But You Have Promised Me A Subtropical Paradise

Pinkocto

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 22, 2011
I was under the impression that the galley tours had been discontinued. I think I managed to do one of the last once offered in January 2011 on the Wonder.

Corinna
They had one on the Fantasy in March, they only had one spot and I didn't want to leave mom out so I declined. Fingers are crossed they're still being offered.
 

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
They had one on the Fantasy in March, they only had one spot and I didn't want to leave mom out so I declined. Fingers are crossed they're still being offered.
I keep my fingers crossed for you. Maybe it is just the classic ships that no longer offer them.

Corinna
 

Chilly

RIP Tag Fairy
Joined
Apr 25, 2006
Interesting facts from the Captain.

Looking forward to hearing about what you did in Seattle.
 
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Interesting facts from the Captain.

    Looking forward to hearing about what you did in Seattle.
    We still had the second day in Vancouver and then it is on to Seattle. This is another city I seriously fell in love with.

    Corinna
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 19

    And there it was, the sad day of leaving. It was our final morning on the Wonder after 14 glorious days. I had set the alarm for 7:30 and we got up and ready. I had left the magnets on the door the previous night and took them down. After a quick look around that we had not forgotten anything, we left the cabin for the last time. We managed to find our stateroom host and said goodbye to him. Then we headed to Shutters. This morning it was a little busier than it had been when I collected my CD the previous evening, but it was still manageable. It turned out that the photo had not made it on the CD, but as promised they had burned it on a different CD for me. Once I had picked up the CD, we had a quick look at how busy the atrium was and then we went to the Promenade Lounge where we waited until it was breakfast time for us.

    Breakfast for us that morning was at Parrot Cay. We both had coffee and juice. Graham had ordered some fruit and yoghurt. He got his yoghurt, but never got his fruit. He had ordered white toast and I had ordered a bagel thinking that this would arrive with our hot food, but it came out first. I ate one half while we were waiting for our hot food and kept the other half to have with my omelette. Graham had Route 66, which consists of scrambled eggs, bacon, grilled sausage, grilled ham and hash browns. I had Chef's Farewell, which is a large open-faced omelette topped with barbecued chicken, green peppers, onions and melted Swiss cheese. Once we finished our breakfast, we said goodbye to our serving team, grabbed our stuff and headed for the exit. On the way out, we bumped into our assistant server from our Mexican Riviera cruise in 2011. We said "hi" to her and chatted for a couple of minutes and then we headed towards the atrium.

    I am not sure what was going on that day. When we were waiting to go to breakfast, they had called the Ariel tags. Ariel tags are for those people with early flights that wanted to pick up their luggage in the terminal. When we finished breakfast the still had not called any other tags. They called Daisy shortly afterwards and then there was a long time until the called the next tag. Graham and I took turns going to the bathroom. By that time it was gone 9:00 and they had called Ariel, Daisy and Tinkerbell. I took a couple of photos of Route 66 and then I joined Graham again. They called the Minnie tags and pretty much straightaway announced that all remaining guests could disembark the ship. We got off the Wonder for the last time this trip and were pointed in the direction of where the luggage was. We all had our passports to hand and as soon as we entered the terminal, we were advised that we would not need them. We picked up our luggage, handed in our customs form and then we walked right out of the terminal again. As we did not even have to clear immigration, I really do not understand what the hold up with disembarkation was. My passport stamp count still stood at USA 2 Canada 0.





    When we left the terminal, we walked to the back entrance of the Waterfront Skytrain station. This was a little further than the entrance that we had used the previous week when we were looking at the map, but we had been told that this entrance had lifts and I really did not fancy braving the escalators with all of our luggage. It did not take us long to get there and there was a member of staff by the ticket machines. We told him what we were planning to do and he recommended that we get a day ticket that would be valid on the Skytrain and the buses. He also told us that this was the closest station to Stanley Park and that we would need to take to the buses to get there. He told us where we would get our train from to get to the Pacific Central Station and where we would need to get off. It was great to have somebody there to make sure that we got the best ticket and to point us in the right direction.

