Wednesday/ at the museum ⚔️

The National Nordic Museum is a museum in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, dedicated to the Nordic history, art, culture, and the heritage of the area’s Nordic immigrants.

Here are a few pictures that I had taken inside of the museum, and of items on display.

Saturday/ Seattle Center ✨

Here is a smattering of pictures that I took at Seattle Center: from the Space Needle, from inside the Chihuly Garden and Glass and from inside the Museum of Pop Culture.

Saturday/ good-bye to Tokyo 😘

I am at Haneda airport— ready for the flight back to Vanouver (9 hours), and then on to Seattle (45 mins). I had a wonderful time, but I am looking forward to the cooler weather that seems to persist this summer in the Pacific Northwest.

Here’s a view from the little driverless train on the Yurikamome Line (it opened in 1995) that runs across Odeiba, an artificial island close to the shoreline in Tokyo Bay. The 6-car train runs on a double track and 600 V 50 Hz 3-phase alternating current.
Look for the little Statue of Liberty in the second picture (on Odeiba). In the background is the Rainbow Bridge that opened in August 1993, so just about 30 years old.

Friday night in Ginza ⭐️

Happy Friday.
I ran out to Ginza district one more time, to take a few night pictures. The schools are out for the summer break here in Tokyo, and the train stations were even more crowded than they had been all week.
It was already past 8 pm, but the trains were still full of salarymen* in their white shirts and black pants, making their way home.

*A salaryman (サラリーマン, sararīman) is a salaried worker. In Japanese popular culture, this is embodied by a white-collar worker who shows overriding loyalty and commitment to the corporation where he works [Wikipedia]

The Seiko clock tower on the Wako specialty store, a famous Ginza landmark;
Mitsukoshi Ginza department store kitty corner from the Wako building, with the Matsuya Ginza store a little further down;
Uniqlo’s flagship store in Tokyo, on all seven floors (a Japanese casual wear designer, manufacturer and retailer).

Friday/ the Marunouchi line 🚇

The Marunouchi Line runs in a U-shape between Ogikubo Station in Suginami and Ikebukuro Station in Toshima.
I took it from beautiful Tokyo station (first two pictures) to Shinjuku station today.  (Got to love the graphic posters that warn of the dangers of trying to board a departing train).  

Saturday/ a classy lobby

I took these pictures of the newly completed Cedar Hall lobby at the U.S. Bank Center at 5th Avenue and Pine Street last Sunday.

The interior designers and craftsmen did a great job.
I believe they will still add a restaurant or bars inside, later.


Sunday/ at the Waterfront 🛳

I walked around the Seattle Waterfront this afternoon.
It is still somewhat of a work in progress.
The new Colman Dock ferry terminal is nearing completion, but several walkways and connections to the Waterfront are still under construction.

The passenger building at the new Seattle Ferry Terminal is a vast improvement over the old one: it fully faces the waters of Puget Sound, with large windows looking onto Elliott Bay and also back at the city.
The passenger walkway at Marion Street across Alaskan Way, connecting the downtown surface streets with the Seattle Ferry Terminal.
Looking back (south) towards the Seattle Ferry Terminal.
Miners Landing is still there, as are all the other touristy t-shirt and souvenir shops, restaurants and food joints.
I made it to the Pike Place Market complex, on the Old Stove Brewing patio and looking south. The construction is for the Overlook Walk: an elevated public park and connection between the Waterfront to Seattle’s urban core.
The summer cruise season is in full swing by now.
This is the Norwegian Encore, getting ready for its 5 pm departure to Juneau, Alaska.
Now making my way back to Capitol Hill.
‘Don’t mind me, please, driver’ I thought as I snapped this picture of a forest green Rivian R1T electric truck.
Crossing Third Avenue in downtown. The 1928 Belltown Self Storage building is now closed, and plans are afoot to build a new 8-story combination hotel and apartment structure behind the terracotta facade.
Just a little bit further north on Third Ave is First Light Seattle, a luxury condominium tower that is going up. Construction is by real estate developer Westbank Corp from Vancouver, BC.

Wednesday/ stamps from Denmark 🇩🇰

My seller in Denmark sends me my stamps in envelopes decked out with beautiful stamps from yesteryear.

The descriptions are from the Scott 2012 Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, Vol 2 Countries C-F.

