September 23

Flying into Seattle this afternoon we did a big circle around the city. The red arrow points to The Condo.
From The Condo, The View.
Looking further to the right. Is this not a knockout or what?! Sharon's son's condo in Seattle - such a delight.

(Looks like the 'from before' of September's photos are coming even later than later.)
September 24

See those two ships docked in the upper right. One of them is heading out for a two and a half month journey and one of Sharon's friends is on that ship. We tried to hook up for a bon voyage but the magic didn't work. We had to say Bon Voyage from the window.
We ate an early lunch at Pike Place Chowder. I got the four cup sampler and they were all delicious. Sharon had been reading a fish cookbook and we were talking non-stop about fish soups so this was a perfect choice.

The guy standing by the wall singing and playing his guitar was quite excellent. We saw maybe a dozen buskers out and about today and they were all very good. It seems like you have to audition to play on the street here.
A charming and colorful shop along the street leading into...
...the great Pike Place Market.
It was packed inside. How I got this shot I don't know, but I'm glad to be able to show some of the quite fabulous neon that brightens the shop signs throughout the market.
Five bucks for these bouquets. There is at least an acre of flower bouquet places here at Pike Place Market.
I made a study of available happy hour menus within two blocks of The Condo and there were several.

The first very highly rated place we tried was so loud with the Boom!Boom! interrupting my heartbeat 'music' I made us move on. The next choice was this Japanese place. It was tasty and fun. This crowd was having tons of fun too. Maybe we'll find a few more. The neighborhood where we are, Belltown, has many many restaurants on every block.
Ahh, good night.
September 25

What a day. Seattle in the SUN so Sharon and I and the Kings - Lucas, Betsy, Xander, and Anya, who live in Seattle now - hustled our way up to the top of the Space Needle for a great hit of vist-o-rama.

Wow-eee, Mount Rainer, visible in all her towering glory.
Here's a closer shot, co-starring The Condo, the tallest building in the lower right.
Lucas and Anya enjoying the view.
Yes, reflect-o. That's me and Sharon and Betsy and Strangers.
On the opposite side from Mount Rainer we find Baker's Peak(?) on the left and another peak I have to find the name of on the right, Union Lake and bigger in the distance in the upper right, Lake Washington.
Back in the park we got lunch in the food court where this band was playing. I Loved this band, and they played pretty well too.

I could play with these guys. They reminded me of the band that, in recent decades, I did play with - the UCLA Alumnae No Marching Band. (I'm not a UCLA Alum but they took me anyway because I called myself a CalGal...)

I'm thinking they each got their own uniform at the thrift store.
We took our lunch to the fountain and had a lovely time eating and watching the dancing waters. Xander could contain himself only so long until...
...he just HAD to join the other kids and get himself soaked to the skin.
Bye sweetie, see you later!
Back home, the evening brings a harvest moon low and large glowing through the city skyline.
September 26

Good Morning! After yesterday's brilliance this was not so unexpected. We decided to drive places today.
First off the Seattle Art Museum, called SAM in all the literature. SAM was quite obsessed with himself and Picasso Picasso Picasso. Every ad, every bus bench, every entry on the website, everything Picasso Picasso.

They are getting a big show from the Musée National Picasso in Paris and they are beside themselves with delight. It opens October 8 and we leave October 3. We could have heard about something other than the Picasso show we won't be able to enjoy!
The permanent collection that was available was surprisingly exactly as it was two years ago when we went in 2008. I liked it then and I like it now especially the display of Pacific Northwest tribal arts and crafts.
These textiles will make nice backgrounds.
By lunchtime rain was no longer threatening much so we walked down to the waterfront for a meal at Elliot's.

It was great - the lunch special was many choices of a seafood sandwich and a seafood soup so we got two different sandwiches and two different soups. All four were completely recommendable and the service was superb.
Next stop - the REI Mothership. Sharon got a new raincoat. They had 5,250 from which to choose.

Then we did a tour of our favorite grocery store, and then home. I'm just out of the steam-shower where I have washed and steamed myself into a pleasant pink state of glowy clean.
Speaking of pink, I copied all these from the internet from last years event, a 3-Day Walk to fight breast cancer where you are supposed to make 20 miles a day and collect $2,300 in donations. I didn't see that there was any particular route.

The sidewalks were packed with groups large and small the participants walking in various degrees of comfort and variously decked out in fabulous costumes. It was colorful and full of purpose.