    We only had 4 stops to go on the Skytrain and then a short walk to Pacific Central Station where we would catch our train to Seattle from in the evening. The first order of the day was to get rid of our luggage. I had read on the Amtrak website that they offered a checked luggage service up to one our prior to departure and this sounded perfect as this would mean that we would not have to worry about our luggage until Seattle. This is not quite how it worked. They did however have a left luggage facility where we could leave our luggage for a reasonable cost. It was just as well that we decided to do this. I was quite surprised that Amtrak has a maximum weight limit for luggage of 50 Pounds (23kg) per item of luggage. They weighed our luggage at the left luggage place and labelled it and my suitcase was heavier than it should be so I took some stuff out and put it into Graham's case. Once both cases were within the weight limit, we were given our receipts for the two suitcases and the two carry ons and we were good to go. We were also advised that as they had been weighed already, this would save us time in the evening, as they did not have to be weighed again.



    Our next task was to figure out how to get to Stanley Park. In front of the station there is a number of bus stops and we hoped that there would be a route map there that would help us to figure out how to get there. Well, this turned out easier than we had thought. When we got to the first bus stop, the display that showed the next few buses showed one to Stanley Park in 7 minutes. We waited a little bit longer, but that was no problem. This was my first experience of electric buses. I had seen them in San Francisco, but had not tried them. Essentially they are trams without the tracks. The route took us through Chinatown and the city centre and then onwards to the Stanley Park bus loop.

    There are two things that we noticed quite quickly: Stanley Park is very pretty and the sign posting is at best hit and miss. There were two things in Stanley Park that we wanted to see, the totem poles and the aquarium. We figured it would make most sense if we did the totem poles first. They were not sign-posted where we were, but there was a map near the bus loop and the totem poles where marked on that. Fortunately Graham is blessed with a good sense of direction. So we set off. We came across some pretty gardens, buildings and statues and then turned towards the sea front where we encountered a marina and the rowing club. What we did not see were any signposts for the totem poles.





    We decided to stick to the sea front. We had some pretty views of the Vancouver skyline and saw some more Canada Geese in their natural habitat. We also saw plenty of the Wonder as she was docked just across from Stanley Park. I thought that this would be a little bit difficult to keep seeing her after we just got off the ship, but it was actually really nice. Eventually we also saw a signpost to the totem poles so we had gone in the right direction. They were another kilometre or so away, but it was a beautiful sunny day and this was no hardship.

















     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    It was a good job that we finally found a sign post for the totem poles as we may just have walked past them otherwise. They were across the road from the path that we were on and were also set back and not immediately obvious from where we were. Once we had crossed the road and walked down another path though, we were surrounded by them. They were the most elaborate totem poles that I had seen and I spent plenty of time looking at them and taking in all the detail. Graham went for a bathroom stop, which gave me the chance to take plenty of photos. One thing that both surprised and amused me is that we could hear the chime that precedes announcements on the Wonder in this area.













































     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007










    Once I had enjoyed the totem poles for long enough, we carried on. We re-joined the path along the seafront. Our next destination was the Vancouver Aquarium, but true to form, there were no signposts. As we walked along, we saw all kinds of interesting birds including some more bald eagles. We also got a nice view of the Lions Gate Bridge and there were some interesting sculptures dotted around along the seafront and we stopped and had a look at those.



















    Graham had heard from a member of the merchandising team on the Wonder that the Vancouver Aquarium has Belugas. So that was enough of an incentive for us to visit. At $25 per person, it was also not too expensive and as all the admission goes towards the upkeep of the aquarium and conservation projects, we were only too happy to pay this. When we entered the aquarium, we saw that a dolphin show was about to begin and we headed outside to see this. They have two female Pacific White-sided Dolphins who were both rescues and cannot be released. It was great to learn a bit more about those animals. They also had Harbour Porpoises, seals and sea lions in this area.





