December 2 – When my head hit the pillow the previous night after a day of traveling across the continent followed by a football game, it was for a much needed sleep. Unfortunately, staying in a hotel with so many Eagles fans meant a bit of noise as everyone returned to the hotel after spending some time at the bars around the hotel – it was less than a perfect night of rest.
A bit bleary eyed, I made my way to Zeitgeist Coffee for a jolt. A delicious corn and blueberry muffin and a good cup of coffee got the day off on the right foot:
I didn’t realize how hilly downtown Seattle was. On my map, from the coffee shop to the Columbia Tower office building (where I was going to take in views of Seattle from their 70th floor observation deck) looked to be about a 10 minute walk. Most of those 10 minutes were what seemed to be straight up the side of a mountain. After a good and unexpected workout, I end up there to take in the sights. I had the place mostly to myself. Partway through my time in the observation deck, I had a nice chat with the only other person to visit – Kim from Korea. He seemed to think I came from father away, but I think he had me by about 2,000km. Needless to say, neither of us was close to home. Here are some pictures of the views.
Downtown Seattle (Space Needle in the middle of the frame with Puget Sound to the left):
Closer view of the Space Needle (the red and blue blobs beside it are the Frank Gehry designed Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum):
The two Seattle stadiums (Safeco field, home of the Mariners in the background; CenturyLink Field, home of the Seahawks and site of the Eagles massacre from the night before in the foreground):
View eastward past Mercer Island (on a clearer day, Mt Rainier would be visible)
I had yet to discover the free buses that run throughout downtown Seattle, so I made my way by foot to the Olympic Sculpture Park. This waterfront park features a number of large-format pieces of public art and was a great place to wander around for an hour or so.
Bunyon’s Chess (1965) by Mark di Suvero:
The Eagle (1971) by Alexander Calder
Probably my favourite piece in the park, Typewrite Eraser, Scale X (1999) by Claes Oldenburg:
Love and Loss (2005-2006) by Roy McMakin
Schubert Sonata (1992) by Mark di Suvero
In the park, they had these neat eyeball seats (you can sit behind the eye ball) – loved the whimsy of these:
The views out on Puget Sound were really nice even on this grey day. Here I am before making my way back toward downtown:
I was told that if you have one day in Seattle, you have to see the Pike Place Market. And if you have two days, you should go twice. I’m a huge fan of markets, so this was great advice. Here are a few pics from a slow stroll through the market in the afternoon:
Here’s the Pike Place Fish Market (made very famous on various Food Network shows by their flying fish routine):
The selection of fresh seafood was incredible:
The drawing attention at this fish stand is the throwing and catching of whole fish. I was lucky enough to be standing around when the fish starting flying. Here’s a video of a true Seattle experience.
Just across the street from the market is one of two things depending on your viewpoint: (1) the origin of coffee culture in North America or (2) the thing that started the decline of coffee culture in the rest of the world. Perhaps it can be both. Here it is, the very first Starbucks: