This is the sixth of a series of posts dealing my sixth trip to Seattle as an adult and first of two trips that year. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports. Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of two years later or to add further clarification.
It's the last full day of the trip. I can't find my itinerary (might be in my locker and I don't want to wake the other people) but only one bus trip previously planned so it should be easy enough to recreate. Comparatively speaking this is going to be a pretty laid back day. One 3-step bus trip for sure, a second one only if it doesn't rain, which seems unlikely at this point. Rest of the time in the greater downtown area.
People in the room working on their computers with the lights on again. Think I actually fell asleep before the lights got turned out. Woke up around 5:30 and then only half slept the rest of the morning. Looking forward to a still packed but comparatively relaxed final day.
[NOW: The above was written in the morning; the rest I wrote in the evening.]
Today, while busy by most people's standards was pretty laid back by mine. After breakfast I went to the waterfront, starting with one final quick look at Olympic Sculpture Park. NAMBLA folks would be disappointed to learn that the boy in the statue was covered by fountain water this time, though the boy was still visible. I strolled along until I reached the ferry terminal that I normally take a ferry to Bainbridge from; I grabbed a bus schedule or two there, then crossed over to 1st St., where I strolled long until catching a bus to West Seattle.
[Now: The man and boy statue described above is called Father & Son. The bus to West Seattle was probably one of the 50s, maybe 56.]
My first stop was Alki Beach. No sunbathers this time both due to time of year and the clouds overhead. I did see the Birthplace of Seattle marker, the miniature Statue of Liberty, and the Bathhouse, which is actually a place for art and not actually a place where people take baths. I also saw some birds I'd never seem before; not sure if they were ducks or geese. It was a while before the bus to SW California Ave so I ended up walking there and even finding a shortcut that I'll make use of in my next trip. Heading south I visited Arcane Comics (bought a few comics), Leisure Books, Pegasus Book Exchange, and the West Seattle branch of Easy Street Records, where I got a couple DVD sets.
[NOW: West Seattle’s Arcane Comics is now closed. ]
Still in that general area I visited Square One Books and then outside a Safeway that also had a pop machine with a Mystery button. I'd always gotten someone good before but this time I got something called, I think, Dr. Pizzle, basically Dr. Pepper. Rubato Records wasn't yet open when it was supposed to be so I took a bus back to downtown Seattle.
[NOW: Square One Books and Rubato Records are now closed. The Safeway no longer has that pop machine. The bus back downtown was Metro Transit.]
I walked south to the Pioneer District, and, sadly, visited Elliot Bay Book Company in its traditional location for the last time. I wish them well in their new location and will try to make it over each trip, but there's just something about its traditional location that's irreplaceable. Also their new location is I believe more out of the way, so I won't be able to visit them at night whenever the mood strikes me. Again, though it's mainly that the location and not just the store itself is what made it a Seattle landmark.
I walked further south to Qwest and Safeco Fields, then, passing the Kingdome Deli (have to give them marks top holding on to their convictions years after the Kingdome was demolished), went over to the International District, the south end of which has two structures that look like Daleks from Doctor Who.
[NOW: Qwest Field is now called CenturyLink, though the locals apparently call it the CLink for short. There are actually at least two sets of the “Daleks” structures.]
I ate lunch as Uwajimaya, then visited Pink Gorilla, which recently opened up a new branch in the University District, only the latter was closed when I went by a couple days ago. People who've read my previous trip reports might think I've made a typo, but Pink Godzilla is indeed now Pink Gorilla. My guess is that Toho, the film company that makes the Gojira/Godzilla films caught wind of this toy store and were not amused.
I went into the underground Downtown Transit Tunnel and, being in the free zone, rode the Sounder light rail train to the Pioneer District, then visited Waterfall Garden Park. Speaking of light rail, because my bus transfer on my Orca card would have expired just after I left West Seattle, and since it would have thus meant a separate bus fare, I didn't get around to riding the, uh, South Lake Union trolley this time. Sorry folks.
[NOW: I believe that the actual name for the Sound Transit light rail train that I took was probably not a Sounder train, which only goes to King Station. The actual name for the train is the Central Link.]
I then walked to downtown proper and Columbia Center, where I went to the 73rd story observation deck. Curiously which I had gone there many times and was fine, this time my acrophobia kicked in and I decided to listen to my inner voice that said to stay a little clear of the glass. Actually not resting again the glass of the 73rd floor of a building is probably good advice regardless.
Leaving Columbia Center I soon after found that the Hammering Man had decided to take a sabbatical by getting his arm amputated (in other words, the statue's moving arm was being repaired). I then went down the Harbor Steps. The lion statues at the bottom were gone. I then went up a different flight of stairs passing where the Youth Hostel International hostel used to be; after many years' absence it finally reopened in the International District in the American Hotel, but I'm happy to stick with City Hostel Seattle.
I visited Pike Place Market one last time, visiting the fish mongers, Rachel the Pig, and Holy Cow Records, which was closed this time.
Heading north I briefly stopped in at the downtown branch of Zanadu Comics, then, headed to Seattle Center. En route to Seattle Center I passed a fountain in an alley way. I think it's part of a hotel but still seemed incongruous. At Seattle Center I rested for over an hour and a half at the International Fountain. This was the first time this trip I'd really just slowed down and relaxed for over an hour. A dog (terrier puppy I think) played there a bit. I then walked to the KCTS 9 Store, Silver Platters (bought a final DVD, keeping mindful of the $400 Can limit at Customs), then went to Center House at Seattle Center and treated myself to a burger meal at Orange Julius, with strawberry Julius being my drink. I took it outside and ate at the Fountain.
[Now: Downtown is now the only branch of Zanadu Comics, the University District branch now being a Comic Stop. The KCTS 9 Store is now online only. The limit at Customs for this period of time is now $800. Center House is now the Seattle Center Armory; they kicked Orange Julius out.]
I began to feel like there was one more thing I should do this trip. I visited the Space Needle, but admission was $17 unless you go the two-trips option, and the latter was no longer an option. I decided to walk up to Kerry Anne Viewpoint and watch the sun set. This process to longer than expect, it got cold, my hands were shaking, I got some really bad shots after it got dark, and...I also got some of the best shots I'd ever taken. Some very lovely shots of the buildings lit up in the distance. And before that I got a nice shot of a helicopter passing Mount Rainier.
Returning south after ignoring a street person who seemed annoyed that I was taking a photo of the Space Needle (I reminded him of his wife who apparently took photos he thought were stupid), I went to Easy Street Records (the usual Queen Anne branch this time) and a couple grocery stores before returning to the hostel.