July 29, 2016
By Steven Dahlman
As Chicago’s architecture has evolved, so have the tours that introduce it to the millions of people who visit the city each year. Now, one of the handful of tour boat companies says the time is right for a Spanish version of its architecture tour.
Shoreline Sightseeing has started offering Spanish language tours twice a week, departing from its dock at Michigan Avenue. The 75-minute tours on the Chicago River highlight at least 40 landmarks and offer a brief history of Chicago, starting with the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
He says the idea came from Conrad Rieckhoff, Shoreline’s dock master, who Collins says “has his finger on the pulse of what people are asking for.”
Most of his passengers are from Argentina. The rest are from Mexico, Spain, and Columbia.
While most tourists in Chicago speak at least decent English, hearing a tour in their native language, says Collins, is more comfortable for them.
“It’s an acknowledgement...that there are Spanish-speaking tourists in Chicago that need to be respected and...offered our best services in Spanish as we do in English.”
Collins, 54 years old, is a full-time tour guide in Chicago and he learned Spanish to help in his previous occupation. He was a Catholic Jesuit Priest for 20 years, serving as associate pastor in Chicago and Mexico City, and campus minister for two years in Peru.
He left the priesthood “on good terms” three years ago. In the winter, he travels and, so far, has visited 74 countries.
The Spanish language tours are on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. Shoreline’s Michigan Avenue dock is in the northeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge and is open during construction of the Apple store above it.
Source: Loop North News