Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Winter Walk-Off In The Big City

After my visit to Sky Nursery on Wednesday, I met Nigel in town for a lovely lunch, and since it still hadn't started raining again, I decided to follow that with a walk through the city streets to Pike Place Market and then back again to Nigel's office building. I thought maybe a walk in the big city would be a nice change of pace for me, from peering into other people's yards and gardens. The Winter Walk-Off is a yearly meme hosted by Les at A Tidewater Gardener. The idea is to take a walk somewhere and take pictures and post about it, but without ever showing any pictures of your own home or gardens. You can start at your own house and walk in your own town, or you can drive somewhere and walk from there. So I drove to downtown Seattle, and took pictures of big buildings and landmarks.

My walk in town started here at the restaurant Sazerac.

Nigel's office building -- Fourth and Madison -- just a little way down the street

From there I headed down to Third Ave. and walked along the street toward Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

The View down Third Ave.

Decorative tree grate

I pass a florist's shop

Young Flowers, Old Lady

Right next door to the florists' is a Starbucks. In fact, on my walk I pass several, practically one on every street corner

Not far from there, I pass an interesting building labeled Seattle Tower, which I Google when I get back home.

The 27-story Seattle Tower, originally known as the Northern Life Tower, is Seattle's first art-deco tower. Its distinctive, ziggurat exterior is clad in 33 shades of brick designed to effect a gradient which lightens from the bottom to the top of the building.

Finally I reach Benaroya Hall. Many people don't realize how very hilly Seattle is. This set of steps goes down the sidewalk beside the hall.

A waterfall and plantings outside the symphony hall

A closeup of the waterfall

I was so taken with the waterfall, I managed not to get any photos of the hall itself, which occupies an entire city block.

Across the street from the hall is the Seattle Art Museum (SAM).

Art deco designs on the side of the museum

Seattle's Hammering Man -- the arm with the hammer is motorized and moves up and down

Hammering Man rests his arm each evening and on Labor Day.

On a diagonal across from the Seattle Art Museum is the Harbor Steps Apartments. Nigel and I lived there for two months when we first came here, while waiting for our house back in Massachusetts to sell.

It's not much to look at

I head down the harbor steps toward that first landing

Past the Harbor Steps fountain

My destination -- Post Alley, which leads to Pike Place Market

I pass a view of the harbor and the Seattle Great Wheel

The Gum Wall -- each of those spots of color is a piece of already chewed gum stuck to the brick


Finally I reach the market. Officially it's called Pike Place Market, but I understand no one in Seattle calls it that. To Seattleites, it's just the market.

On the left is a building full of vendor stalls, on the right, individual shops

Rachel the Pig has been a part of the market for 25+ years

Lots of neon signs inside the building

Who doesn't want fresh restrooms?

An accordion player was entertaining the masses

Fresh fish vendors abound in the market. Some of them are renowned for throwing fish back and forth. Read about it here.

I pass plenty of cut flower vendors too.

 As well as vendors of everything under the sun.

It was right about this point that my camera's battery died and shut down the camera. So I took out my iPhone and used the camera in that.

You can buy all sorts of stuff at the market besides food, flowers, baked goods and fish. There are plenty of talented craft vendors.

I thought this was an interesting piece of metalwork.

If you have a little one you can get cute decorated clothing for them.

Since my camera's battery had packed it in, I tried experimenting with the iPhone's pan capability. Below is the Seattle waterfront. From far left: sports fields Safeco Field (baseball) and CenturyLink Field (football and soccer), the Seattle Great Wheel, in the distance West Seattle, in the far distance, Bainbridge Island and the Olympic Peninsula. If you squint maybe you can see the Olympic Mountains on the right. The highway below is state Highway 99, aka the Alaskan Way Viaduct, which the city is currently working on burying in a tunnel, using a tunnel-boring machine called Bertha.

See the mountains in the distance?

Buildings opposite the market

Signs from the many shops at the market

There was a delicious smell emanating from Piroshky, Piroshky
If I hadn't just eaten lunch I would have been very tempted

Another food vendor at the market that always tempts my tum -- Mee Sum Pastry -- has BBQ Pork Hom Bow to die for!

