After chilling in Vancouver I was really curious to discover its closest neighbor city, south of its border. I never have been in Seattle before and I was wondering if I would find the same relaxed atmosphere that I found in Vancouver but it did not take me too long to discover just the opposite, a hectic rhythm prevalent for most of the American cities. In a way this should not have been a surprise for a city that hosts some of the most famous American high tech companies that made the first and second richest men in the world. However both Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos understood that is not too much you can usefully do with the huge pile of money they earned and they started to offer them in breathtaking programs that serve humanity at large.
Seattle was clogged by traffic. If you want to cross its midtown you encounter the classical traffic jam that makes you drive at snail pace, being swiftly passed by bikes and pedestrians. The traffic on the highway that crosses close to the waterfront was snailing also giving you the opportunity to admire the snow capped Mount Rainier that offered a magnificent background for the Seattle’s skyline.
Spread between a lake and a bay, the city looks airy with large open spaces that will soon be plugged by tall buildings. Just near the slick Space Needle, is the Museum of Pop, hosted in a building designed by Frank Ghery like a crashed guitar has inside the entire collection of popular genres, from sci-fi writings and movies, to rock and roll, video games, fantasy, horror, etc. A Science Center is right across the Gates Foundation but the highlight is for sure the spectacular exhibit at the base of the Needle of the glass work of Dale Chihuly, a native of Tacoma, WA, a town just several miles to the south.
Pike Place Market, in spite of being quite interesting is not the real thing as the Public Market is in Vancouver. Here in Seattle most of the vendors sell art and artifacts instead of food, like a real market would do. But the Seattle coffee spirit is alive and well. Many coffee places abound and The Starbucks in Pike Place, the first ever in existence, is so crowded that line snake out of it and blocks the entry in all the other stores around. Maybe the coffee is for free….
On the weird side, just steps away, is the Gum Wall mobbed by tourists and locals who want to leave a mark on the city by sticking their gums for posterity.