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Seattle Vancouver

22nd May 2010

Harbour Cruise and the Seattle Art Museum

    No commuter train today so I took the express bus to the city; $2.50 for a 30 mile trip, it would cost me that to travel 1.5 miles in Ipswich.
Baseball Stadium with Retractable Roof
Occidental Street
    Today started off warm and dry, ideal for a cruise around Elliot Bay. Of course it was a lot cooler out on the bay, but that doesn't stop the enjoyment. A lad, Chris, gave quite a good commentary, though I was detecting that different tour guides had contradictions. The cruise gave a different perspective of the city skyline, with the distant Cascade Mountains peeping through in the background. In the opposite direction the snow covered Olympic Mountains loomed. They were massive and stretched far across to the Pacific Ocean, and supposedly created a rain shadow for Seattle. A rain forest existed on the ocean side of them.
Yacht on Elliot Bay
with Olympic Mountains in the Background
    As part of his entertainment, Chris was asking for a show of hands from folk who came from different time zones across the States, and then proceeded to ask them from what city. Having exhausted America, he swiftly moved on to the rest of the world. He collared me eventually. "Where ya from buddy?". "England", I replied. "Whereabouts?". "Ipswich". He replied "Ipswich in England", and stood there like one o'clock half struck......
    After the cruise I took in some more of Pike Place Market. Being Saturday, it was even busier than yesterday. There were numerous outlets where you could obtain food: the handmade cheese shop (probably the last unprocessed cheese I'll see for some time), a Russian bakery selling savory and sweet pastries with tempting fillings, and not to forget the original 1912 Starbucks coffee house. The queues were horrendously long and I resisted the temptation.
Seattle Skyline
Pike Place Market Peppers
Pike Place Market Chillies
    I just had to go and visit the Seattle Art Museum. The main exhibition at the time was Kurt Cobain's impact on art, but I found the American section reflecting how the west was opened up much more stimulating. There was much African and native American art on display and a huge porcelain collection. The European section was full of paintings from the renaissance to the 19th century, but I didn't recognise any of the artists. Perhaps they couldn't afford the established artists. What really captured me was the Italian room. Inside, the rich warm glow of the wood-paneled room beckons you into the Northern Lombard town of Chiavenna, where the room was built circa 1550-1600. Called a st�a in the local dialect, this type of room usually contained a large tile-covered stove around which the family would gather on cold nights. Beyond their original function, the accorded st�e were status symbols serving as reception rooms in noble houses. In display cases, tin-glazed earthenware from Persia, North Africa, Spain and Italy created a vibrant contrast to the mellow wood of this room.
    What captivated my heart in this room , was not the ceramics on display, but the beautiful play of gentle warm light patterns on the floor generated by light shining through two latticed semi-opaque windows. The overall ambience created by this warm glow contrasting with the relatively dark wood paneled room was stunning. A work of art in itself. The gallery curators would have lynched me if they could have read my mind, but beauty is all things to all men. I could have sat in that warm glow for hours wrapped up in my own world. Sad to say I was requested to leave as it was closing time. A feeling of deja vu crept over me.
    More fish for my meal of the day: Alaskan Queen Charlotte King Salmon cooked in a salt crust, green beans, garlic mashed potatoes and huckleberry sauce.
    Back at my hotel I picked up a mail from Katie, one of my daughters. Her young baby, Oliver, had just started to crawl when I left England ten days earlier. Now he was pulling himself up on the furniture and walking his way along the couch and chairs. My, oh my, how quickly they grow up. I'm missing it all. I miss my kids and my grandson.
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Seattle Vancouver

Uploaded from Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel Vancouver, 395 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5T 3J7 on 24/05/10 at 10:15

Last updated 24.5.2010