Seattle cups

IMG_5315We landed in Seattle Wednesday night. Late. What follows is from Thursday and upon waking on Friday.

First impressions. The cup provided for coffee at our hotel’s breakfast buffet was a huge mug. Julia needed two packets of powdered hot cocoa to make a full cup. Such is Seattle.

Seattle is a port city and I was reminded of Genoa. In port towns the very industrial process of shipping is visible from roads and overlooks. Lots of  hills in the small portion of Seattle we walked this morning, lots of hilly walks in Genoa. But Seattle it is a city vibrant and expanding, construction on every block. Genoa has not know growth for a long time. Seattle is youthful — shapes and colors are neither staid nor classical. Genoa must have appeared just like this a few hundred years ago.

I want to see more of Seattle but do that well, we would need a car. We contend ourselves for a day with a tiny corner of the downtown city.

We didn’t sleep well and were up very early. After breakfast, we almost opened the Chihuly Museum and Gardens. What a joy to have rooms and pieces almost to ourselves for a short time. I have enjoyed the artist’s work since he put a piece up in the Indianapolis Kids Museum. When it went up, there were demonstrations and hands on experiences for kids that Julia indulged in. The museum and garden in Seattle was room after room of delight. Chihuly is also a collector of art and all sorts of random things. A wall of local native people’s blanket’s is a stunning backdrop for glass and an exhibit in itself. The little cafe has accordions hanging from the ceiling and the entrance is graced with a wall of bottle openers.

I share some of the artist’s loves and so, his collection of pictures of glass houses was a joy—some I recognized, a few especially old ones I had only read about. The glass house at the museum was not a green house but houses an installation hug high was of flowers.

There was one large room with a magnificent glass garden bed and then outside garden beds with glass decorations. Lovely.

The museum and garden inspire Julia and she took more pictures than I did, telling me which ones she was going to use as wall paper for her phone and iPad. Pictures do not really do the work justice.

After the museum we just walked. I was tired—our first plane yesterday was late, making our connection very close. I planned eating between those flights and we did not. Then the second flight was delayed after we boarded, waiting for pilots. It was after eleven when are arrived at our hotel and although I would have been happy to go to sleep without eating, Julia was starving. We found an open pub a few blocks from the hotel, ate and trudged back to bed. We fell asleep quickly but before 6, we were up. I am up at 6 on Friday as well but we went to bed earlier and Julia still snoozes beside me.

I thought we would walk on Thursday and then nap but neither of us was nap worthy in the late afternoon, We had dinner with friends. Early. I hoped for more sleep. Not sleeping is usually not a travel concern. Perhaps good conversation will put us where we need to be to get the rest we need for ship boarding on Friday.

So, back to just walking. We headed to the Olympic Sculpture Park. The late morning had turned blue skied sunny and warm. (Ok, I get the layers thing. I’ve been taking off and putting on a jacket all day!) We walked, we sat, we enjoyed some sculpture and the water views.

I hadn’t meant to go further than the Sculpture Garden but it was not even noon and we seemed to be half way to Pike Place Market. The Market was busy, chaotic and crowded. It was touristy and reminded me of the markets of China and the cancha of Chocabamba with a bit of the Lower East Side thrown in. Are all city markets related? In the chaos were stalls of flowers, cheap and colorful. Both of us wanted to buy bouquets. The fish stalls were works of art and the temptation to buy would have been hard to resist if we had access to a stove. We get adequate sea food in Madison but I forget what a city by water offers.

We went searching for of a candle shop of a friend’s friend. I enjoy a good hunt and julia played along. It was a dismal failure. But fun have something to ask of so many strangers. We never found a map of the market, if one exists, and no one could help us. A bookseller, the kind who knows each book in his shop and is eager to talk about all of them said that people on one end of the market had no idea of who was on the other. A slight exaggeration, I think. The market is a multi-floor warren but even warrens have internal organization.

The walk back to our hotel was more manageable for some little understanding of streets. Having a landmark like the Space Needle appear between buildings and then dominate the sky at times is ever so helpful.

We had a very nice pizza/pasta/salad meal at one of the Tutta Bellas with friends. We visited with the son (and his family) of the first friend I made in NYC. I had not seen his wife in years and had never met his sons. After time with his kids, I recognized my friend’s little son, the demeanor and sensibility, the sweetness and sharp mind. To see the father in his son is such a gift.

Julia enjoyed the boys. I never know if she will socialize or bury her head in some workbook or iPad. The boys were young enough or sensitive enough not to be put off by her disjointed and self centered conversation attempts and, almost strangely, taken on her own terms, Julia’s conversation appeared more typical than usual. Yes, the boys are much younger than she is but it is more than youth that make the communication possible. Sometimes there is magic in sweetness and acceptance.

I am more than grateful.

I hope we find more time for Julia to be with kids in the next week.

The unexpected experiences of travel do not disappoint.

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