    Once we had a good look around, we carried on towards Penguin Point, where they have African Penguins on display. After watching the penguins for a while, we went to Canada's Arctic, which is the home of the two resident belugas Aurora and Qila. We watched them from the top of the pool first and then went to the underwater viewing area. On the way out, we had a look at the sea otters before going back inside.





    Inside there were a number of themed galleries representing different marine habitats. They also have a special focus on jellyfish at the moment. Seeing some of the jelly fish, reading where their natural habitats are and realising that we have swam and snorkelled in a lot of them made us wonder if this was such a clever idea. My favourite area inside the aquarium was the Amazon gallery. Apart from fish, they also had bats, snakes, birds, monkeys and sloths there. Once we had finished looking around this gallery, we were basically done. Finding the exit was a bit of a challenge though. Eventually we did figure out where we needed to go. On the way we passed the 4 D Theatre and they were about to let people in for the next show. The show that is shown in the theatre is BBC Earth’s The Great Salmon Run 4-D Experience. It was very interesting to learn more about the life cycle of the salmon and the film at some rather startling special effects.



    When the show was over, we headed towards the exit. We had seen at Stanley Park what we had come for and decided to head back to the bus loop. When we had got off the bus in the morning, the aquarium was clearly sign posted and was only 300 yards away. However, from the aquarium there were no signposts back to the bus loop. We set off, but never found the bus loop. We did however find the main road and managed to catch a bus back to the city centre from there. Fortunately we still had the map that we were given the previous week so I could figure out where we needed to get off to get to Robson Street, which is the main shopping street in Vancouver.
     
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    The bus route ran parallel to Robson Street, but we got off at a cross street and walked a short way up the hill and we were there. Graham found the Lush shop for me in no time. I had a good look around and managed to get a nice big piece of soap that I had always loved, but that had been discontinued in the UK a few years ago. Opposite Lush was a branch of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. I had not been in one of those for years and could not resist going inside and have a look. I was a bit disappointed by the selection though and did not buy anything in the end.

    After all the walking we had done that day and considering how long ago breakfast was, we were ready for something to eat. We decided to stop at a Starbucks. Graham had an Americano and I had an Iced Passion Tea Lemonade. We both had a Turkey and Peppered Bacon Panini. I also had a Cheesecake Brownie and Graham had a Cranberry Orange Scone. We took our time over our late lunch or afternoon tea and I made same use of the free Wi-Fi although the connection there was not wonderful.

    When we finished our food and drink, we headed to the closest Skytrain station. By the station entrance we found a beautiful dolphin statue. I have since found out there is a lot more of those. We took the Skytrain back to Pacific Central Station. When we got to the station, it was a completely different proposition from the morning. There were huge lines. I filled out the customs form and then we went to retrieve our luggage. After this we got in line for our train. Fortunately Graham had bought business class tickets and the line for this was not anywhere near as long as the normal line. A member of staff came around to check reservations and paperwork. He directed us straight to the check in desk, where we were given our seat assignments and some vouchers for the bistro. Then we were directed to US Immigration. I could not believe it. We got our third US stamp in our passports and I never did manage to get a Canadian stamp. At least two of the US stamps say Vancouver. We then went through security and towards the train. When we got to the train, we were asked if we wanted to check our luggage in. We took them up on this offer. I just kept my handbag with my camera and my iPad and my fleece blanket. Graham kept his backpack. The rest we checked. We got half of the claim receipts and the other half was stapled to the customs form.





    Our train carriage was the almost the furthest away from the entrance to the platform. We finally got there and made ourselves comfortable. The seats were huge and very comfortable. The carriage was also only about half full. There was also another family in our carriage that had come from the Disney Wonder. I was delighted when I realised that we had free Wi-Fi on the train and this connection was more stable then the one at Starbucks. When the train departed, we did not get very far. We sat in a siding for quite a while waiting for the Rocky Mountaineer to pass. This looks like a fascinating route and I would not mind doing this at some stage.

