Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Seattle Central Library

During our trip to Seattle earlier this month, we visited the Seattle Central Library, which appeared high up on a list of things to see in the area.

As it turns out, it was a great choice and we were highly impressed.

The building exterior -- impressive in itself.

It's located in downtown Seattle, not too far from Pikes Place Market. If you want to take a virtual tour around the block, check out the street view!

On entering the library, you're in a huge open area with elevators and escalators to take you to other parts of the library, as well as a seating area, and a coffee and souvenir shop.

Where would you like to go?

We chose the up escalator.

It seemed like the most obvious way forward, so up we went. Behind the escalators you can see the Fiction section, which despite spending an hour and a half looking around, we totally missed.

The long ride up!

Two escalators take you almost all the way to the top -- a long way! You can see on either side the floors you pass on your way up. It's something of a sloped spiral, so you can make your way down just by following the floor one level at a time. If you need to, you can jump into the escalator at certain points.

A very different feel.

The library's design isn't the warm and cozy type we've grown up with. There's a lot of glass and metal, which gives a very cool feeling. However, it doesn't seem to deter anyone, and the place had a lot of people here and there. If you do need a taste of the warm and cozy, head over to the children's section, which is as you would expect.

The next stop was the highest point in the library. Once you reach the highest point on the 10th floor, you can walk down a narrow walkway beside the elevator shaft and peek over the edge all the way to the main floor where you come in.

That's a long way down.

Note the escalators that you can see in the third photo.

And lastly, we visited the Seattle Room. The library has a number of special areas that feature specific types of information. I'm pretty sure I saw a Map Room too, but we didn't get to tour it. In the Seattle Room are all kinds of building plans, layouts, building models, books, and more -- all having to do with Seattle.

Natasha in the Seattle Room.

We took the elevator down part of the way, toured some of the book levels, then took the elevator down again to see the children's section. We'll take our kids back there for sure next time were in the area.

All in all, a really neat place to visit, and with no cost attached, the entertainment value is unbeatable. Go check it out next time you're in Seattle!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Seattle Trip - Oct 2011

For our anniversary this year, we took a short trip to Seattle to see a few of our favourite sights, stay the night, and of course, eat some delicious food.

We stayed at our usual accommodations, Hotel Sierra. If you're ever in the Seattle area and want to stay somewhere outside of the main city, we highly recommend it. I actually don't think we've stayed in another hotel in the area since discovering it. After checking in and having a little down time, we drove over to another of our usuals, Claim Jumper, where we enjoyed their overly large portions and great rustic atmosphere.

Natasha did some research to find out what things there were to see in Seattle in hopes of discovering something new. We selected a list of things that fit our schedule, which included: Pike Place Market, the Seattle Central Library, Kerry Park, and a recommendation from our family: Chipotle! Here are the details of our trip to these places.

Seattle Central Library

When Natasha told me that the Central Library was on the list of top attractions, I was pretty skeptical. We recently blogged about the new library in Surrey which was very impressive but not what I would call an attraction. Let me tell you, I was mistaken.

Seattle Central Library

I really think that this library is something nobody should miss when visiting Seattle. It has something for everyone, and when you consider that it's easy to access and is totally free, you can't go wrong. First, there's some great architecture for those who like to look at unique buildings. Everywhere you look are glass and metallic designs, and exploring it for the first time has the feeling of walking through a real life maze. And for those who want to test their fear of heights, you can go up to the highest viewpoint and peer down ten floors to the main level. Seriously, go check it out.

Kerry Park

A park? Yes, I was skeptical of this one too. What could be so interesting about a park? As it turns out, it's more than just a grassy area with trees. Kerry Park is quite a small area high on a hill with an expansive view over the city and nearby water.

The view from Kerry Park.

All smiles from this viewpoint!

Pike Place Market

No trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to this market. You can buy everything from art, to produce, seafood, flowers, and in the lower levels are all kinds of shops, including one where I found an interesting LIFE Magazine for my chess collection. If you're there, don't forget to explore the streets around the market too, which are full of unique and interesting shops.

We did find something new this time though, a street band with an early 1900's kind of sound and an interesting mix of instruments.

The Millionaire's Club


Last but not least, Chipotle Mexican Grill! Our family has been raving about this place for years, but with no restaurants in Canada, we haven't been able to try it very easily. However, we made a special trip this time and were rewarded for our efforts.

Entering Chipotle's for the first time!

Our first experience is one that will have us coming back again. The food was great, and the staff even threw in some free chips and salsa for us first time customers!

Tacos, tacos, tacos!

If you want to kick it up a notch next time you are hungry for Mexican food, don't hesitate -- go straight to the nearest Chipotles.

Overall, our trip was great. We both agree that we really got to like Seattle this trip, probably because we were able to explore more of what it has to offer, and had some really nice weather to go along with it. All we need to figure out is when we can go again!

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

LIFE Magazine - Bobby Fischer

In a recent trip to Seattle, we made our usual trip through Pike Place Market. One of my favorite stores there is Old Seattle Paperworks, which offers a large collection of collectible magazines going back to the early 1900's. Their LIFE Magazine collection appears to be one of the largest, and on this trip there was a particular issue I was after.

LIFE Magazine - November 12, 1971

Yes, this is one I have seen in a number of photos but never in person. It features Bobby Fischer on the front cover, just prior to him becoming the World Chess Champion.

The writer covers a period of a few days spent with Bobby, and describes him much the same as numerous writers have. The one thing that caught my attention, however, was his reported appetite. Big meals with multiple glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice, and selzer water, and a couple of banana and whip cream desserts.

It's nice to remember him during his good years, and this magazine is a great addition to my Chess collection.

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