I’ve been both privileged and reckless enough to visit several countries on three continents. I’ve slept on the edge of the Sahara with camels and desert cats and I’ve grinded & thumped to wild house music in a Cold War bomb bunker in Prague. I once drove up the east coast to Montreal and back in less than two days, losing a cat and gaining two British friends en route.
I’ve been lucky enough to see some of the most stunning vistas across Earth, both urban and natural. Today, I am prepared to claim that Seattle is the most startlingly beautiful place I’ve ever been.
Ringed on both sides by mountains literally radiating violet, frosted with daubs of snow at their peaks, these two ranges can only be seen on the clearest of days: a rarity in notoriously foggy PNW.
But this week, Seattle found its stride and showed off its full splendor: volcanic Mount Rainier looming beyond the city, the craggy Olympics jutting into a deep blue horizon past Elliott Bay, and the omnipresent Space Needle, dripping with camp and space race theatrics.
Urban beauty is still so underrated
We’ve been in Seattle for 2 full days. I have to remind myself that I don’t have to pack up all of our groceries and clothes and stuff them into the Prius tomorrow morning. It’s nice to stay somewhere for more than 2 days.
While I do enjoy traveling–particularly avoiding tourist attractions, favoring bookstores and small vegan cafes–a significant chunk of my favorite kind of life occurs in the security of some kind of private space. A room where I can wear slippers and sit by the window, cell phone on silent; a booth in a coffee shop by an outlet; my bed, toes warming. It’s harder to create these spaces while traveling. You always have to be hooked into something: maps or weather, traffic forecasts or which one-way street had free parking before 6pm.
Seattle is wet-cold: the kind of cold that I know well growing up tucked between ocean and river. Winters in Wilmington are wet, cool, and breezy. Magnolias and pine trees persist through whatever semblance of a winter actually occurs (a solitary frost, a half-inch coating of powder canceling school for a week).
When the fog breaks, you can see the Space Needle from different parts of the city. Today Chett and I learned that it was unveiled for the 1962 World’s Fair. Typical post-Sputnik American phallus worship. Yet it’s charming. It looks out of place, alight and still sporting its Christmas tree zenith (at least until Wednesday). Like it’s from a future we haven’t reached. (Still waiting on my jet pack.)
Can’t wait for my monthly bus pass to activate in 2014. Time to do some real exploring.