Posts Tagged With: tourism

And So It Starts…

2013 has started.   It’s around 12:30 am and we find out that there may not be much of a bus service to the Overlake Station where we left the Prius.  After waiting a bit we stick our hand out and a taxi materializes.  The driver is big and bubbly and has a Tom Petty CD blaring on the stereo.  Traffic leaving the city is pretty heavy and he tells us he won’t turn the meter on until we are on the freeway.  I’m liking him already.  Our cab fare will be around $40.  We are not sure of the exit and neither is he so we end up paying around $50 which he almost didn’t want to charge us ’cause he messed up.  An honest cab driver.  Guess the New Year has greeted us in a good way.  Baby Blue is alone except for another car in the parking lot at 2 am and is covered in a not so thin sheet of ice.  Yep, it’s cold.

As expected we rise late on January 1st 2013.  What is left of it will be spent on the computer and lazing around.  We decide to go out walking to dinner where there is a mall and Firenze, an italian restaurant that is open tonight.  Food was really good and service excellent.

The second day of the year was to be spent lunching with a friend Ramon Shiloh frog Ramon Shiloh which I haven’t seen in years since we were mentors for the Young Native American Playwrights Program.  He is a wonderful artist, illustrator, and storyteller.  He has a book published and one out soon: Listener.   Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to happen. We’ve been a bit under the weather and exhausted. Another day of lazing around it is.

The third day of the year finds us in our tourist mode.  It’s the first Thursday of the month and the Seattle Art Museum (among others) has free admission.  It’s close to where the Underground Tours are so as they say in my neck of the woods we are going to “matar dos pájaros de un tiro” (to kill two birds with one stone) Disclaimer: I am not advocating any violence against animals or anything of the like… it’s a saying that has existed for eons.

We drive to the Overlake Station Overlake Station   and go on the bus to downtown.

I like how the buses are accordion-like and bend in the middle.  Accordion Bus

As we cross the bridge it looks like we are inches from the water.Seattle Bus

Steep Seattle streets   Wait a second, are we in San Francisco?  Some roads are steep!

I’m liking the architecture of this city.  Seattle City Hall

Seattle Smith Center  The Smith Center, built in 1916, is a beauty.  It has an outdoor observation deck which we did not go up to.

It’s cold.  Somehow that fact is really diminishing my enjoyment of this city.  This city is grey even on sunny days!  It has earned its reputation as the Suicide Capital of the world. The cold and the rain and the lack of sunshine is conducive to depression but as this link  states it isn’t even on the top 10. It also debunks other myths about states and cities. Fun read.

The Underground Tour is about to start.  They have us congregated in this really old bar.  Solid wood, defying time to lessen its stance.  The guide, Gail, is funny but I concentrate on the floor.  Old tile floorLove the tiles.

We go outside and I look up. P1140484  We are going into the bowels of the city and I concentrate on what’s on top.  Just being a bit contrarian here. But I love old buildings.

I adjust my directional rebellion by looking across the street and liking the iron bus stop pavilion.  Station in Seattle

And down we go. Underground Tour

And my attention is grabbed by this sad seat, tattered and faded holding no vibrancy in its color or plushness in its seat.  Underground Tour  I imagine it in the lobby of a theater surrounded  by rustling skirts, colors and overall excitement.

The floors are unleveled and sinking in parts.  Seattle below  We are given a lot of info on the building and rebuilding of the city and on its history, all in the context of a comedy routine that is a bit too much, but she is funny and makes it entertaining. We go back up before going back down but I’m so used to looking down that I spot another set of tiles Merchant's Cafe  that I like in front of what professes to be the oldest restaurant in Seattle.

Steam Baths lower level… Steambaths lower level

We are now under a skylight.  Purple Skylight Glass made circa 1800’s – it turned purple with age. sk

We head back up.  Underground Tour

And here is a skylight from above.  Seattle Skylight

My stomach is grumbling as usual and we go to a Cajun restaurant close by.  A nice hot gumbo sounds just like the best antidote to the cold.  The place, Marcela’s Creole Cookery, is a hodgepodge of decorating.  Marcela's Creole Cookery But the gumbo does warm me up and I got some colorful beads as a send-off.

Before we go to the Art Museum we decide to stop at Seattle’s Central Library.  I’m glad we did.  The building is structurally stunning and massive.  Seattle Central Library     Seattle Central Library

Today, surprise of surprises, it’s a grey day but on a sunny day it must be so stunning to see it from within with all the angles this place has.  And a really stormy rainy day probably creates quite a symphony in here.