Highway Engineering, Engraved, Perf. 13
Issued 1972, Oct. 19
509 A150 40 Øre, Dark green, Bridge Across Little Belt
510 A150 60 Øre, Dark brown, Hanstholm Harbor
511 A150 70 Øre, Dark red, Lim Fjord Tunnel
512 A150 90 Øre, Dark bluegreen, Kundshoved Harbor
Queen Margrethe, Engraved, Perf. 13
Issued 1977
544 A161 100 Øre, Brown

Small State Seal, Engraved, Perf. 13
Issued 1972-1978
502 A55 4.5 Krone, Olive

Protected Animals, Engraved, Perf. 13
Issued 1975, Oct. 23
583 A174 130 Øre, Avocets

Souvenir Sheet for HAFNIA Intl. Stamp Exhibition in Copenhagen Aug. 20-29, 1976. Perf. 13½ x 13.
Ferslew’s Essays, 1849 and 1852
Issued 1975, Feb. 27
565 A168 Sheet of 4
a. 70 Øre, Gray, Coat of Arms
b. 80 Øre, Gray, King Frederik VII
c. 90 Øre, Brown, King Frederik VII
d. 100 Øre, Brown, Mercury
Booklet pane for Rosenborg Castle, 400th Anniversary
Issued 2006, Mar. 29
1351 A457 4.75 Krone, Multi-color, Rosenborg Castle exterior
1352 A457 5.50, Krone, Multi-color, Silver lion, thrones of king & queen
1353 A457 13 Krone, Multi-color, Royal coat of arms ceiling decoration


Sunday/ gray skies ☁️

It was cool here in Seattle today, with gray skies (high 63°F / 17 °C).
In the late afternoon, I walked down to the REI outdoor store, and on the way back, there was a little bit of drizzle.

There is not a lot of color in this picture! The top of the Space Needle’s ‘Galaxy Gold’ is a bright spot. Those two towers obscuring the Needle are the new Onni South Lake Union apartments. On the left of the picture is a 45-story tower of the 1200 Stewart Street apartments, still a work in progress— construction seems to have paused or stalled, actually.
Here’s color: camping mattresses on sale at the REI store.
REI stands for Recreational Equipment, Inc. The company was founded in Seattle in 1938 by Lloyd and Mary Anderson.
Checking out the giant see-through floor compass on the first floor.
Suunto is a Finnish company that manufactures and markets sports watches, dive computers, compasses and precision instruments.

Wednesday/ elegant entrances

These entrances belong to condo buildings that are all on the same street block: on 17th Avenue between East Spring Street and East Union Street.

They were all built in the late 1920s, with views of the city from the upper floors, and close to the street car line at the time that was running along Madison Street.
Behold— the Margola (Mayan detailing, 1928), the Martha Anne (Art Deco art glass & terra cotta, 1929), Carmona Apartments (Mediterranean Revival, 1929), the Betsy Ross (1928), the Fleur de Lis (French, 1927), Mayfair Manor (1928), and the Barbara Frietchie Co-op (1928).

Saturday/ at the Kaufhaus 🧸

You talk like Marlene Dietrich
And you dance like Zizi Jeanmaire
Your clothes are all made by Balmain
And there’s diamonds and pearls in your hair, yes, there are ..
– From ‘Where Do You Go To My Lovely’ by Peter Sarstedt (1969)

It was crowded on the streets and in the stores today.
As Easter weekend goes, Friday was a Sunday (and German stores close on Sundays), today is Saturday, with tomorrow Sunday— and Monday another Sunday.
The highlight of my day was to rub shoulders with Berlin’s upper crust at KaDeWe.
KaDeWe is Kaufhaus Des Westens, ‘Department Store of the West’, second in size only to Harrods in London.

The eateries on the top floor include an oyster bar— and I’m sure I would have found caviar if I looked for it.

Businessman Adolf Jandorf opened this store in 1907. The KaDeWe abbreviation was used from the start. With over 60,000 square meters (650,000 sq ft) of retail space and more than 380,000 articles available, KaDeWe is the second-largest department store in Europe, after Harrods in London. It attracts 40,000 to 50,000 visitors every day. [Information from Wikipedia]
The escalators in the middle of the store.
Balmain is French fashion designer Pierre Balmain: founder of leading post-war fashion house Balmain. (He died in Paris in 1982). Marie-Claire in Peter Sarstedt’s famous 1969 song wore clothes that were ‘all made by Balmain’.
These shirts and jackets go for oh, $900 or $1,000 apiece. Kind of safe to say that I will never wear these, but who’s to say? Maybe I will— after I had won the Powerball or Mega Millions lottery.
These beautiful long-eared rabbits are very plush and very, very soft to the touch. Maybe I should have gotten one.

