Seattle Space Needle and coffee

Seattle Space Needle and coffee

The Space Needle in Seattle
The Space Needle in Seattle – Photo by Linda Norvelle

We’ve been in Washington for almost 2 months now and for some reason or another, we just never got round to visiting Seattle. Until today that is.

We had a list of places to see visit, but no idea how long it would take to cover them all. We DID know we wanted to end the day at the top of the Space Needle with, hopefully, great views of the city at night. Turns out we would not be disappointed.

But let me start at the beginning. The “must see” items on the list were the Space Needle (who doesn’t want to see that when in Seattle?) and the Pike Place market. We had heard a lot about Pike Place including that it was where Starbucks originated. As a coffee nut, I had really wanted to check that out.

It was only an hour and a half from our RV Park in Bellingham to the parking garage at the Space Needle, which was our first stop.
As we walked up to the Space Needle, we spotted this amazing roof structure in the distance and went to check it out. What we saw turned out to be the roof of the EMP Museum (EMP stands for “Experience Music Project”). The EMP Museum is a nonprofit museum, dedicated to contemporary popular culture. The museum was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and has organized dozens of exhibits since then.

The roof is AMAZING! There are three distinct parts to it and each is a different color. One seems to be made of bronze plating and changes color depending on how the sun hits it. Beautiful colors that range from golden to red copper to deep purple. The shapes of each of the roofs is also amazing, like someone draped a huge blanket over an irregular shape. A beautiful piece of architecture.
We found it a little challenging to photograph as there are trees and other buildings nearby, so we decided to come up close and shoot some abstract-like photos.

After this we went back to the Space Needle with the full intention of going straight up. We had actually thought of going up twice, once in the afternoon, then again at night. To our surprise, when we were standing in line to buy tickets, we were told the earliest time we could go up would be 6pm. Note this was at 11am and a weekday to boot!. Obviously a very popular attraction! After asking some questions and learning that “once up there, we could stay as long as we wanted”, we decided to go up at 8pm. That would still give us the daylight views we wanted, then simply stay up there until dark to get those night shots.

With the tickets purchased and a time-slot secured, we headed off to Pike Place. We lucked out and got a parking spot no more than one block from the market. As we approached, we spotted the Starbucks store, located on the corner of 1st and Pike, literally across the road from the entrance to the market. How cool. I just had to have a coffee there so we went in and I ordered my standard drink, a Double Short Americano. This was indeed the very first Starbucks which opened in 1971. Pretty cool to be here and to have a coffee. We ended up sitting on their extremely narrow front patio and leisurely watched the world go by. The weather was perfect and we both thoroughly enjoyed the moment.

After that we crossed the road and went into the market . . . and were a little disappointed.
While quaint and very historic (it is one of the oldest markets in the US), we found the place a little rundown. Don’t get me wrong, it had lots of character, but we could not help but be a tad disappointed. The stalls were quite varied. Some jewelry stalls, food stalls and fish. The display of fish and crab was quite impressive, but the prices were exorbitant. We thought $14.99 per pound for Dungeness crab was outrageous. I guess you pay for the privilege of purchasing it at Pike Place market. There was also a roof-top nursery and we spent a little time there looking around as the views over the water were awesome. The highlight of market, in our view, was a visit to a tea and coffee store, where we bought some loose-leaf Ceylon tea. Linda has become quite the tea convert. Her journey into tea started when we were in Victoria, where we invested in a regular tea pot and a sampling of different teas. She is now hooked and has been trying different teas ever since. In particular, Linda has taken a liking to Orange Pekoe, but loves the English/Irish and Canadian Breakfast teas too.

We finished the trip downtown with a good ‘ol fashioned burger on a patio right on Pike Street. Again, we watched people and were quite amazed at how many different languages we heard.

Pike Place
Enjoying a glass of wine while waiting for our burgers

After dinner, we headed back to the Space Needle and first went into the Chihuly Gardens and Glass museum and were blown away by the displays. I wrote a separate blog on that a few days ago.

So, finally, up the Needle we go. I should point out that I DO NOT like heights, but as Linda has dragged me up the Eiffel Tower and the London Eye in the past, I knew I could not get away with complaining too much (and I sheepishly admit to being very pleased afterwards that I DID go up these structures). So, up we went and after an elevator ride that seemed to take “hours”, we arrived at the very top (I later heard that the elevator travels at 10 mph and that the trip lasts only 40 seconds).

You exit inside the structure at the top. There are bars, souvenir shops, restrooms, a revolving restaurant and an observation deck outside. The observation deck runs all around the structure so you can circle the whole top enjoying the views in every direction.

After satisfying our initial goal of shooting in daylight, we sat down and had a glass of wine, waiting for it to get dark.

We had brought these small tripods which we could securely put up on the railing. That way we could do exposures of 30 or more seconds without risking movement. The resulting pictures were outstanding. Take a look below, click any of the photos to launch a slideshow and judge for yourself!

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