Friday, August 24, 2012

Pacific Northwest Day One - Seattle

Okay, technically it wasn't Day One.  We flew out of Philadelphia late in the evening (even later because of delays) and got into Portland at 2:30 am.  Yes, it was every bit as ... wonderful as it sounds, especially since the car rental place had closed already. But the bus to the hotel was fine, and the room was actually lovely and we were all asleep by 3:30 or so. Except that I woke by 7 because it was, ya know, 10am by my body clock. 

After we all dragged ourselves out of bed and ate and showered and picked up the car, we met my sister and her family for lunch, which was actually wonderful, and then packed up and hit the road for Seattle. Our nominally 3 hour trip took an extra hour + because of traffic, but we checked in to our hotel and headed over to our dear friend J's house for dinner.  Dinner was tasty and fun and the kids were having so much fun (she has two boys, one William's age and one a couple years younger) that it was well after 9pm before we headed out of there - after only getting a couple of hours sleep the night before.  To say that we went back to our hotel and crashed would be an understatement.

We slept in the next morning, so we missed the hotel breakfast.  But our plan was to go to Pike Place Market, then the Seattle Center Chihuly Glass exhibit in the afternoon, so surely there must be something breakfast-like at Pike Place, right?

Our hotel was in Georgetown, just south of the actual city of Seattle.  It was really quite convenient, although driving past all the docks was scenic only in the "wow, that's a lot of cranes!" sense.

Breakfast was from Piroshky Piroshky and it was beyond delicious. Russian pastries - Rachel and William had apple, JC had sausage, I had cranberry and sweet cheese, and John had some marionberry thing that was beautiful. Walk by the shop and you'll be hungry just from the smell. Tastes as good as it smells.

This is the famous fish stand that throws fish.  We stood there for a while, along with a LOT of other people, waiting for them to throw something, but they only do that if somebody BUYS something.
After lunch, we decided to walk down to the Olympic Sculpture Garden, en route to the Seattle Center.  We didn't quite realize just how far it was, but we were rewarded with this sculpture installation under an overpass.

Don't really know what it was or why, but it was interesting.  Except for the garbage.

The Olympic Sculpture Garden is lovely, has a nice view of the harbor, and the building is not open on Mondays.  Bummer.  But there is a bathroom downstairs in the parking deck, if you are in need.
Walk uphill/inland 2-3 blocks, and you end up at Seattle Center.  It's been renovated in the last year or so from a rather run-down bunch of kiddie rides to a very nice art and civic center.  The complex includes the Space Needle (obviously), several sculpture installations, and the Experience Music Project, which we didn't visit (ran out of time).

We actually stood under and around this sculpture for quite a while, because the helicopter was taking off from the TV station across the street.

It was cool.

Actually got all three kids to "pose", sort of.  I believe this was a Louise Nevelson.

We actually spent an hour or so at the new Chihuly Glass exhibit, but I will save that for a separate post.  As part of buying the tickets for that, you could get fairly cheap tickets for the Space Needle, so I did.  The line was long, although probably not as bad as some times.  It was worth the wait, though.

We got to see several sea planes taking off from Lake Union, which was really cool.

Looking back towards Pike Place Market, downtown Seattle, etc.
Our only miscalculation of the day was the distance we walked away from our car.  By the time we were done at Seattle Center, the prospect of a mile+ walk back to Pike Place Market was really out of the question.  We were lucky enough to find a good restaurant across the street from the Space Needle (yay Sport! Convenient AND yummy!). But we realized we could take the monorail back to downtown, then just walk a few blocks downhill to Pike Place, and that worked out just fine. The interesting thing was that by then, about 8pm, it was clear that downtown was pretty much closed for the night.  There were bars and nightclubs open, but any shopping was over. Given our hangover from the strange sleep and time change, that was probably just as well, because we were pretty over as well.

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