May. 12th, 2017

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After salving my conscience with a little bit of work — and, in all honesty, waiting for the rush hour traffic to diminish — I walked to the centre of Redmond to catch the bus to Seattle. On the way, I bumped into TK from NERSC, who was on the way to visit friends at the University of Washington on his way to the airport.

After an extremely efficient bus journey, found myself in Seattle where I set about indulging in various acts of tourism. My first task was to go up the Space Needle because, well, I was in Seattle, it's an iconic building, and it was starting to rain!

Luckily, the truly torrential rain only kicked in once I was in under the roof that sheltered the queue of people waiting for their turn at the top of the tower. The wait, which I didn't mind because (a) out of the rain and (b) English, was enlivened by some interesting details about the construction of the tower, none of which had really occurred to me before.

The view from the top are well worth the wait and the panoramic view of Seattle really puts the city in perspective. Here's a rather murky view of downtown from the Needle:

In the distance are CenturyField and Safeco Stadiums. With weather like this, it's easy to see why they decided to put that massive, retractable roof on Safeco...

Once the rain abated and gorping at the view started to get old, I returned to ground level and walked my way around Seattle. After exploring the park around the Needle I went through Belltown to Pike Place Market, which the guys from EC had told me to check out. It was epically touristy but fun for all that, with a big queue outside the original Starbucks — actually wikipedia says they moved there in 1976 but at that point they only had the one branch, so I guess it counts?

I spent the rest of the day wandering around downtown and the down to the waterfront and back northwards. Along the way, I managed to take a nice photo of the great wheel with storm clouds and view across the Sound to the Olympic mountains to the west:

Deciding that the time had come to return to Redmond, I realised I had only the haziest of ideas where to catch the bus from. I wandered back towards where I'd got on and eventually remembered that the 545 stopped at 4th Ave and University. Fortunately, I soon stumbled across a series of buss shelters and, within minutes of finding the place, my bus showed up. It was empty enough at University that I was able to get a seat but things changed as soon as we reached Pike Street, where so many people got on that it took the driver a couple of goes to get everyone to pack themselves far enough down the bus to allow everyone to get on. After a squashed voyage as far as — I think — Overlake Transit Centre where lots of people got off, the bus looped north around Redmond and I, like a fool, got off at the TC instead of riding all the way to NE 76 and 177th which was much closer to the Redmond Inn.

Still I figure the walk did me good: my Garmin tells me I managed just under 30km today and although some of that includes my morning run, it still means I did an awful lot of walking today!


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