5 Senses in Seattle
If the definition of hedonism is to devote oneself to the pleasure of the senses, then my recent weekend getaway in Seattle certainly fits the bill. I’d never been to the Emerald City before, and each moment was a salve for a separate sense, be it sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound.
From the tall trees of the Pacific Northwest to the mottled blue of the Puget Sound to the hulking troll beneath the Fremont Bridge, Seattle’s sights demand attention. There’s everything from the Jetsons-esque Space Needle to the Jetsons display in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame & Museum, not to mention little eccentricities like the pink-elephant car wash sign, knickknack-filled vintage shop windows, and picturesque ferry boats plying the water. My favorite sight, however, was the stand after stand of fresh flower bouquets in Pike Place Market, the colors so vivid against the slate-gray sky.
During the weekend I was there, showers passed overhead regularly, and with them the ozone and spring-leaf scent of fresh rainfall. Pike Place Market was a scent symphony, with the aforementioned flowers, hot pirogues fresh out of the oven, wild berries mingling with citrus, and sweet donuts giving way to the scent of the sea in the fish section (watch out for fish flying overhead), giving way again to fresh coffee and handmade fudge.
On Friday night, we went to a Mariners baseball game at the stadium. It ended up being a very high-scoring game (the Mariners final score was 15) and each run caused an eruption of high-fives and whoops in the stands. There’s something about the rumble of the stands, the texture of breaking peanut shells in your fingers, and that feel of slapping high-fives with strangers, that got us feeling a camaraderie with the locals in a way we hadn’t yet otherwise.
Perhaps the sense I most hedonistically indulged during my time to Seattle was that of taste. I was traveling with a chef whose modus operandi was to try everything and hold nothing back. Seattle is a great city for that kind of attitude, what with all the fresh offerings of the market, local microbrews and wines, and a West Coast style. In the span of one weekend I had everything from sinful truffle-oil French fries and fried (yes, fried!) macaroni and cheese to a grilled asparagus salad and fig-cheese kabobs with a tzatsiki dipping sauce.
Sure there was the roar of the crowd at the baseball game, the sound of trains in the distance, and seagulls laughing overhead, but the place in Seattle to truly indulge your ears is the Experience Music Project, a museum housed in a Frank Gehry-designed building. Here, you can hear everything from the voodoo guitar riffs of local son Jimi Hendrix to the rasping wails of local grunge bands like Nirvana and Alice in Chains. There’s an entire room of instruments you can try and an entire display of electric guitars going back to the very firsts.
Ever been to Seattle? What senses have you indulged?
Photo courtesy of IgoUgo member onesundaymorning
My name: Rachel Berg.
Favorite way to get around: By Venetian gondola during starlit high tide, gliding past decaying and slightly spooky palaces, with perhaps a bottle of prosecco placed between the gondola seat cushions.
View that took my breath away: Unable to sleep in the mystical city of Sfat in Israel, I wandered outdoors predawn and was treated to a purple-on-purple sunrise below the mountaintop that seemed to emerge feet-first through ground-level clouds.
Greatest travel lesson learned: Sunny weather isn't everything. Some of my best travel memories involve go-karting through a deluge turned mud-fest in Mexico, drinking tea in the cold Denali tundra, and watching electric thunderstorms roll through national parks out West.
Most challenging travel moment: Getting leveled by altitude sickness in Cuzco and realizing that my body was forcing me to slow down and rest despite the fact that there was so much to do and see.
Travel ambition: To see the northern lights.