September 28

Sharon and Nancy (Artz) and me - we're off to Sharon's son's Seattle aerie right on Puget Sound. Such a treat. You'll see!

Sharon is reading for fun, although she says it's a very odd book. Nancy is reading for her book club and not enjoying it all that much - the book that is, the book club is great.
I was on the wrong side of the plane for the mountain views coming up so I caught a few shots out that funky little window back by the toilets.

I think the one in the front is Crater Lake(?) or Mt St Helen's(?) or What? and the one behind is... What? Who knows? It was only about 30 minutes outside Seattle.
We arrived, set down our stuff, went GAGA over the condo, and then went out for a walk.

Look! We can see Mt Rainier!! Sharon has been in Seattle many many times and never had the chance to actually See Mt Rainier. That whole thing about the clouds and the rain in Seattle is based on some truth after all.
Here's part of the restaurant on the pier where we went for a Welcome to Seattle dinner of seafood and view. That's 'our' building there and you can see why the views are so faaabulous from the 27th floor.

What were the first words from our waitress? 'What a glorious day in Seattle!'
This is the view from My BED which is a custom-made giGantic day bed where two people can easily lie in opposite directions. It is situated against floor to ceiling windows and you Know how I love windows. This is looking in one direction...
...and this is the other. It's so lovely I can hardly breathe.
September 29

Dawn-ish (like 7:30 really) out our east facing windows. This is it for cloudy skies so far. The fog lifted and we were once again treated to a blessed day of Seattle sunshine.
Sharon and Nancy checking out what they did yesterday. That's My Bed they're lounging on.

Then we walked to a neighborhood restaurant to eat a vacation breakfast of bacon and eggs...
...followed by a walk to Seattle Center with the Space Needle, the Science Center, the Music Project, and the smack-me-upside-the-head fountain.

The fountain is one of those Dancing Waters extravaganzas and it is a big hit with all viewers.
The fountain is among Sharon's favorite things Ever and since she'd never seen it when the sun was out she'd never seen the rainbows so we all got to have a First Time experience.
It's starting to get to fall here. In the distance you can see some of the surface of the Experience Music Project and the Sci-fi Museum and Hall of Fame.

We had a small dispute regarding this building. I said it was a comic imitation of a Frank Gehry building and Nancy insisted that was in fact a Frank Gehry building. Nancy was right! Gehry did Bilbao in 1997, this mishmash in 1999, and the Disney Center opened in 2003. Just goes to show how wrong a gal can be.
Here we are reflected in the surface of one of the components of this building.
A postcard: Spring in Seattle, Summer in Seattle, Fall in Seattle, Winter in Seattle.

As I write this the next morning I'm sitting on My Bed (with perfect electricity wherever you reach out and excellent lighting and a perfect tray to hold my coffee,) and it does look like this now. We just agreed, hurray for the last two days of sunshine.
We had a lunch-hour break at The Edgewater hotel and from their lobby entrance you can see 'our' building. Fog's all gone lucky lucky.
Doesn't everyone call it Pike's Market? I do. But the actual name is Pike Place Market. Who cares. We were most struck by the quality and low price of the amazing flowers in the flower shops of which there were about two dozen.
And the fish places are remarkable too. See that big fish in the foreground, bottom center, with its mouth open. Before he was just lying across the ice head down. People were gathering around to look at his prehistoric face and his mouth full of teeth and at just the right moment the guy behind the counter pulled a string causing the fish to rear up. Shrieks and hilarity ensued.

