Monday, November 17, 2008

Seattle - July 15 - 19, 2006

I went to Seattle with Melanie and her friend Sin.     Lots of people have asked me, "Why Seattle?"  and I say "Why not?"  I've heard so many good things about that place and have always wanted to see it, so off we went....

Our first stop was to the Chilhuly Bridge of Glass.     Dale Chilhuly is my favorite glass artist and this bridge in Tacoma, WA showcases his work.   

As you walk across the bridge, first you'll come across the "Venetians"....
They look kind of like flower vases from outer space  (sorry about the picture - Melanie didn't notice that her camera was on a night setting, so everything came out really blue for the first few shots).    When you get up close to the vases, they're quite stunning in all their detail:

Next on the bridge, you see the Glass Towers, which remind me of gigantic rock candy.   Each piece of glass looked kind of like a blue ice cube

And then finally, you get to my favorite part - the Seaform Pavillion.    The Seaforms are installed in the ceiling and you walk underneath them.   It felt a little like being under the sea.   (Hmm... I feel a song coming on....   I feel just like Ariel!)

I love all the shapes and colors as you walk underneath these displays - sooooo cool!

Next we were on to the Duck Tour.   The "Ducks" are these old WWII era amphibious vehicles - they can drive on land AND float on water!

We went through downtown Seattle and across the lock into (and onto) Lake Union.  It was a really neat tour.  It gave us a good orientation for the city (it was the first tour we did) and seeing life on the houseboats on Lake Union was really neat.  

And we even saw the houseboat that was used in the movie "Sleepless in Seattle"

And one of the boats from the Discovery Channel's  "Deadliest Catch":
As you can tell, I really liked this tour.   I highly recommend it!

Next we went out to the Alki Point Lighthouse, which extends out into the Puget Sound, but unfortunately it was closed.  So we climbed up the stairs of an apartment complex so I could take a picture in front of the lighthouse:

And then we went out for fish & chips   :-)

The next day, we headed out to Pike Place Market - I couldn't wait to see that!   I had heard so many things about it - from flying fish to flower markets to souvenirs and restaurants!   And I was NOT disappointed!

I could have hung out here every day!   They have everything!  Fruits & veggies, seafood, flowers, clothing, souvenirs.....

We even saw the fish-tossing guys that you see on every travel show about Seattle - and of course, in the book "Fish!" which is about improving morale at work:

This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip - here I am with a bunch of new friends:  

This pig is the symbol of the market.   She has a name (I can't think of what it is, but I'll look it up).   People put money in her and it goes to charity.
Did you know the very first Starbucks was at the Pike Place market?     And can you further believe we didn't go there????

We went to a fun dinner show at the Tillicum Village.   It included a boat ride across the sound.  It gave us a really good view of Mt. Rainier (hiding behind some haze - but really, it was there!):
And of the Seattle skyline:

I have to admit, the dinner at this dinner show (a salmon bake, it promised), wasn't that great, but we really enjoyed the native dancing!

We also went on the Seattle Underground tour.   This was a really interesting walk through Seattle's history.   Did you know that because the city flooded so much in the early days, they essentially buried the first floor of every building and moved the street level up to the second floor?    There are still tunnels below ground where the original sidewalks were.    It was interesting, but kind of hot and smelly :-)

And of course, we went all the way to the top of the Space Needle - I mean, you can't go to Seattle and not do that, right?

Of course, this was right about the time that I discovered that Sin is afraid of heights....

The view from the Space Needle was AMAZING!   We could see all of Seattle!

On our last full day, we went to the Chittenden Locks.   I've never seen Locks before.  I had heard about them - how they allow you to change the water level in a canal so boats can get through between two bodies of water that are at different elevations.    I've never seen them in action before though - in fact, I've never actually seen them before:It was a pretty interesting process - the boats would come into the lock and tie off.  They'd have to wait there while the water level rose (or fell) - adjusting the line they were tied off to in the meantime.     When the water was at the right level, the gates behind me would swing open and the boats could go through to the next level.

Now, this is Seattle, right?  So what happens to the poor salmon trying to get upstream to lay their eggs?   Well, they have that all figured out - they've built a salmon ladder right next to the locks so that the salmon can swim freely up the waterway to their mating grounds without getting trapped.    There's even a viewing area where you can go down below the water line and watch the salmon go by.

Finally....  Well, one of the many many wonderful things about Seattle is the food!    We had friends who used to live there or visit there frequently tell us about all sorts of wonderful places to visit - and I think we ate our way from one end of the city to the other!   So I'll leave you with pictures from some of the great places we ate to leave you salivating.....

This last dessert was from Ray's Boathouse - it's a Banana Foster Trifle - TO DIE FOR.   We all highly recommend it.

I really enjoyed traveling with Mel's friend Sin.   She's a lot of fun and game to try any new thing.   She did threaten to glue my feet to a stick to make it easier to hold me for pictures, which I didn't appreciate, but I think I can forgive her for that  :-)

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