Jumping over the lazy dog

or, taking the bull by the horns.

Guess who’s back!

Dear Readers,

I apologize for the radio silence these last few days, but it’s all with good reason, I assure you.  As I mentioned earlier, a few friends and I planned a road trip for the first two weeks of August. Said road trip took place concurrently with the aforementioned radio silence, so there you have it.  But I’m back now, and it’s time to recount the trails we blazed.

The road trip began with an extended stay in Seattle.  Saarinen and I flew out on a Tuesday to meet Dinosaur and my little brother, and were met by Dino, Jr. (for whom we tried out several other nicknames, including Merry Man and Iceberg, but I think Dino, Jr. is going to stick) a few days later.  This first post shall recount our Seattle adventures.

Dinosaur, Saarinen and I at Kelly Park.

Dinosaur, Saarinen and I at Kerry Park.

We kicked off our visit by getting lost.  Actually, we were trying to find Kerry Park, and wound up wandering through an absolutely beautiful neighborhood, albeit in the wrong direction, before being guided to an alley way and winding stone stairs that led us to our intended destination.  Day one concluded with another walk about town, with the obligatory visit to Pike Place Market (our first visit, but certainly not the last).

Yes, I took 'that' picture.

Yes, I took 'that' picture.

The next day we dipped our feet in history by taking the Seattle Underground Tour, with an incredibly chipper tour guide (think the girl from the Progressive commercials, but even more enthusiastic).  It was a bit creepy, but mostly cool (a bit chilly, as well).  I would be curious to know if it’s possible to build a wine bar down there – the right temperature conditions and a “shabby chic” factor – could be quite the spot.  We then took a long, long, long walk from Pioneer Square to the Experience Music Project and the Sci-Fi museum.  In true Gehry style, the museum is quite compelling from the exterior, if only because it makes no sense.  I was digging the bright red and bronze finishes, but the light blue portions paled in comparison to the uncharacteristically sunny Seattle sky.  Dinosaur, Lil Bro and I wrapped up the night by attending the Barcelona-Seattle soccer match (which ended 4-0, the poor things), and Saarinen met up with a friend to visit the Space Needle.

It's really tall.

It's really tall.

We began First Thursday with a visit to SAM.  An interesting collection, for sure, though the museum building itself is composed of the cliché “empty white square” architecture.  I was particularly attracted to the Cai Guo-Quiang sculptures in the lobby.  That we followed by a walk through the Seattle Central Library, which was incredible to see in person.  The interior spaces are bright with daylight even with a cloudy sky, and the pop of neon colors really does make the circulation legible from a distance.  We then wandered through the art district, popping into the galleries that were open and gaping at the exorbitant prices.

The "Living Room" of the Seattle Central Library.

The "Living Room" of the Seattle Central Library.

On Friday we took a day trip to the Cascades (the ones in Washington State, not the ones near Blacksburg, Virginia).  The hike was beautiful – but the waterfall itself was not that impressive.  I imagine, though, had we come a bit earlier we might have seen more rushing water.  The river we drove along was much more beautiful than the falls we drove to see.  The mountains’ steep climb, the winding road and the turquoise blue water set my soul at ease.  I think I like these mountains better than the ones out East.

The beautiful view at the trailhead.

The beautiful view at the trail head.

If you’ll notice, I haven’t made a mention about food.  Well, that’s because our dining experience deserves a post of its own.  So come back tomorrow for a mouth-watering menu for your next trip to Seattle!

Filed under: Around the world, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Go West, young [wo]man…

No, I’m not here to debate the origin of this quotation, but rather to start a new list! For a few weeks now I’ve been talking to my friend (here come a slew of nicknames), Dinosaur, about joining him on an epic roadtrip across the US.  He’s actually already completed two cross-country roadtrips, but this is the first trip where I will be accompanying him.  We will be joined by my very good friend Eero (who is, in fact, neither Finnish nor male) and possibly Dino, Jr. (aka Dinosaur’s brother, who I do not know very well and so will most likely get a more appropriate nickname post-roadtrip).

Look at that natural light!

Look at that natural light!

We’re starting in Seattle, since that’s where Dinosaur is working this summer.  What makes this even more fantastic is that my brother is currently in Seattle, also working for the summer, so I’m going to be arriving a few days early to hang out with the little guy (not so litte – he’s taller than me, though that’s not saying much, since I’m only five-oh) and to, get this, see a Barcelona game!  And I’m sure I’ll also be visiting sights around the city, including the Seattle Public Library (which sounds like a strange place to visit until I tell you I have a thing for REM Koolhaas and used SPL as a case study in my thesis…) and the usual Pike Place Market/Starbucks-y stuff before we head back  home.

Dinosaur suggested a trip down through California and across Nevada, hitting up places in the SW, which I’m very excited about because the furthest west I’ve been is Chicago, and that was when I was probably eight or nine. I’ve booked my ticket and we (Eero and I) leave Roanoke at the break of day on August 4th.  Here’s a running list of cool things I’d like to see on our roadtrip back to Blacksburg.  They’re a bit scattered, and I doubt we’ll be able to hit all of them, but even a handful would make my week!  And feel free to leave suggestions, we’re happy to take them!

  1. Seattle
  2. Sequoia National Forest
  3. San Francisco
  4. Sonoma Valley
  5. Las Vegas
  6. Sedona
  7. Grand Canyon National Park + Skywalk
  8. The Thing
  9. Santa Fe
  10. The Alamo
  11. Austin
  12. New Orleans
  13. The World’s Largest Chair
  14. A Bunch of Small Buildings
  15. A Really Big Peanut
  16. Savannah
  17. Biltmore Estates

Filed under: Around the world, , , , , , , , , ,