We shopped for dinner and got everything for a Major Feast designed and executed by dear Sharon.
Next we took a very entertaining cruise/tour from the city piers around Pike's Market (that's 'our' building there!) through Elliott Bay (the part of Puget Sound that fronts Seattle's shipping channel), around the main part of the city...
...past West Point (this is West Point in the foreground and Mt Rainier behind), through the Hiram Chittenden Locks and down the Lake Washington Ship Canal, and into Lake Union where we got off the boat and a bus transported us back to the pier. It was fun!
Coffee. Seattle's Best. It's a happening thing.
Another sunset from the condo. I never tire of sunset photos.
I enjoy sunset photos so much I can't even choose.
September 30

The Dining Room. Don'cha just loove that chandelier?! All the lights are controlled from these plates with dimmers on everything so you can make those candle babies glow from flicker to blaze. Cool.
We did a sightseeing drive around Queen Ann Hill and pulled off for this photo-op. They are tall, lithe, and blond. I am short, stubby, and grey. Too bad, I simply could not pull off a pass as the third cousin.
The day was so grey I totally needed to add in some color...
Then we drove back to the locks from yesterday so we could see more of the migrating salmon.
Here's the especially built ladder-viewing-station.
Nancy is so sure these guys are meant to be run over and dead. I said not. We're going to give a star to the winner with the correct interpretation.
'Our' building again. All along the street there are shops, markets, restaurants, down a few blocks is Pike's, around the corner and up a few blocks is Seattle Center.

Oh yes it is cool.
October 1

This is from our corner patio looking down onto the lovely 5th floor common area where they also have an inside pool, jacuzzi, and gym. Tonight we will enjoy these facilities. The pool and the jacuzzi anyway.
Blue skies are back! It's funny, at home I hardly ever talk about the weather since it is usually perfect but here where 250 of the year's 365 days are grey, we're talking about the weather every hour or so.

Nancy had to leave this morning and we stopped off in Chinatown on the way to the airport for a nice dim sum lunch. I am told we don't say Chinatown here, it's not pc and it's pan-asian anyway, we say International District.

The place we ate in was The place to eat and the wait was about 45 minutes.

To pass the time we wondered around and came upon this Falun Gong group. It was exactly like the displays in LA but without the group actually doing the meditation. Once again Wikipedia does a good job of introducing you to this practice, history, and current situation that matches what else I've heard. Have a look.
Another way to pass the time - shopping! Nancy bought us all sweet little good luck calendars for 2007. Thank you! And Mazel Tov Hip Hip Hurray on 15 smoke free days!! Hurray!!
After dropping Nancy off Sharon and I just kind of milled around. Sharon found a bathing suit for our trip to the pool and bought a puzzle book. I bought 10 count 'em 10 little pads just like the one I use now and couldn't find more of in LA. We read the paper and admired the view...
...and then we ate a little dinner at 'flying fish', this place across the street that had me smilin'. It reminds me of a cross between maybe Border Grill and Ocean Avenue Seafood.

The food was very very tasty and well prepared, with a touch of humor actually, which doesn't sound so great for food but was in fact delightful. And the seats were exceptionally comfy for which they get 10 extra points.
October 2

That table of perfect plastic sushi is artfully positioned in the tv room (those day beds run from the tv room through the living room and around the corner through the dining room - so very many lolling opportunities) to make you think of sushi about 68 times per day. Yum.
We visited the Japanese Garden this afternoon and hopped on to a tour just as we arrived. It was quite fabulous. We learned so much. What will we remember?

I hope I remember his closing comment: You visit a Japanese Garden to learn how to live your life.
The leaf and the fish - flora and fauna - in sync.
More of the garden.
And then lunch. This is a bit from the fountain in the center of the back patio. Good food, nice environment, and vegetarian much to our surprise.
Then we went to the REI mother ship. Acres of REI and this baaaby. His Grandma knitted that hat and knitted that sweater. Soo sweet.

Then we went to a glass blowing studio, then we went to a book store, then we went to the market, came home and ate dinner, and now we're feet up doing our projects.
October 3

Welcome to Washington State's Olympic Peninsula and the Olympic National Park. What a glory!

