mercoledì 25 settembre 2013

Puget Sound, Seattle’s shore

Seattle, Puget Sound © Luca Ferrari
From the totems of Pioneer Square to the War Memorial. From the green of the Olympic Sculpture Park up to Alki Beach. A long walk in Seattle.

Between Stockholm and Paris. US X-Files. Metropolitan County. Modern composition of skyscrapers, ocean and woodland. Deep down in a delicate continental isolation, between up-and-down neighbourhoods, contemporary art represents itself offering waves of new inspiration. The sea is the everlasting lookout in the urban skyline. In shorts, Seattle. The Seat of King County,

If you’ve just arrived and want to discover the city, walks or buses are the best way to do so. I move from Capitol Hill, a crowded area with a romantic and old-fashioned touch. Right there, I find a small bookshop where I get my city guide. There is nothing yet in Italian, only a general tourist guide to the US north-west frontier. Although the popular “Seattle day by day” is a reliable sources of information, I have to admit is more fun to follow my instinct.

And so I get to Pioneer Square, where one can admire old Europe (the Romanic-styled Pioneer Building) side-by-side to Native American totems. After a short walk, I find myself at Waterfall Garden. A little green oasis with a small waterfall where passer-by’s can sit down and enjoy the relaxing environment while reading the newspaper. As in the rest of the US, there are limitations for smokers. Smoking is not allowed on public transport, public places and even on the premises of banks, offices and malls.

On my way to Downtown, nearby the popular Benaroya Hall, at the cross between University Street and the 2nd Avenue, there is the War Memorial. Names and surnames of all servicemen and servicewomen who died in Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq. Deeply emotional statements are sculpted on the marble. Amongst the others: “This is too nice a time of year to be fighting a war.”

I walk towards the Olympic Sculpture Park. More than thirty thousand acres hosting a public park, open-air sculptures and a beach open to the public in January 2007. The continuous gurgling of a fountain is noisier than the calm waves dying off on the sand. I change neighbourhood, although I stay by the sea. On the most westward point of Seattle, Alki Point, is the homonymous Alki Beach, the perfect place to enjoy from a terrace the view of the Olympic Mountains.

Although many believe the waters are cold, the climate is in fact temperate during the summer. I gaze at a young lady with a coloured kerchief, holding her shoes and waking barefoot on the beach. I do the same. Surprisingly the water by the shore is not freezing. I look towards Puget Sound and beyond. There, many maritime miles away, lies Japan. I move on in between Alki Avenue and the sand. People linger long and walk. Some cycle around and others use pedal karts to stroll on the cyclers path. Kids and adults enjoy skateboarding. On the beach four young women are engaged in a very competitive volley match. Before them, a mixed double.

Alki Beach is one of the favourite by the locals. During the weekend, when the sun is high, families arrive to spend there the whole day. The area is equipped with benches and even a big barbecue. Meanwhile one cannot but notice the presence of the many young Mexicans, a well-established presence in the city, on their characteristic low-riders.

On my way back I see a miniature of the New York Statue of Liberty on whose basement have been engraved the names of those who contributed to its realisation. Then I see a small house on the shoreline. The waves from Pudget Sound easily reaches its windows. I could see myself there, surrounded by a warm blanket in the morning with a hot cup of coffee before my new day. 

I try to find an analogy between my lagoon in Venice and the Ocean. I believe I found one and I intend to keep it for my next visit. There are words on the sand, a paper boat has sailed. This instinctive analogy has struck me down, though not unsurprisingly. It exactly what we were – are – saying. Together.    

Watch other Seattle pictures on the Italian article: Puget Sound, la costa di Seattle

Seattle, Puget Sound © Antonietta Salvatore
Seattle, Waterfall Garden © Luca Ferrari
Seattle, War Memorial © Luca Ferrari
Seattle, Olympic Sculpture Park © Luca Ferrari
Seattle, Alki Avenue © Luca Ferrari
Seattle, Alki Beach © Luca Ferrari
Seattle, Alki Beach © Luca Ferrari
Seattle, Alki Beach - Statue of Liberty © Luca Ferrari
Seattle, Alki Beach © Luca Ferrari

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