America Through My Eyes

Seattle (Part-2)

Telugu Original : Dr K.Geeta 

English Translation: V.Vijaya Kumar

Space Needle: We departed from Pike Place Market around 2 PM on our way to the Space Needle. A monorail exclusively connects this market to the Space Needle, and we decided to take that train, for which we’d have to return here later to retrieve our car. Since we intended to head to the hotel afterwards, we abandoned that plan. Both the Space Needle and Glass Garden are located within the same premises, each offering its own captivating features.

          Parking at the site is limited to valet parking only, albeit a bit costly. We took advantage of a discount by purchasing tickets for both attractions together, paying $33 per person.

The construction of the Space Needle : The construction of the Space Needle began with an idea from the chairman of the 1962 World Fair in Seattle to create a towering structure with a restaurant. Remarkably, this idea materialized within a year, encompassing site preparation, resource collection, and construction, just before the fair commenced.

          The grandeur of the Space Needle commands the Seattle skyline. My heart raced as I anticipated the panoramic view of the city from its summit. Initially, we mistakenly waited in line for the descent elevator for about 10 minutes. To ascend, we needed to exit, turn left towards the ticket counter, pass through the ticket checkpoint, and then board the elevator. The ascent took a mere 4 minutes, slightly slower compared to our previous experiences in places like Las Vegas and New York.

          We had heard that Seattle was notorious for its rain, making us apprehensive about exploring with the children. Fortunately, during our four-day stay, we were blessed with dry weather. Though it was overcast that morning, the sun shone brightly as we explored the market.

          The beauty of Seattle from atop the Space Needle is truly a sight to behold. The city’s lights radiated in mesmerizing patterns, intermittently piercing through the fog. In the distance, Mount Rainier gleamed as a snow-covered peak, while Lake Union glistened like a vast pond in the heart of the city. On the opposite side, a broad waterfront graced the city. Seattle, with its seaside charm, reminded me of Visakhapatnam.

          Seattle has thrived as a major port for Alaska and Canada since the early 19th century. Shipbuilding gained prominence, especially during the Second World War, coinciding with the inception of Boeing aircraft manufacturing in the area. It emerged as a significant northern port during the California Gold Rush. Since the 1980s, it has transformed into a technology hub, home to giants like Microsoft and Amazon.

          We were pleasantly surprised not to encounter the usual strong winds at such heights. We circled the tower multiple times before entering the inner restaurant, savoring the city’s beauty through the windows while enjoying coffee.

          As we descended and headed towards the adjacent Glass Garden, the children gleefully ran about the lawn. Looking up at the Space Needle, Siri even lay down on the ground to admire it. I too felt an urge to recline like a child. I embraced the shadow of the Space Needle against the sky, circling a room supported by four arched pillars, like a merry go round before proceeding to the Glass Garden.

Chihuly’s Glass Garden: Chihuly’s Glass Garden adjacent to the Space Needle, is another wonder in its own right. If the Space Needle showcases human engineering, the Glass Garden epitomizes human artistry. Upon entering, one is greeted by a forest of exquisitely crafted glass sculptures in various colors and shapes, a testament to the immense time and effort invested in each piece. We watched a glass vase being created, which took approximately half an hour. This gave us a glimpse into the dedication required to construct this glass wonderland.

          Delving into the backstory of this Glass Garden, we learned that Dale Chihuly, born in Washington State in 1941, possessed extraordinary talent in glass artistry. This garden stands as a tribute to his skill, showcasing the inner beauty that emerges when a person dedicates themselves to their chosen craft. Passing through the vibrant exhibits in dimly lit rooms and then emerging into a large hall with a glass dome, we marveled at the stunning glass flower arches cascading down. I lost track of time immersed in this glass wonderland, captivated by its beauty and oblivious to my surroundings.

          As we left, we continued to admire the glass flowers, plants, and trees interspersed among the natural flora until the sun dipped below the horizon. Despite the fatigue etched on everyone’s faces, no one wanted to leave the city. The allure of this mesmerizing aesthetic place was undeniable, even to the children.

          This is how Seattle welcomed us on our first day. Our hotel, conveniently close to the airport but 20 miles from the city center, required daily commuting. Renting a luxury car made this more comfortable. We reached the hotel in the evening, took relaxing hot baths, had dinner at a nearby American restaurant, and drifted off to sleep. Even in my dreams, I couldn’t escape thoughts of the Space Needle and the Glass Garden.


(to be continued…)

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