The colors inside are pretty cool. Stairs in Seattle Central Library  Seattle Central Library  Stairs Seattle Central Library    P1140539    Seattle Central Library

Just in case you are wondering (as I did for a minute) if this really is a library, here is a librarian to go with it.Seattle Central Library

The world in books at your fingertips.  Seattle Central Library

Futuristic, eh?

Seattle Central Library  Seattle Central Library  Seattle Central Library

I almost want to stay.  Cocoon myself with a book and let the hours pass without notice.  But I bid my farewell by taking a few more shots of its facade.  Seattle Central Library   Seattle Central Library   Seattle Central Library   Seattle

Seattle Art Museum  is now at our feet. And above us, some flying Fords with lights coming out of every opening in an explosion exposure.  Seattle Art Museum

I like that the museum has a large quantity of Native American and Aboriginal art, something my Australian was quite happy to see.  Native Art   Native Art  This is not one of it, by the way.

However, in some floors, periods and mediums are mixed in and somehow I am not drawn in.   What does, is this painting of a mother and child (his wife and daughter) by William Sergeant Kendall which brings my mom to mind.  In two days it will be three years since her passing.  Mother and Child

A lot of modern art.  Modern Art   Seattle Art MuseumMedia Installation

 

 

 

 

 

Then a statue of cupid.  I photograph its bum for I have the full intention of decorating my bathroom with photos of behinds taken all over the world.

Cupid

We are not far from Pike’s Market so we decide to have dinner there.  End up at Etta’s.  Food was really good though I found it expensive for what it was. But it won me over (I had serious hesitation looking at the menu).  It starts pouring which gives me an excellent excuse to order a decadent dessert while we wait for the rain to turn into a drizzle.  I am just going to become a roly poly if I keep on eating like this so Seattle has to promise not to give me any more excuses for me to keep on eating!

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Categories: Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Central Library, Underground Tours | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Double Decker Fun and in London I Am Not

The washer dryer for our floor is very conveniently located next to the apartment and since I have woken up early I decide to be domestic and do a load of laundry.  I go out in my pajamas for I intend to climb back into bed and write my blog.  And I do so, however I am not alone.  Sox decides that I am an okay human to cuddle up to and as I go into bed he jumps up and snuggles.  I try to put my computer somewhere on my lap but Sox is quite big and heavy and is already asleep.  And I wouldn’t want to disturb him.  cat  cat shoe repairI have other errands to run once my laundry is done and, fortunately, Sox decides he will continue his nap under the sun so I am free to go to the shoe repair place.  I have brought my Born boots that served me so well in the fall when I went to Paris and I hope that they will keep my feet warm and dry in the cold that we will encounter in New Zealand.  But the heels are worn and I want to have them in tip-top shape for the trip.   Once I hand them in I’m off to the bus (I’m so glad to have my bus pass.  Bus Pass This is a pre-pay only bus. Bus stop) that will take me to Circular Quay which is where I saw a stop for the City Sightseeing Hop on-Hop offbus that I am taking today.

The tourist bus stop is in front of the Customs House (which is a library now, as you must know by now).  The place is not very busy today and a Silver Gull (the most common of gulls around here) is the one who greets me.  Customs House, Sydney, Australia  Silver Sea Gull

  Today I am focused on reflections and the juxtaposition of old and new construction.  Sydney has a lot of that to offer.  Reflections, Old and New, BuildingsBuildings, Old vs. New, Sydney, Australia    But I am visually digressing.  I must get my tourist mode on and jump on the Sydney Sightseeing double-decker bus to get a lay of the land and get an idea of what areas I would want to revisit.  The bus is $40 for 24 hours.  It’s a bit breezy today but I am just taking the plunge.  Here we go…  City Sightseeing bus, double decker bus We pass the area of Kings Cross that I would equate a bit to 42nd St. in New York when it was filled with adult entertainment both in the buildings as on the streets.  Love Machine Woolloomooloo with its converted warehouses (into apartments –flats for the Aussies- on the upper floors and hip restaurants on the ground floor) also offers a really nice view of the city.  May be a place I would like to revisit.  Woolloomooloo, Sydney, Australia  Woolloomooloo, Sydney, Australia

Harry’s Café de Wheels is famous for its meat pies which is a staple for Australians.   Harry's Meat Pies, Woolloomooloo, Sydney, Australia Terrace Houses, terraced housing, sydney, AustraliaTerrace houses are my new obsession.  They were built in the 1800’s and are heritage protected so, at least on the outside, they are exactly as they were back then.  They are everywhere and my camera likes them just as much as I do so please bear with me for I will bring them to you a lot.    Terrace Houses, Terraced housing, Sydney, Australia

Mary’s Cathedral will definitely also bring me in at some point. St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, Australia

 The new always follows and this is the RTA (Road and Transportation Authority) headquarters building.  