Friday/ a cold rain and coffee ☕️

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in the 1930s— a photo from a store window display across from the church on Kurfürstenstraße.
[Photo by Ewald Gnilka]
It was only 7°C  (45 °F) today, with light rain— not enough to stop me from going out, though.

I was checking out the beautiful Wittenbergplatz U-bahn station when I realized the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church* is down the street, and I walked down in the rain to it to take a closer look.
(When I was here eight years ago, I just caught a glimpse of it on the way out to the airport).

Then it was time for coffee and a slice of banana bread at Starbucks nearby. Starbucks might be a little passé for many Americans, but not so for South Africans and for Germans. There were no seats left inside, so I sat outside on the only dry chair I could find. A little sparrow came for my bread crumbs that had fallen on the ground.

*During World War II, on the night of 23 November 1943, the church was extensively damaged in an air raid.


Thursday/ the U-bahn as art 🎨

Life is short, art is long.
— John Ringling

Maybe I should extend my stay in Berlin so that I can photograph every single U-bahn station.
Three new stations were added just in the last year or so to the U5: Unter den Linden, Rotes Rathaus  and Museuminsel.

Wednesday/ arrival in Berlin 🚊

It was still dark when we landed at Frankfurt airport. I had plenty of time to find the platform for my train to Berlin, and spent some time in the airport terminal before walking to the platforms at the train station.

The train to Berlin took four hours, with four stops along the way.
A sign inside the car said the train ran at 200 km/h (124 mph), but it can actually go much faster—with a maximum speed of 330 km/h (205 mph).

Deutsche Bahn’s Intercity Express (ICE) train rolling into the station at Frankfurt Airport. The train stops for only 3 minutes! Get on board if you’re not at the right car — you can always find your car and seat once you’re on the train. I had a reserved seat at the window in first class, and chased a guy with a general ticket out of my seat. (The car was not full, but if I didn’t sit in my reserved seat, I risk getting chased out of my seat as well as more passengers board at stations along the way). The Deutsche Bahn app also lets you ‘Check In’ to your seat. The ticket inspector can see that, and then he does not have to nudge you while you sleep, or bother you, to ask for your ticket.

We passed by this impressive viaduct in the Werra-Meißner-Kreis district in the north of the state of Hessen.
Here’s the stop at the main train station in Halle, a city in central Germany. I think this is a stately old hotel.
We had just stepped off the train at Berlin Hauptbahnhof.
Outside of Berlin Hauptbahnhof.
The impressive modern structure— with multiple levels of shops and offices and train platforms— came into operation in 2006.

Saturday/ a walk in the Gardens 🌺

It was quiet early on Saturday morning in the Gardens (also called ‘The Company’s Garden).
The garden was originally created in the 1650s by the region’s first European settlers and provided fertile ground to grow fresh produce to replenish ships rounding the Cape.

Friday/ Long Street 🏫

My hotel is in the Tamboerskloof neighborhood in Cape Town.
Theses pictures from my self-directed architecture walk are all from Long Street or nearby.
That’s Table Mountain in the last picture, of course.

Wednesday/ a geodesic dome 🗻

The New York Times posted pictures shared by their readers in California, of the snow there. I like this one.

A geodesic dome in the Santa Cruz mountains. The snowpack in the vast Sierra Nevada mountain range is the deepest it’s been in decades, exceeding 200% of the normal snowpack depth in some areas.
[Photo by Karrie Gaylord]

Friday/ inside the Summit 🏬

The amigos toured the new $2 billion Seattle Convention Center extension today. (Construction had started in August 2018).
The existing Convention Center is now named Arch, and this extension is called Summit.

There is a large below-ground space, and five sprawling floors stacked on top of it, with a ballroom the size of a football field at the top. (The height of the Center is the equivalent of 14 regular floors).
The planks of wood suspended from the ceiling in the ballroom, and used for paneling at the ballroom entrance doors are called ‘wormwood’.
The wood comes from salvaged, decommissioned log-booms (floating barriers in waterways to collect logs that had been cut nearby).
After some time in the water, larvae of marine clams (sp. Bankia setacea) attach themselves to the logs, and start drilling into the log’s interior, creating a network of tunnels.

‘Seattle faces a moment of truth to save downtown’ wrote the Seattle Times today, pointing a report from Downtown Seattle Association that had estimated in October 2021 that 500 street-level businesses had closed since 2019. Only  300 new street-level businesses had opened. The hope is that the Convention Center extension can serve as a catalyst to bring people back and fill the empty spaces of commercial real estate.