    Once the train had passed, we were finally on our way. When we were clear of Vancouver, we were travelling along the coastline pretty much all the way to Seattle. I spent my time enjoying the view and catching up online. At some stage we officially crossed the border. The train had to stop and TSA agents came on the train to check passports and collect the customs forms. This was a quick and painless process and soon we were back on our way. At some stage, Graham went to get some drinks from the bistro and later in the journey; I decided to get us some food. We had the vouchers, which paid for most of it. Graham had a cheeseburger and I had a Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowl. They were both very nice. We also had a cinnamon roll each. I was glad that I had decided to get the fleece blanket because already I was getting good use out of it. I just snuggled up in it and I was happy.













    Even though we had the delay waiting for the Rocky Mountaineer to pass, we arrived in Seattle on time. On the train, one of the members of staff had recommended that we have a look at King Street Station as this had recently been refurbished and was very nice. Nothing prepared me to what expected us. This is the most beautiful city I have ever seen. As it was quite busy and the lighting was not great this late at night. We had to wait for our luggage, which would come out on the luggage belt. Graham went to check out how we would get to the light railway. He came back with some idea on where we needed to go and our luggage arrived soon afterwards. There were a bunch of suitcases coming off the belt with Disney Cruise Line tags on. We were obviously not the only people who had the idea to take the train to Seattle.





    Once we had all of our luggage, we set off. There was a bit of confusion. There are two different kinds of local trains, the Sounder, which is a commuter train that goes to places like Tacoma and runs during limited hours only and then there is the Link Light Rail, which links Downtown Seattle with SeaTac Airport. This is what we wanted. However the signs that Graham had seen were for the Sounder. Still, we were going in the right direction and the Transit Tunnel from where we caught the Link Light Rail was not much further. Unfortunately the lift was broken. Graham was my knight in shining armour and carried the two big suitcases downstairs and I followed him with the hand luggage. We did not have to wait long until the train arrived.

    The journey out to SeaTac took about 30 minutes and as soon as we got off the train, we saw our hotel. By the time we got there, it was completely dark and we turned the wrong way out of the station. We walked for a while with our luggage, but could not find any access for the hotel. In the end I left Graham with our luggage and went inside the Holiday Inn, which was the closest hotel to where we were, and asked for directions. They told me to cut through their car park and there would be a staircase to our hotel. I retrieved Graham and the luggage and we cut through the car park of the Holiday Inn, but we never saw the staircase. We did follow their driveway and turned left and we were in car park for the Clarion Hotel where we would be staying for the next three nights. Check in was smooth and when we mentioned how tired we were; he gave us a nice quiet room. When we got to the room, we switched off the fridge, as this was quite noisy and got ready for bed. We were both asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow.
     

    Chilly

    RIP Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Apr 25, 2006
    We enjoyed our day in Stanley Park as well it was so pretty. We found getting around on public transport easy as well.
     

    Pinkocto

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2011
    You were quite adventurous. I'm glad all the traveling was pretty smooth. I've heard Seattle has a lot to do, looking forward to hearing about it. Those totems were beautiful, and the aquarium sounded lovely.
     
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    You were quite adventurous. I'm glad all the traveling was pretty smooth. I've heard Seattle has a lot to do, looking forward to hearing about it. Those totems were beautiful, and the aquarium sounded lovely.
    Not really. One of Graham's hobbies is to take to the buses in places we visit. I am pretty used to it. Seattle was amazing and there is still so much I really want to do there so we definitely have to go back. The Vancouver Aquarium is a real gem.

    Corinna
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 20

    We were not on any particular timetable that day so we had not set a wake up call. We woke up at around 9:30, had a shower and got dressed. We got our stuff that we needed for the day and headed out. In daylight we saw where we had gone wrong the previous day. In order to get to the SeaTac Link Light Rail we just needed to walk through the car park of the Clarion Hotel and turn right and after a few steps down the hill we were at the entrance to the station. We got a day ticket each and then headed to the platform. A train for downtown Seattle was waiting at the station, but it took a little while until we left. This morning we took the train to its terminus at the Westlake Center shopping mall. There was quite a bit of public art along the train route and at the station and we also got a good view of Mount Rainier.

