Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Flight of The PENguin: From Vancouver to Seattle

Our only full day in Vancouver we spent riding one of the city’s hop-on hop-off tours, finally getting off in Stanley Park and walking up to the totem poles and then back to downtown.

Here a few views of Vancouver from the Seawall:

And a blue heron, here waiting on the shore to see what’s good to eat. No shortage of good food in the city, for man or bird.

We also managed to get by the Vancouver Pen Shop and had a lovely chat with Margot McRae, who was friendly and knowledgeable. This seems to be a good, old-fashioned pen shop with folks who know pens and know the business. It is worth a visit any time you are in the city.

On Wednesday we journeyed from Vancouver, sad to leave Canada, down to Seattle, there to hook up with a couple of pen friends, wander Pike Street Markets with them and have a lovely dinner at Ivars, where the local staeamed Manila Clams were superb.

One of the themes of the trip seems to be public libraries. Seattle’s new library, designed by the world famous architect Rem Koolhaas dominates a square city block. To me, the building looks somewhat out of scale with the surroundings, but there is no denying that it is a world-class piece of architecture for a city that will grow around it. Everywhere, the city’s famous culture is evident, not just in the coffee houses on every corner, but the nightlife. Even midweek, the city seems to accelerate after 5:00.
And, unlike Vancouver, Seattle has preserved its older architecture which exists, sometimes happily sometimes not, along the new postmodern blocks and towers.

Our time in Seattle was short, but the city seems more than impressive.

As I noted at the start, this is my first real contact with the Pacific northwest and I am smitten. Vancouver would be a wonderful place to live.

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