Saturday, June 10, 2017

Exploring Iconic Seattle

We are happy to have two special guests with us as we visit the most iconic sites of Seattle. Our youngest son and his girl-friend are visiting us for a few days. The four of us were up early this Sunday morning, as we have a special treat planned. We made the 40-minute drive into the city to get in the long line at the Wooden Boat Center on Lake Washington.

We were here early to sign up for the free Sunday wooden boat rides. There were seven different boats, and each had multiple sailing times this afternoon. Some of our options included a ride on the Virginia, which can hold up to 150 passengers.

Another option was the tiny Puffin. That was a tempting choice considering that passengers had the opportunity to toot the Puffin's horn as they left the dock.

Some of the boats were already filled by the time we got to the front of the line, but we were thrilled with our option to ride on a 12-passenger wooden sail boat. We were outfitted with our stylish personal flotation devices before we left the dock.

Our only safety talk included a reminder to watch your head when the sail's boom has to be rotated to catch the breeze. This was such a great opportunity to experience an old sail boat, and we couldn't believe it is available for free on Sundays thanks to the Center for Wooden Boats!

The Admirable is an eighty-year-old sail boat that used to be a fishing vessel in the waters off Alaska. Its crew went out on fishing trips that usually lasted six days, filling the bottom of the wooden boat with their catch. Some of the fish were six days old by the time they sailed back to the cannery at the end of the week. So it was good it was being canned instead of eaten fresh. It was a beautiful day on Lake Washington. There was almost no wind, so the crew had to do a little rowing until the breeze filled our sails.

During our 45-minute sailing, we were entertained by the sea planes that take off and land on Lake Washington. As you can see, we had a front row seat to this one landing not far from the bow of our boat.

Another reason to tour Seattle on a Sunday is that many of the parking spaces are free that day. So we left the car parked in its free space, and walked the half-mile to Seattle Center, home of the iconic space needle.

Seattle Center is also home to MoPOP--the Museum of Pop Culture. We didn't go inside, but we enjoyed its towering walls covered with iridescent tiles. Besides making a fun background, those tiles also capture the squiggly reflection of the space needle on the right.

This park also includes a space-ship-like fountain that spews water in all directions. It was a little cool, but there were still a few children playing in the fountain. There was also one older kid that made a daring run into the center of the spray to retrieve a water bottle that some litterer carelessly left behind.

Claire remembers all these locations with fond nostalgia, as this park is also home to the rehearsal halls of the Pacific Northwest Ballet. She spent two summers here during high school, training with this prestigious group. All that training was not in vain, as she struck a classic ballet pose in front of their sign.

Blake obviously spent his summers playing baseball and basketball, as his pose was not nearly as beautiful.

 A couple bronze whales just happened to break the surface of the grass lawn as we walked past, so Mark and Blake hopped aboard for a ride. Like Father--like son.

All Denisa could catch was the whale tale.

There were other sculptures throughout the park that just begged to be climbed and photographed. So we did just that!

We also found some interesting floral displays that look like purple lollipops.

But each one of those lollipops is actually made up of hundreds of tiny purple flowers. Sometimes we wander into God's wonders in the most unexpected places!

We could have walked another mile to get to Pike's Market, but we opted to drive the car instead. There is no such thing as free parking here on Sunday, because the market is always busy!

Claire loves sunflowers, and Seattle is one of the best places to buy flowers. They have gorgeous bouquets that are surprisingly inexpensive. 

Most of these bouquets sell for $10-15 dollars. Denisa would have taken one of those home, but she didn't want to carry it around Seattle. We needed both hands as we were ready to eat our way through Pike's Market.

We ate Spicy Jalapeno macaroni and cheese at Beecher's Handmade Cheese. That was the only food that we remembered to photograph. We also ate clam chowder and sour dough bread at Pike Place Chowder. That was followed with a berry yogurt at Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt. Blake had researched the iconic food options of the Pike Place Market, so we had an interesting combination for lunch.

Our two young coffee drinkers also braved the very long line to buy a drink at the very first Starbucks. You can barely see them waving at the end of the line.

Denisa and Mark are obviously too young to like coffee. So they used this time as an opportunity to watch the cruise ships load up a whole new group of happy cruisers heading to Alaska for a week.

Pike's Market is a crowded place on a Sunday afternoon, with tourists and locals going shoulder to shoulder down the aisles.

There are lovely produce stands . . .

and lots of fresh sea food for sale.

There is always a crowd at the Pike Place Fish Market. This is the place where they motivate their fish mongers to also be crowd entertainers. Most of the entertainment includes throwing the fish from its icy display case . . .

to the guys in the back that will weigh and package it. In the picture below, look for the big fish flying through the air. Even if business is slow, these guys still throw fish just to please all the tourists.

We closed down Pike's Market, and then we headed to Ballard--one of the many iconic neighborhoods of Seattle. We played some shuffleboard and ate some sushi. These young kids are teaching these old dogs some new tricks, and keeping us out way to late!

But we are sure enjoying our time with Blake and Claire, as we continue to explore Seattle.

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