    Westlake is still part of the transit tunnel. This was a fascinating concept. In the downtown area, the Link Light Rail goes underground. However, it shares this space with the buses, which makes transferring between the two really easy. It was not the buses that we were after at this point though. The first order of the day was getting some breakfast and then we wanted to get the monorail to the Seattle Center. We left the transit tunnel for the surface and we were a little lost. I found a map a short way down the street and while we were looking at this, one of the security guards from Westlake Center approached us to see if he could help. We explained that we were looking for some breakfast and then for the monorail. He pointed us towards the food court, which is on the top floor of the Westlake Center and advised access to the monorail was through there, too. The Westlake Center is a strange kind of place. To start off with it is tiny by American standards. It is also being completely refurbished and is pretty much a building site at the moment. Near the entrance, I spotted a Lush shop. It does have a nice food court though. Most of the outlets were really aimed at the lunchtime trade, but we did find a McDonalds and decided that a McDonalds breakfast was just what we wanted. Graham had a coffee and Big Breakfast, which consisted of a buttermilk biscuit, scrambled eggs, a sausage patty and hash browns. I had an orange juice, a sausage biscuit with egg and a hash brown.

    When we finished our breakfast, Graham told me that he was quite happy to sit if I wanted to have a look at the Lush shop. I took him up on the offer. They did not have anything that I had not already seen in Vancouver and actually did not have a few things that I seen in Vancouver. I am still glad that I went, as I like to visit Lush in every new city that I visit that has one. What I had not appreciated is that Vancouver is the head office for their North America operation, which probably explains the extra product lines.

    I re-joined Graham and we went to find the monorail. We encountered something very unusual for the USA. They only accepted cash for the tickets. Our cash supply was quite depleted by this point, but I still had some. We bought two return tickets and got on the monorail. Once we got on the monorail, we did not have to wait very long until we left. We headed non-stop to the Seattle Center. When we got off at the other end, I spotted a little shop. While I was on the train earlier, I suddenly realised that my spare memory card was in my other bag. I had taken well over 1500 photos at this stage and was aware that I could run out of memory card at any moment. I had no joy finding one at the Westlake Center and this little shop did not have any either. They did however tell me that the gift shop at the Space Needle sold them. As we were heading to the Space Needle anyway, this was no hardship.

    When we got to the Space Needle, we got our tickets from one of the self-service machines. They did a combo ticket for the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass, which is what we ended up getting. We then had a look around the gift shop and I got my memory card before heading up the stairs to the entrance of the Space Needle. They had floor to ceiling windows in this area and I got my first proper view of Chihuly Garden and Glass. Just before we reached the lifts, we were intercepted by a photographer who took a photo of us in front of a blue screen. We were given a card with a code and advised that we could add a background to this photo upstairs and then email the photo to ourselves. Then we were directed towards one of the lifts. We had a short wait and then we were on our way. The lifts travel at a speed of 10 miles an hour and the trip to the top takes 41 seconds. The lifts have got glass panels so you get a view as you go up, which is slightly disconcerting.



    When we got to the top, we had a look at some displays about the history of the Seattle Center and the Space Needle. Both where built for the 1962 World's Fair and the Space Needle was built in a record 8 months after there had been some problems obtaining land to build it on. The last of the lift cars was however only installed a day before opening. It was quite fascinating stuff. Once we had done something for our education, we went to one of the kiosks where we looked at the different background options for our photo. We decided on one and I emailed this to both of our email addresses. I thought that the complimentary photo was a nice touch. You also could buy prints if you wanted to in the gift shop, but the electronic version was free.



