We took a water taxi first thing (that’s a ferry boat to you and me – not a Venice style water taxi! From Pier 50 across to West Seattle. You get a lovely view from the water back to Downtown Seattle. We found a bench at West Seattle with a plaque dedicated to “Elizabeth Moore – an Absolutely Fantastic Mom!” – what a great epitaph – in Britain, we would have put something somber about the view she always enjoyed etc
. etc. – I like this so much better!
The city is fairly compact, so we were easily able to see all we wanted on foot. Pike Place Market was our next stop and we were very impressed with the vast array of gourmet market stalls there. Mostly fish and flowers, but also pasta, cheese and some unusual shops selling dried apple chips, herbs and spices and cheesecakes. There was an all pervading smell of cinnamon from the many stalls selling breads and pastries. The first ever Starbucks is just across the road from the market – there is no photo as it looks exactly like all the others! The stall holders were a lively bunch, singing and throwing out their fish to people who bought it. There were lots of street artists around too, so there was music in the air and a lively, happy ambience.
Then, we headed off to the Seattle Centre
The sun was quite strong by now and lit up the fountain as hoards of school children in standard issue T shirts danced around in the water getting soaked and having a great time. The Space Needle towers above the fountain, but we decided not to go unit as the downtown views from the water were much better.
The city was lively, but not at all busy. I was expecting crowded sidewalks, but there were really very few people around and the whole feel of the place was calm and spacious.
The highlight of the day was a visit to Chihuly Garden and Glass, an exhibition that explores the inspiration and influences of northwest artist Dale Chihuly. The artist states that he wants people to be overwhelmed with light and colour in a way they have never experienced before. Well, we most certainly were! He aims for his glass pieces to look as though they could have grown naturally and the overall impact achieved just that.
It was amazing that there were no barriers or guard rails around the exhibits – how easy it would have been for someone – especially a child – to stumble and fall into the delicate glass pieces with disastrous consequences. No-one did though – maybe because we were all too much in awe of the artistry. Another stated aim of the artist was to encourage people to spend more time in gardens and conservatories and more time admiring art because both can transport you to a new and different world. Yes, I can safely say that aim was also achieved.
The Olympic Sculpture Park was a bit of a let down after the inspiration of Chihuly. As a way of reclaiming what must have been pretty scrappy, derelict land alongside the far end of the waterfront, it was a pretty good achievement. The sculptures did little for me on the whole though – give me glass and gardens any time!
A great day in a sunny Seattle – jet lag was completely absent. Maybe it was the spinach last night – or (more likely) – it was the all pervading waft of cinnamon that kept me going. enjoy the photos!