Seattle, the Emerald City (Part II)

After our first two days in Seattle, we switched to a different AirBnB located in the Capitol Hill area for days three and four because we were being joined by my brother-in-law and some friends. We had some time to kill before they arrived, so we walked down by Lake Union, a giant lake in the middle of Seattle, and back toward the Space Needle. The Pacific Science Center and the Chihuly Garden and Glass (both of which are included in the City Pass) are at the foot of the Needle; I chose glass, husband chose science.

I took a glass blowing class one evening a few years ago and would have loved to continue with regular courses, but it wasn’t realistic on a graduate student’s income. I find it mesmerizing and I love seeing the layers added and then blended by heating, reheating, blowing, twisting… It requires such a feel for the medium. Anyway, the artist, Chihuly, clearly had the gift. His work recognized the best feature glass has to offer, that is, incredibly vibrant colors. His pieces and installations are whimsical, encapsulating, and vibrant. He has a workshop in Tacoma which I definitely want to visit someday. Overall, I loved it, my favorite attraction in the city.

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None of the food from the rest of our trip is worth reporting on. Much of it was overpriced ($75 for two low average sandwiches and three beers!!! What the heck?) and disappointing—the Seattle food scene has nothing on Minneapolis. Ignore the Yelp reviews for places to eat downtown; they lie.

We took a boat tour (also part of the City Pass) after an overpriced lunch. It started to rain and visibility was limited, but the sun did peek out during our voyage and we ended up with a pretty great view of the city. We also ventured past the manmade shipping island. It’s pretty incredible to think about the coming and goings off the material culture we use every day and how it gets to us…

I snuck in a quick visit to Target before meeting up with the rest of our party, then we had an ok dinner, and spent the evening catching up. The next morning, we took a stroll down by Lake Union again, but ventured closer to the harbor behind the Center for Wooden Boats and Museum of History and Industry where seven or so old boats on display as part of their collections (both of these places were on my potential list to visit, but we just ran out of time – they look worth seeing when the weather is nice!). In contrast to these decommissioned vessels, the lake is active. Small prop planes regularly land and take off along the water here and are interesting to watch.

In the afternoon, we went to the Museum of Pop Culture, a funky and whimsical multi-level building dedicated to exploring things that are of interest to contemporary society. There were sections on “The Lure of Horror Films,” fantasy, sci-fi, gaming, and rock music. The first three had a lot of props from movies and television series, which were kind of neat to see. I was looking forward to their Nirvana exhibit, but that was closed for construction sadly. If you aren’t into any of the categories I’ve listed, you can skip this museum.


The next day, and our final one in Seattle, the weather was cold and rainy. We already planned to head to the Burke Museum on the University of Washington campus (beautiful university, we caught it just in time for the cherry blossoms!). I knew of the museum primarily because it was a temporary repository for some very contested ancient remains, but had also heard good things about its ethnographic collections. The upstairs was dedicated to natural history going back as far as the sea life of the Mesozoic, through dinosaurs, ancient sea mammals, to mammoths and humans in the area. The lower level was an exhibit called, “Voices of the Pacific,” which had art, religion, music, and/or history from nearly every culture in the Pacific. The organization of the exhibit really demonstrated the rich cultural diversity across the vast ocean and highlighted the importance of marine life for many of the regions.

After warming up with some ok-ramen, and stopping for some delicious macaroons, our friends were nice enough to drop us off at the train station. We are actually on our way to Vancouver as I write (on Sunday night). Hopefully we will have a bit of time to see our new city before it’s all work this week.

P.S. I finished my jellybeans. Yes, an entire bag in 34 hours.


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