    With this taken care of, we headed out to the observation deck. The view was pretty stunning. At different parts of the observation deck, we had a view over the port where tow ships were docked, the nearby mountains and the skyline of Seattle. At one stage I surprised Graham. He has a natural compass and can always tell in which direction he is looking. This has its uses, but is also slightly irritating, as I would not know where north is if it came and bit me on the nose. I am however very observant and noticed some very discrete letters indicating the directions on the observation platform. Graham had not spotted them. I suddenly asked him if the direction we were looking at was southeast. He paused for a couple of seconds and then confirmed that it is. He asked me how I knew and I told him I had learned a new skill. He looked so confused that eventually I had to come clean.













































     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007


    Once we had enjoyed the view for long enough or braved the lofty heights for far longer than expected, we went inside. By then we were ready for something to drink. They had a little cafe inside and with this being Seattle; they of course served Starbucks products. Graham had an Americano. I wanted a cold drink and had a cherry-flavoured Italian cream soda, which was very nice. Once we had finished our drinks, we got in line for the lift and headed down. Graham liked the going down even less than the going up, but I was so excited about was coming next that I do not remember this part at all.

    When we left the Space Needle, it was time to use the second half of our combo ticket. Chihuly Garden and Glass is diagonally across from the Space Needle and was one of the main reasons why I wanted to visit Seattle. For those of you not familiar with him, Dale Chihuly is the most amazing glass artist. He is actually from the neighbouring Tacoma. I would have loved to visit Tacoma and see his works there, but this was not possible within the time we had and the other things I wanted to do while in Seattle. So this was the next best thing. I first got introduced to his work when I started to go on cruises as the Magic and the Wonder both have a Chihuly chandelier. As I love those so much, I took an interest in his other work and the more I saw, the more I loved it. For years I could just admire them online and I was glad that I was finally able to see more of his work in person. Chihuly Garden and Glass is still relatively new and consists of three distinct parts: the galleries that showcase samples of all the different series that he worked on, the glasshouse and the gardens. This is one of those things where Graham was essentially humouring me. He did never quite get my obsession with Dale Chihuly's work, but as he knew that seeing this would make me happy, he was happy to tag along. In the end he was as captivated by this as I was.





    The experience starts with the galleries and the first thing we saw was brilliantly lit glass spires. They are entitled Glass Forest. The Glass Forest elements are created by simultaneously blowing and pouring molten glass from the top of a stepladder to the floor below. We were both more than a little bemused by this and wondered why anybody in their right might would want to get up a stepladder with hot molten glass. Still, the effect is pretty stunning.







    We then entered the first proper room where bowls and baskets inspired by Native American blankets were displayed. This is called the Northwest Room. At the back wall, they also had a display of the kind of blankets that inspired this series. This was very nicely done, but also kind of surprised me. I associate the big show stopping pieces and installations with Chihuly and this was fairly low key. In the next gallery, things got bigger and bolder with a huge sculpture in the middle of the room. This is the Sealife Room. The central statue is very much like the one at the Atlantis in Dubai that I was really hoping to see, but was not allowed to. Apart from the central sculpture, there were smaller sea life themed sculptures and drawings around the gallery.













    Next up was the Persian ceiling. This is absolutely stunning. The room as a glass ceiling with colourful glass shapes that strongly remind me of the chandeliers on the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder piled up. This in itself would be stunning, but they are also backlit. I am not sure if the lighting is natural light from a huge skylight or artificial, but either way it works.







    Next up was the Mille Fiori, which is Italian for a thousand flowers. This was the first sign of things to come. This area consisted of smaller glass statues, glass spheres in all kinds of colours and sizes and stalks or blades of glass in all kinds of colours and texture. By this point Graham was hooked, too. He was suddenly getting what I am finding so fascinating about Dale Chihuly's work. He spoke for a while with one of the attendants in this gallery and the amount of time it takes to create each of those pieces is staggering. All of them are created by multiple people and even the smallest piece weighs about 25 pounds.