All the technical info is here in the Park Service Link.
The section of park along the wild Washington Pacific Coast is quite fabulous.
You have to take this picture. You've got a camera in your hand and there is driftwood. You are compelled by some force greater than your own taste or common sense. You would take this picture too.
The Birds.
Those cabins up on the bluff are part of the National Park accommodations and there is also a lodge and restaurant, and campsites nearby.
This is in the Hoh Rainforest, about a 30 minute drive from the main road. There is a Visitor's Center here but it was closed. Many of the sites are completely closed during the winter and others seem to have limited hours after Labor Day. We never did come upon an open Visitor's Center.
That's Sharon in the middle... the two giant trees on either side at one point lost their footing and took down all the side-by-side trees too.

Here's all about the plants of the Hoh Rainforest. You'll see by reading this how fabulously entertaining is the National Park Service website.
Reflections that bring all cars to a stop.

Isn't that something how the color in the above photo is so much cooler than this. That's just the way it was.
We spent the night in a National Park facility called the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. It was perfection itself for a hundred bucks. What a deal.

We arrived in time to enjoy a hot springs bath just before they closed the pools and then to eat a lovely dinner just before they closed the restaurant and then to crash in our beds at 9pm.
October 4

Day two in the Olympic National Park. We woke up late after going to bed early, refreshed and ready for another turn at the hot springs.

These were our cabins situated at the river's edge. We were entirely happy.
Other cabins were scattered around a meadow-like area (check out those Trees(!)) and all roads led to the lodge and hot springs.
This is steam from one of the feeder springs near the pools.

We left around 11 and later stopped in Port Angeles for lunch. We didn't stop anywhere along the way and still didn't make it back into Seattle until around 4pm.

It's a very big place, the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park. We drove most of both days without a lot of stopping. It was gorgeous and entirely worth it but this quick taste left us looking forward to a more leisurely return trip.
We did the drive in a circle, if you look at it one way, and in a horseshoe if you look at it in another way, with no backtracking no matter which way you look at it, which was good.

Coming in we rode the car ferry from Bainbridge Island and just that was fun. This is pretty much 'the' city view.
Then we met Leslie and Julie's daughter Emily and her boyfriend Zack for dinner. What a treat for me! And thanks kids for taking the time - Sharon and I both had a lovely evening.
October 5

Our last day and blue skies rule. Also 'our' building has become quite the model since I put her in pictures whenever possible. And Sharon too, she's an excellent model. So here's 'our' building and Sharon and the waterfront totem pole.
We're back at Pike's for a farewell visit.
They make cheese here. That big ol' silver tub on the right is full of milk getting stirred by the motorized beater-blades and the tub on the left has the curds blocked up and ready to be packed into weighted storage for A Year when it will be released as cheese.

I bought a small container of the curds and yummy-yummy what a salty rich treat. This is actually the second time I've bought cheese curds and if you've never tried it and if you like cheese, yummy!
And then since it was our very last day I proposed that I was not above The Duck Tour.

It seems every city with a waterfront of any kind operates some version of The Duck Tour. Let's go!
Our driver/guide/Captain who introduced himself as Lee King. Get it get it ha ha. This rather sets the tone.
They drive you around the city some to see sights but it's not that great for sightseeing.

Their claim to fame is the patter ha ha and the music choreographed to the situation at hand - a jogger goes by and he blasts out the theme from Rocky or yells 'Run Forest Run', and we heard the theme from Smokey and the Bandit when we hit the highway, and we heard the theme from Gilligan's Island as we approached the water and the theme from Jaws as we entered, all the while the driver singing along and calling out to passers-by.
A shot from our dip in Lake Union. All in all, fun I'd say. Isn't the Space Needle so cool. It's iconic!

Then we had a nice last dinner out and then came home to read and loll around and clean up and pack.
October 6

It's going home day and it's raining. It rained not one drop while we were here. Go ahead, Rain!
Bye Bye wonderful cozy corner in the sky. See you again soon I hope!

(Hey look, it's Darryl's latest project!)
HomeUSA the West • Washington • '06 Sep: Seattle & the Olympic Peninsula

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