After my stroll through Pike Place Market I headed up Pike Street to Fourth Ave.

The view up Pike Street toward the Convention Center

My last stop before getting back in my car to drive home was the Seattle Public Library. It's across from Nigel's office building (Fourth and Madison).  The Seattle Public Library's Central Library building was designed by Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus of OMA/LMN, and opened to the public on May 23, 2004. The glass and steel building is 11 stories high. Go to the link to learn more about this striking building.

The Seattle Public Library's Central Library -- the North side

The South side of the building

I hope you enjoyed this walk around Seattle. If you check out Les's post here, you'll find links in the comments to posts by other bloggers about their walks. You can also read about a walk Les took in downtown Norfolk.

And if you're so inclined, be sure to post your own walk, and link to it in the comments on A Tidewater Gardener.


  1. Despite the hills, Seattle is a great walking city! Thanks for sharing your walk. It's been years since I just enjoyed the city on foot. Your young flowers/old lady picture was pretty cool and made me laugh. It's supposed to be sunny today so I'll be gardening vicariously through you while I'm at work. Enjoy!

  2. What a fun tour! Did you take home an armload of cut tulips?

    I looked carefully at the display in front of the florist's shop. I should be making more grapevine balls and gathering up the long stems where I cut back the vetiver grass, unshophisticated gardener that I am.

  3. Oh Alison thank you! This was such a walk down memory lane for me. How much I miss that city. On Sunday mornings (when it wasn't raining) I would head out of my apartment on Capitol Hill and walk all the way to the waterfront, and then back. Getting exercise was so easy living downtown without a car, all those hills! Seeing your images of the market reminded me of the summer I worked there, arriving when it was still quiet and empty. What a wonderful place, thank you!

  4. Lovely to have a virtual walk in Seattle, never been there really. I enjoyed the large and high buildings, the shops and especially the pig, the young flowers/old lady, of course the flowers and what to think of the gum wall.....

  5. Seattle is a pretty city, as cities go. I could do without that gum wall, though.

  6. Easy to forget that we have a world class Big City just a few miles to the north. Thanks for the reminder: you covered a lot of the bases and whetted my appetite for a visit soon.

  7. Thank you so much for participating in my Winter Walk-Off. I have been intrigued with Seattle since I was a child, even before it was hip. One day I will get to see it in person. Until then thanks for sharing your photos. I must say though, the gum wall disgusts me and attracts me at the same time. I wonder what that says about me?

  8. That was fun! I have walked in those same footsteps. I love urban trekking in my city.

  9. Young Flowers, Old Lady.... ha ha ha! I enjoy Seattle - especially Pike Place Market. I'm planning on taking a trip there with my family this summer. I have not been to the gum wall before. I'll have to take the kids to see it - it's so disgusting, they'll love it.

  10. It was nice to feel like a tourist for a short time Alison - I really did enjoy seeing the sights of Seattle. The market looks great!
    Gum.....why? why? why?

  11. I haven't been to Seattle YET but enjoyed taking the beautiful tour. I could get into big trouble in the market. Those booths filled with fresh flowers made me feel better after another yucky few days in the NC mountains.

  12. I loved your walk through Seattle, because I've been there and seen so many of the places you showed. AND, my freshly-chewed wad of gum is on that gum wall!! LOL. We went down there during the NWFGS this year and Mom took a photo of me adding to the wall. I haven't seen the photo though. Seattle is such a cool place!

  13. Wonderful to venture on this walk with you! I miss the market, it's been years since I've been. I love the cut flower vendors. Seattle is a great walking city.

  14. I do prefer fresh restrooms to the alternative. Fun post!

  15. I visited Seattle maybe 20 years ago, and I'm pleased to see the market is still there as that was my favorite part. What a nice city! Thanks for the tour.

  16. The gum wall is different. I've never been to Seattle and have only been to a Starbucks once. The fountains look nice.

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. I havent seen the real Seattle like you showed. I like that it is a real urban pedestrian city, with buildings up to the sidewalk instead of set back with bland useless plazas in front, full of concrete planters. Bravo


Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.