(internet pix)
It looked just like this. Good night!
September 27

It's Monday today and the first two things we set out to do were closed so we decided what the heck let's drive to Olympia, capital of the state of Washington. They were open.
It's a very small place. In the 2000 census the population was 43,000. They think they're up to 50,000 now. As a comparison, the capacity of the Rose Bowl is 92,000.
It's cute, and has a storied Pacific Northwest history. Ms Wiki can tell you all about it.
It got to be lunch time mighty quick so we ate yet another lovely fish meal.

The dome in the distance is the capitol. .
. .we got a private tour, just us and Bob who led us around and told us stories. It was plenty big fun!
After our tour of the seat of government we drove on to see the Tumwater Falls and the now defunct Olympia Brewing Company.
When you're down in there walking along the path all you can hear is the roaring water but actually the river is surrounded by highways just out of sight.
The main part of the falls and we saw fish heading up stream, really.

At the beginning of the park, where the brewery once operated, is an extensive fish hatchery operation and fish ladder. It was interesting as well as beautiful.
September 28

We were out of The Condo today at 5:30 In The Morning to drive to Anacortes to catch the ferry to visit Vancouver Island for a couple nights.

Waiting for the ferry a crowd gathered here admiring the family of otters playing by the shore.
Sharon, enjoying the scenery from the ferry window. It was some foggy but still a gorgeous trip as we made our way through the San Juan Islands.
We stopped at one of the islands for a quick unload and load. The fog was lifting by now.
And then, there we were, in the heart of historic Victoria and in view of the iconic Empress Hotel.

See those trees in the front - we saw similar guys in a few other places. We thought they were bog monsters but then...
...we decided they were the country cousins of Mr Snuffleupagus.
More from the Empress. They had the big front entrance closed off. The front room is where they were serving High Tea, their signature offering, so everyone used this side door to get in.
Victoria is the capital of the Canadian Province of British Columbia and this is the Parliament Building.

Oh Canada.
Great tree. We ate lunch in town and then went to our hotel rather early, tired because of the early wakeup.

The town seemed pretty much wrapped-up for the season. The flower baskets that hang from every lamp post - gone. The action-packed wharf scene - only a few wood carvers left. The pedi-cabs - didn't see one.

Tomorrow we're going to Butchart Gardens. The weather promises to be bright and clear so that should be great even out of season.
September 29

On the way back from Butchart Gardens (photos below) we took a little spin through the countryside and along their Wine Road through the several small (and closed) wineries of the area. Water water everywehre.
Then we enjoyed a visit to Fisherman's Village in Victoria and lunch at a nearby restaurant...
...followed by a tour 'Up Island' to a place unlike Fisherman's Village, the small real fisherman's village of Cowitchen Bay where we bought a bag of cookies from the local bakery and I ate them all.
Here's one view from the place we were staying, the English Inn. I'll try to get a more representative one as this is not the main building. We liked it.
Victoria BC = Butchart Gardens.
The first big vista, this of the sunken garden.

Some wiki-facts: Butchart has more than a million visiters a year. They count the establishment of the gardens as in 1904 when Richard and Jennie Butchart made their home near their quarry, site of what is now this very sunken garden.
What excellent Victorian colors especially appropriate since the garden is designed around the Victorian model.
Yup, reflect-o.
They cut a peep-hole in a giant hedge.
One picture of waay too many pictures.
When we saw this from a distance we thought oh look, a waterfall. But no, it's a dancing waters fountain.

Some more wiki-facts: In 1939, the Butcharts gave the Gardens to their grandson Ian Ross (1918–1997) on his 21st birthday. Ross was involved in the operation and promotion of the gardens until his death 58 years later. Ownership of the Gardens remains within the Butchart family; the owner and managing director since 2001 is the Butchart's great-granddaughter Robin-Lee Clarke.
Some bits from the Japanese garden.
All the plantings are very dense, always fresh, always blooming...
...and the layouts are quite spectacular.
So long Butchart Gardens, see you next time!
September 30

Pictures of the English Inn where we stayed in Victoria, from their website. We couldn't find the top view, which was odd since that's the view on their postcards. Still, it's the right feeling, and we enjoyed our stay.
On the last morning we had a free hour before needing to make our way to the ferry. This park was just a couple blocks from the inn.
There was a fabulous walking trail that was constantly busy with dogs. You can see five here. We must have seen fifty altogether.

