Sunday, September 18, 2016


Sunday seemed a year ago as we headed into our Tuesday schedule which was decidedly less strenuous thank goodness.

 After checking out of the hotel we loaded our luggage on the coach and headed downtown for a guided Portland walking tour led by Peter, another great tireless local expert.

By the way I use the word coach rather than bus since as we were told the difference between the two could be well over $40,000.
Parks and statues throughout Portland as the city mandated there must be enough parks everywhere. No matter where you work you can pop out of your office for a picnic lunch in the park.
Civilized, just like New York. Well...
This photo is awful but it shows what happens
when someone walks in front of you while you're
taking a panoramic shot.
Or it's a ghost!?!

Portland is in the Guinness Record book
for having the World's Smallest Park!

City Hall has a replica of the Liberty Bell, or did they steal it from Philly?

I've never seen the two bells together! 

We learned about the Benson Bubblers, drinking fountains that adorn the city streets from our expert guide Peter.  He's on the left with Richard, Louise, Wayne, half a Bobbie and a sliver of Elaine.  (The story is interesting but too long to tell here so click the above if you wish.)
Below them is a top view of the fountains four heads.

And speaking of
heads, how about
the big one on this
statue of Portlandia?
If it stood up it
would be 50' tall!

Small fountains with sculptures such as this one with bear cubs appear all over town.  There are others with ducks and Sea Lions and otters Oh My (and on and on.)

Even though it wasn't raining (yet) this fine young, uh statue offered Susan shelter.
Known as "Allow Me" he
can be found in Pioneer
Courthouse Square

After walking for a while we desired a streetcar to take us to a funky part of town and close to our next stop, the Bridgeport Brewery for a tour (no open toed shoes please!) of the facilities and lunch.
And what a lunch it was! A buffet where we lunched on a really delicious buffet and imbibed tastings of a bevy of brews.  

Now that we were sufficiently mellowed out it was time to head for the Amtrak station and our nearly 4 hour ride to Seattle.

Our car had forward and rear facing seats but sadly many in our group do not like sitting ‘backwards.’ This meant the forward facing seats filled up quickly and just like musical chairs some travelers were left standing.
I am related to one of these unfortunates and quickly made friends with another one, Bev as we searched other cars for more favorable seats.  Success was ours – 7 cars down the line!

But at least the scenery was enjoyable.  I will allow these three shots to represent the entire trip.

Without an island:

With an island:

And with
twin bridges:

As we left the Seattle Amtrak station we glimpse our only view of Century Link Field, home of the NFL Seattle Seahawks and the more popular, at least in that town, Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer.

Flexibility is the key to any multi city; multi attraction tour and since we were running a tad late we moseyed directly to dinner at Benihana before checking into our hotel, the lovely downtown Warwick.

Our room was only on the
5th floor but we did have
a tantalizing view of the 
Space Needle. We will not
be visiting that landmark
till we return next week.

Wednesday saw us leaving the hotel after a served breakfast to tour the Chittendon Locks and watch ships that pass in the, uh daytime as well as salmon that seem to swim upstream all the time.

The locks can accommodate as many small ships that can fit at a time. Here 3 of them await the leveling of the seawater with fresh water.

Yo Coho, I was first!

And while ships maneuver for position above salmon snake through underwater tunnels on their way to spawn. A majority of their offspring will never make it back to sea but the ones who do will return to this very same spot when ready in a year or three.
Some may not return for 7 years.  That's a long time to remember where to go!

Our next stop, the Seattle Art Museum’s outdoor Olympic Structure Park.
Sadly, or rather predictably it rained the entire time we walked through and viewed the sculpture garden but then again, this is Seattle and as they say, what's a little liquid sunshine among friends?

Just like Eiffel Tower
the Needle can be seen
from just about everywhere
in the city.

What the heck is that?

We spotted most of the interesting avant garde works that were spotted around the garden.

Not to be outdone by Oregon's big Portlandia the sculpture garden has it's own head guarding the area! 
It's Yuge!  I said it's YUGE!
Sorry, you see the head is entitled ECHO for the mountain nymph of Greek mythology.

 Lunch was on the waterfront at the Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar located on a ferry pier.
The area is a mini South Street NY Seaport but with the added attraction of a huge Ferris Wheel “Eye.”

The inside is filled with
nautical trappings. 

A neat (can I still use that word?) place to eat & drink.

And naturally they have many
shops and
wooden sculptures to fit the mood.

The extended Rat Pack!

Back on the tour bus with Vickie to learn about and tour the University of Washington.
We stopped to view the Park Conservatory which was housing the infamous  Amorphophallus Titanum, aka “Stinky Plant.” (Great Latin name when you see the thing!)
This interesting flora blooms every 5 years and emits an odor reminiscent of rotting flesh.  It is clearly a fantastic mother-in-law gift.

After getting used to
the awful odor we
toured the cacti area.

Many interesting species and names noted there as well.  For example this one is called, "Old Man!" I have no idea why. Perhaps it's the grey hair?

And on the right I believe
this one is
telling us
On the left is an extreme closeup of a cactus flower.

And this lovely bucket is actually inviting an insect over for dinner.

Just drop in!

The Seattle Asian Art Museum was just a few hundred feet up the hill so we walked up the hill in the rain naturally.

The art museum sported many interesting artifacts and in fact the art intersected many cultures and was therefore interesting to all.

The featured exhibition was
Mood Indigo - Textiles from around the world!

But there was so much more to see and so little time so we semi rushed but thoroughly enjoyed all the art.

I waited patiently
for Allen and Sue
to finish worshipping
this wonderfully
dressed leader.

He was then ready for his closeup.

We sat in a very pleasant and relaxing place before heading out.

Outside we found a lovely sculpture one could be forgiven for believing was commissioned by Dunkin Donuts.  And note the nearly ever present Seattle Needle peering through where the munchkin should be.

And being Susan's birthday it was only fitting she receive a birthday donut.



It was now time to head back to the hotel for dinner, another informative lecture and packing up for a very early 6am departure for Vancouver via train.  Here’s hoping we don’t have to search for forward facing seats!
The nighttime view from
my bed at the hotel.
Space Needle & flying saucer.


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