     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    I had moved on by then. The next room was a bit unusual. It had a stage at the far end with two wooden boats. One of them was filled with glass spheres in different colours, textures and sizes and is one example of the Niijima Floats series. The other boat was filled with flower shapes and is part of the Ikebana series. There was a photographer in this area offering to take a complimentary photo. So when Graham joined me, we took him up on this offer. We were given a card with a code and where told we could either email it to ourselves from the kiosks near the entrance of the glasshouse or we could download it from a website at home. The card that we were given was a little piece of art in itself. The card was made from plastic and had a photo of two of the chandeliers on it.









    The next gallery was the chandeliers. The chandeliers can consist of as many as 1000 separate parts. The chandeliers on display here are very different from the ones on the Disney ships and work with different shapes and textures but only one colour per chandelier. They were still impressive.















    The last gallery was the Macchia Forest. The Macchia remind me of the Persians, but they have some very distinct characteristics. The interior and exterior colours are separated with a white layer. They also all have spots on the outsides. Those are created buy rolling the molten glass in small shards of coloured glass during the blowing process. If I could afford a Dale Chihuly piece then I think this is what I would go for. I just love the effect of the different colours working together. They sold some in the gift shop and even the smaller pieces were between $5000 and $7000.





     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Once we had finished with the inside galleries, we headed for the glasshouse. In the hallway leading to this there were pictures of historic glasshouses. I got a real buzz when I spotted one from Manchester. Unfortunately this beautiful building is long since gone and the transport exchange is now where it used to be, but it was still nice to see the picture. The glasshouse itself is stunning in its simplicity. It is as huge airy space with colourful glass flower shapes in warm colours hanging from the top. The shapes reminded me of the chandeliers on the Disney ships again.







    Parallel to the glasshouse and leading to the gardens was a covered walkway with some smaller chandeliers. It was great to see them in natural light. This really brought out the difference of textures. It also helped that they were much lower down. From there it was onwards to the gardens. They feature a couple of large glass sculptures, but for the most part glass blades, stalks and spheres just show up in amongst the plants. This is very cleverly done and visually stunning. Unfortunately while we enjoyed the gardens, my camera ran out of charge. Fortunately I had also brought my iPhone so I could continue taking photos with this.



































     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007




































    On the way back, we sat in the glasshouse for a while to just enjoy the beautiful surroundings. A photographer had turned up in this location and when we walked past him, he offered us another complimentary photo. We were happy to take him up on the offer. On the way out we had a quick look in the theatre where they were showing a film about how one of the bigger sculptures is created, which was fascinating. We then had a look around the shop, which was decidedly strange before heading out.

     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    We went back to the monorail. This time we had a short wait for one to arrive. While we were waiting, a rather large school group arrived. This would have been a very full monorail if they had got on as there were other people waiting as well. When the monorail came the adults with the school group announced that they would not be getting on this monorail and asking them to step back. When we got on the monorail, we realised that the seats right next to the driver were empty. It has always been my dream to ride in the driver's cab of a monorail. Unfortunately this is no longer and option at Walt Disney World and I have not been able to pull this off yet at Disneyland. This was not quite the same as the monorail is open plan, but it was still pretty amazing and we got at fantastic view.

    When we arrived back in the city centre, we headed off towards the Pike Place Market, as there was something else there that I really wanted to visit. The original Starbucks store is in this area. I have to admit I do have a bit of a Starbucks habit and the baristas at my local Starbucks do not only welcome me by name, but also know precisely what I like and how I like it. So I really could not go to Seattle and not go where everything started. We noticed very soon that San Francisco is not the only place with steep hills. The hill that we had to go down to get to Pike Place Market is quite something. As soon as we were in front of Pike Place Market, Graham spotted the brown Starbucks sign. There was a Barbershop Quarter singing just outside the store entertaining the people waiting. This must be the smallest Starbucks store that I have ever seen. It is strictly take away only and they only sell drinks and various souvenirs, but no food. The line looked quite impressive, but moved very quickly. I got a Green Tea Frappuccino and got an Americano for Graham. Graham was surprised how quickly I was out again.