Speaking of trails, the whole area we visited was chock-o-block with gorgeous walking trails and bike paths set off from the main road. It was quite wonderful as is Seattle in this respect. It's been mighty impressive with the walking and biking opportunities that all seem well-used.
I couldn't shut up about these berry vines that are everywhere. Oh, look at that. Wow, more. Can you believe all this food just by the side of the road.

Everywhere I tell you.
The car ferry.
It was a glorious ride, clear, bright, crisp. That's Mount Baker.
Then on our return to Seattle we stopped off at the market, settled ourselves at The Condo, cooked a fish dinner, and took in the sunset over Puget Sound. Ahh.
October 1

If you are ever deciding where to stay in Seattle let me recommend Belltown. That's The Condo's neighborhood and there is everything right here.

Sooo many restaurants, cafés, and clubs, Pike Place, the waterfront, Pioneer Square, the Quest Stadium, art museums and galleries, tons of shops of every description, the Space Needle, Science Center, etc., all these within walking distance. Sooo good.
This morning we walked over to the Olympic Sculpture Park, part of our old friend SAM...
...who of course has to tell us again about PicAaaaaso Picasso Picasso. They are obsessed.
Richard Serra's Wake from 2004. When you're standing down in there you will feel surrounded by the tidal waves and the battleships they are meant to evoke.

Click on this link for Seattle 2008 to see a couple more pictures of this work and a few others as well.
Wake, from the path.
I can't find who did this one. It's a mobile-swinging-sculpture and we both wanted it for our respective back yards.
Here we have a piece by 'Seattle-based sculptor Whiting Tennis'. What piece is that? you ask. It's the old washer and dryer put out in the field to look like abandoned trash, which looks like abandoned trash so he did make his point.

The name of the work is Sharon doesn't like it.
The Condo! fronted by a sculpture that serves as a bridge and lovely covered walkway.

Teresita Fernandez Seattle Cloud Cover, 2004-2006. I like it! When you look at the sky through the glass of the covered walkway you can 'experience the images of changing skies'.

The brochure advises 'one recognizes how images of nature influence the way we see nature'. Oh well, you know, they have to write Something.
Alexander Calder's Eagle, 1971. You can enjoy this guy from all his angles. He's actually red - I have to figure out what went wrong with his color...
The Olympic Sculpture Park has its own beach which includes this view.
The Condo, reflected in her neighbor.
Then we enjoyed Pioneer Park and the surrounding neighborhood. More more down here, and fabulous old bank-insurance-housing-manufacturing buildings repurposed into a trendy 'hood.
A total hole-in-the-wall, meaning the shop, Salumi, was the size of the doorway, specializing in handmade cured meats.

You can buy sandwiches and a few selections of plated food. This food gets a 27 rating from Zagat. 27 out of 30 for $7.50. Gotta try a thing like that. We got two of the selections. I think the fennel and black pepper salami sandwich was worth the 27. The meatball sandwich, although perfectly good but not that special to me.
Evening at The Condo. Yup.
October 2

We spent the afternoon today with Lucas, Betsy, Xander, and Anya in Edmonds, about 20 minutes north of Seattle. This was my first chance to visit their new home and what a perfect place it is!

Here's Lucas mixing us up a welcome to Edmonds treat.
The kids share a big room upstairs.

They have set out some of their favorite things. Notice how you cannot mistake the girl's side from the boy's side.
Anya created these necklaces where the pieces fit together, hearts for the girls and circles for the boys. The girls are snuggly and the boys are goofing off. Yup.
LBX&A grew some zucchini this season and forgot about one. It grew into a mutant zucchini bigger than a really big baby. Sharon, who birthed a really big baby, could attest that this zucchini was bigger.
A view from the learning room where Betsy homeschools the kids.
This was the last day of the summertime weekly Edmonds Farmer's Market. We had a lot of fun.

Edmonds has plenty to say for itself. It has a lively arts scene, a well-preserved and charming downtown, tech jobs for an educated population, easy access to all types of outdoor recreation opportunities, easy access to Seattle, a good selection of housing, nice.
At the market.
Like at Pike Place, tons and tons of five dollar bouquets are the norm.
Then we got designer pizza from a mobile pizza stand and ate it at picnic tables in this swell park by the Sound.
What a great afternoon...And what a coupl'a cuties!
October 3

It's the packing-it-up morning and I took a couple of farewell shots of my seat in the window box - My Corner nestled in The View in The Condo.
Good bye fabulous Condo, until next time!
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