This was a short stopover as I made my way through Washington state on my way to Olympic National Park. The drive west from Yakima, Washington was nice as I bisected Mount Rainier National Park with the hopes of seeing Mount Rainier itself. However, not thinking it through all I saw was old-growth forest and no mountain peak. I am not sure being in close proximity to the mountain was the best strategy for getting a glimpse of the peak.
Once in the Seattle area, I found that the city and its greater metro area is a highly congested metropolitan and suburban region. It appears that it has seen some challenges from its fast growth in the last few decades as a hub of technology, internet, and Fortune 500 companies. I found it daunting to drive and find parking around the city even in the surrounding suburban areas. Even commuter train stations did not have enough parking; although the stations and trains were very nice and modern. The next time I visit I will take more advantage of public transportation to get to and from the commuter rail service.
While I was in the area I took a van tour of Seattle that gave an overview of the city and some history. I also was able to take a short monorail ride to visit the location of the Space Needle in a park-like area called Seattle Center adjacent to the Museum of Pop Culture and Chihuly Garden and Glass. The Space Needle is Seattle’s landmark observation tower. It was built in the Seattle Center for the 1962 World’s Fair. I was also able to walk around Seattle’s Elliott Bay waterfront and see the first Starbucks Coffee store just down the block from the iconic Pike Place Market. It was too late in the evening to see the market and one of its major attractions the Pike Place Fish Market; where employees throw salmon and other fish to each other rather than passing them by hand. I will definitely come back to Seattle when I can spend more time to explore and experience what is clearly a historic and dynamic city.