28 May 2011

And, now for Cleveland

What a night.  The Hyatt is a beautiful hotel, but it's a holiday weekend and there was a fraternity convention in house.  The noise level was mind-boggling, from screaming to door-slamming.  It was relentless and went on all night.  The only upside -- yes, there was at least one -- was this:  it was raining and the view from our window onto the wet street with the street lights glowing in the mist and cars moving along was extremely pretty.  I don't need to say that I started out the day tired.  (Do I need to add that I miss the boat?  Didn't think so.)

Our group broke up this morning, some people having chosen to go home early rather than travel by coach.  The continuing group fits easily on one bus and we were in Cleveland by lunch.  That lunch was served in Bytes, a second floor meeting room at the Great Lakes Science Center, a glass-sided room overlooking the lobby and the North Coast Harbor.  I could hardly wait to get started.  The 618-foot William G Mather was floating right outside and we all had tour tickets. 

From the wheelhouse looking aft
The Mather is a 1925 Great Lakes straight deck bulk carrier and was for a time the flagship of the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Mining Company.  It was retired in 1980, having been updated significantly at least three times, serving for 65 years. 

We were guided by a retired Navy man who, first, loves that boat and, second, was mindful of people touring and the perilous nature of the stairs.  That is, he was understanding as people chose to cut short their visit, but kept moving.  Eventually, there were only four of us left and each time he asked if we'd like to see something -- the engine room or the galley, for example, we said yes.  Tal and I went from the bow to the stern, from the depths of the hold to the wheel on the upper aft deck, from the Victorian staterooms to the four-story engine room.

We spent the rest of our time in and around the science center, a fabulous place, boasting 400 interactive exhibits and both a solar array (disguised as an entrance portico) and a wind turbine in the middle of the front lawn.  It shares real estate with the Cleveland Browns Stadium and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I thought the name of the downstairs eating establishment pretty clever.

At 4:00 on the dot we were picked up by "Lolly the Trolley" (yes, the tour company also has "Gus the Bus") for an hour-long tour of downtown Cleveland.  Frankly, it was pretty much a blur.  It was also impossible to photograph anything from that cute but jouncing conveyance.  Tal and I walked back later to Public Square and Cleveland Mall to get these three photographs (not surprisingly, all verticals).

Old Stone Church
This is the second building completed in 1855,
which replaced the original 1834 structure.

Marshall Fredericks' "Fountain of Eternal Life"
on Cleveland Mall in from of Key Tower,
the tallest building in Ohio, completed in 1991.

Terminal Tower
It was the second tallest building in the world
when it was completed in 1928.

While touring we even crossed the Cuyahoga River into Ohio City and saw (from the trolley) the Westside Market; St John's Episcopal Church, one of the stops on the Underground Railroad; and where the Grande Mariner would have docked (I couldn't look ...) had we come that far by water. 

It had been a super long day by the time "Lolly" dropped us at our hotel -- the Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade -- a splendid location which deserves a post all its own.   

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