I want to ive!