    We took our drinks and wandered around Pike Place Market. Initially it very much reminded me of the craft market at Covent Garden in London with the same mix of arts and crafts and souvenirs. However, as we walked further, we came across the food market. Even though I hate fish and can't stand the smell normally, I was fascinated by the fish stalls where the fishmongers where throwing the fish from one person to the other. There was also just about any type of produce known to humankind represented there. They also had my favourite cherries, Rainier Cherries. I had totally forgotten that they come from Washington State. One of the regrets that I have about this trip is that I did not get any. It would have been great to try them as fresh as they come.

    Once we had finished our drinks and had seen enough of the market, we decided to go for a wander in the surrounding area. On our travels we came across another branch of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and this was more like what I was used to. I bought some goodies to enjoy later and then I re-joined Graham. Shortly afterwards we came across a staircase leading down to the seafront. We decided to check this out. There is not actually much there. The Seattle Aquarium can be found there, as can little park areas and eventually you reach the port. There was something in the port that attracted my interest. While we were in Alaska we followed around a smaller cruise ship called the Regatta. I had never been able to figure out which cruise line this ship belongs to. So we decided to enter the terminal and ask. This is an Oceania ship. We also made a quick bathroom stop and then we used their lift to get back up to the level of the city centre.

    By this time, we were ready for something to eat. At this point we realised that for all its charm, Seattle is a rather strange city. We could not find any restaurants. The only restaurant that we could find at all was P. F. Chang's China Bistro and neither of us fancied this. I tried to find a wireless hotspot to see what else there was around and we were intercepted by one of the security guards from the shopping mall. We asked him if he knew of any restaurants in the area serving American food. He was not sure and radioed somebody. The best he could come up with was a steakhouse that was so far away that we would need a bus to get there. So we decided to give up on this project and find something to eat closer to the hotel.

    When we were on the Link that morning, Graham had spotted a sign for a Restaurant Mile near Columbia City station. So we decided to check this out. Columbia City is very much in the category "Leafy Suburbs", which was just as well as it was at least a mile to get from the station to the Restaurant Mile. There were plenty of restaurants to choose from covering just about every region of the world. The one thing we could not find was any American food. In the end we settled on Mexican food.

    The restaurant was called El Sombrero and seemed to be a genuine neighbourhood restaurant. It was a little bit dark and the decor was a little suspect, but the service was great and the food was delicious. It was also great value. As soon as we were seated, we were brought some freshly cooked corn chips with the most amazing salsa. It was quite thin, but full of flavour. We both had some water. Graham had a Corona and I had a Margarita on the rocks that easily made it into my top 5. Graham fancied a steak and went with marinated flank steak, salad and fries. I was struggling to make up my mind between three different dishes, but in the end went with the Chicken Mole Poblano with Mexican Rice, refried beans and corn tortillas. I could not believe the size of those plates. Even though we had not eaten a great deal that day and had plenty of exercise, neither of us could quite finish our food.

    The walk back to the station was a bit of a challenge considering how stuffed we were. One thing amused us though. There were two kinds animals I had hoped to see in Alaska, but did not succeed in doing: orcas and huskies. While we were waiting at traffic lights, a woman came past with a husky. We both had to laugh. We had been all over southeast Alaska and I never saw a husky only to see one in the suburbs of Seattle.

    We had discussed going for a swim in the hotel pool when we got back, but decided to give the food a chance to settle first. I went online on my iPad and Graham ended up falling asleep. So in the end we never got our swim that evening. Once I had checked my emails and caught up with Facebook, I checked out the restaurant options for the next day and then I settled down for the night as well.
     

    Pinkocto

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2011
    The Chihuly exhibits were amazing! Thank you for taking all those photos. Each and every piece had me oohing and awing. The outside pieces look so delicate, I'm surprised they're safe out in the elements.

    Glad you found a restaurant, it sounded delicious.
     

    disgeek009

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2012
    Wow, I'm stunned by the Chihuly gardens! I work in downtown Seattle, and I had no idea that was there at all! Thanks for sharing the gorgeous photos.

    That's a shame you couldn't find a good restaurant close to the market, but I'm glad that it worked out in the end.
     



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