Back to the old.  Central Station’s (train terminal) clock.  Second to the Customs House it is a very common meeting point.  Central Station Clock, Sydney, AustraliaCentral Station, Sydney, Australia

Onward to Darling Harbour where the only casino in Sydney is.  It is also a huge shopping center.  Bustling.

    

Still liking the new/old overlapping.       And still enjoying looking at now familiar fixtures from a not so common perspective.  Here is the Harbour Bridge from below. And the top of old buildings at eye level.   So far this has been a “hop on and just don’t get off” bus for me but as soon as I spot the Sydney Tower Eye I know I’m hopping off and getting on that elevator to the top.   Bus Driver, please stop!  He did.  I buy a ticket for the Tower at $25 so I won’t have to wait on line and though it would later turn out that there was no line, I did save $1 by buying it on the bus.  As expensive as Sydney is, every little bit counts!  Just in case I am not going to get dizzy enough up on top, the stairs to get to the fourth floor from where the elevator departs, is dizzying enough! There is a Skywalk where you actually walk outside but it’s very windy, you have to change into what looks a skydiving outfit, I’m scared of heights, I can’t take my camera and it costs $40 so I am content to just look outside through the windows.  The photos speak for themselves so I’ll shush up now and let you enjoy.  

 

        

  It’s getting late      so I must take the ride down  (2 ½ min)     I take the double-decker to a few blocks from home.  Turns out I could have taken it there all along.  Ay!

I delight in the snapshots of daily entertainment the bowling club provides me as I walk home.       I look up and love what I see.   And once home am happy that it is not dark enough and I can still grab a quick view of the water from my window.    Feeling almost as if I’m a part of it all here.        The local newspaper, The Australian

Categories: Australia, Central Station, Circular Quay, Customs House, Kings Cross, Ramblings, Sydney, Sydney Harbor, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Woolloomooloo | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Switching to Tourist Mode

Today, Friday, September 21, I am going to be a tourist!  First I do the usual: open the door and assess the weather.  It’s early still and brrrr… it’s a bit nippy.

Perhaps that is why the beach is still mostly unpopulated.

Bondi Park is practically deserted.

By the time Dean wakes up the breeze has let up a bit and it is not too cold.  We head out to the bus.   He’s bought me a Bus Pass that makes me feel like a local again.  Never mind that I don’t know where the bus stop is or what bus to take.   This outing will help me familiarize myself with the routes.  We stop at the Circular Quay (which I would have pronounced “kwa” with a long “a” and is actually pronounced “kee”) where the Sydney Opera House is.

The Harbor Bridge greets us.  

I had wanted to do the bridge climb tour where they take you on top of this beautiful bridge.  Was willing to pay the $223 until I saw how high up they go and how windy it could be.  Uh, no thank you!  Ah, but what a view they must get (one that I would not be able to see with my eyes shut!) 

Just in case the sight of this Sydney icon isn’t enough of a recognizable and welcome sight there is a big sign welcoming you to The Opera House.

Didn’t realize that the tiles form a pattern that makes it even more beautiful up close.  1,056,006 glossy white and matte cream tiles!

Across the harbor is Luna Park, an amusement park that immediately brought Coney Island in New York to mind. 

The light is changing and giving the Opera House a different hue.  It’s as impressive up close as it is from a distance.   

One photo of me just to prove I really was here and then we are off toward dinner.  On the way we will see the Opera House from another angle.  But first I glance at the Harbor (Harbour written in Aussie) Bridge once more as the sun goes down.  

People at happy hour don’t seem to give it a second glance while the birds seem to stop and stare.  

And then here, in all its glory, is the Sydney landmark from the other side.

Dinner was at an Italian restaurant, Zia Pina Pizzeria, in The Rocks, a historic area of Sydney’s city center.

We don’t roam much since we have to get back to the Bondi Pavilion to see I Want to Sleep With Tom Stoppard.    My first independent theater outing in Sydney.  I much enjoyed it.  At intermission there’s a large balcony (the theater is on the second floor) from where you can gaze at the beach.

We walk back home.  It’s gotten cold but I am getting to like the fresh breeze on my face and it makes a nice warm bed so much more inviting.

Categories: Australia, Bondi Beach, Bondi Park, Bondi Pavilion, Circular Quay, Luna Park, Sydney, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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