Sunday, December 17, 2017


I have spent the past three days on a short weekend trip to Seattle. This was my first time to the city and I managed to pack in a few key tourist attractions and activities while I was here. I arrived early afternoon on Friday and took the Link light rail from the airport to the downtown Seattle Westlake stop. The trip lasted 40 minutes and only cost $3.00 one way, which was a great bargain.

I stayed at the newly renovated Hotel Theodore (1531 7th Avenue), which was centrally located to public transport, shops and attractions. It's a really cute hotel with nice, clean rooms and offers its guests daily complementary happy hour drinks. Check out their website to see if there are any deals before booking.

On Friday after checking in I walked down Pine Street past all the stores and holiday decorations to the waterfront to check out the Pike Place Market. It's a massive space and maze of different food and product stalls as well as little shops (kind of a bigger version of Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market). I stopped in to the French bakery Le Panier for a croissant and some macarons, and after wandering around for a bit I grabbed dinner from Pike Place Chowder, who are famous for their different seafood chowders (I had the New England clam chowder, which was tasty). That evening I headed out to the Neptune theater to see comedian Hari Kondabolu, which was the impetus for this trip.

On Saturday I took the short journey on the monorail to the Seattle Center, home to the Space Needle and other tourist attractions. My first stop though was a walk down Broad Street to the Olympic Sculpture Park, which contains large scale sculptures and native plants within its nine acres along the waterfront. There were diverse and interesting pieces throughout, and it is a calming place to wander around (and appears to be a local exercise spot).

Next I walked back to the Seattle Center and went to the amazing Chihuly Garden and Glass (read a detailed post about my visit here). Then I headed to the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) to check out a few of their exhibitions. There were lots of different little music exhibits, including ones on Jimmy Hendrix, David Bowie, and a history of guitars.

One thing I was really excited to see was The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited. As someone who grew up on Sesame Street and The Muppets it was great to learn more about Jim Henson's career and get to see some of the puppets up close and personal (I nearly gasped when I saw Kermit). The exhibition also has storyboards, costumes and film clips from Henson's various projects over the years. It is definitely work checking out and has been extended until 25 February 2018.

After my day at the Seattle Center I took the monorail back and then walked a couple blocks up to the Pacific Place Center to finally see the movie Thor: Ragnarok. I do not follow the Marvel comics at all but am a huge fan of New Zealand director Taika Waititi (What We Do In The Shadows is one of my favorite movies) so wanted to check out the film. Not really knowing much about the history of Thor made the first part a bit slow, but once Thor (Chris Hemsworth) was captured on the planet Sakaar and forced to be a gladiator under the Grandmaster (brilliantly played by Jeff Goldblum) things picked up. Thor gets reunited in the ring with his buddy Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and also makes a new friend in Korg (Taika Waititi hilariously voicing the character as a Maori bouncer from Auckland). Eventually they all escape and head back to the planet Asgard to try and rescue the citizens from Thor's sister Hela (Cate Blanchett) who has taken over as ruler. I enjoyed the Australian and New Zealand references Taika put into the movie such as mentions of the film The Castle, the Holden Commodore car, and painting spaceships in the colors of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags. For a big budget action picture Taika did manage to get a lot of his humor and style into the film, and it's great that it has been so successful.

This morning I wandered around a bit at Pacific Place Center before heading back to the airport for my afternoon flight to San Francisco. Overall my trip to Seattle was a good taster and gave me an opportunity to orient myself with the city. I was very lucky with the weather in that although it was cold I didn't experience any rain. Hopefully I'll get an opportunity to return again someday to explore more of Seattle.

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