07 August 2008

My Happy Place

Many eons ago, several of my college friends and I traveled through Europe for 3 months. About halfway through, I started experiencing travel fatigue. It wasn't that I wanted to go home, it's just that I wanted to stay in one place for more than 4 nights in a row, I think. Anyway, one afternoon, on the train from one gorgeous place to another, it was raining and gloomy outside, but in my cabin I decided to sketch my happy place. A "happy place", for those of you unfamiliar, is a mythical place that you go to in your mind when you need to be calm. Incidentally it's from the movie Happy Gilmore. But I digress.....here is my sketch from that train ride. (Disclaimer: I was cold, tired, on a train, and perspective was never my forte.)

Funny how the house I conceived in 15 minutes on the train was half Arts-and-Crafts, half Neuschwanstein. And all weird. Anyway.

Fast forward to this past weekend, when I went to Seattle to visit one of my traveling buddies from that same trip for her birthday. I've been to Seattle before, for business, but it was hard to get a good sense of it on my own and not knowing where to go or what to see, and in a limited amount of time. This weekend reintroduced me to it, and I dare say I may have found my happy place. Observe:

Now there's no goofy house in the foreground, thank goodness, and there's no flying cars (not my fault) but they look fairly similar, you have to admit. And of course when I drew the sketch I knew what the Space Needle looked like, and I think I included it because it was iconic. But everything else is there....the trees, the hills, the skyline, the architecture. And as a bonus, Seattle has a behemoth volcano looming over it just to the south. I think Mt. Rainier exists to keep the city humble.

Suffice it to say that my reintroduction to Seattle was magical. It's a truly lovely city, populated with nerds and bikers and bookworms after my own heart. Their hipsters even remind me a little of the grunge types that started Pearl Jam and all of the great alternative bands of the early '90s, when I really started to love music. Er, as a baby. In the early '90s. *cough cough*

So here are a few more photos of my "happy place." I am such a lover of cities, it's wonderful to revisit one with a refined sense of what makes a city truly great, and find that it fits the bill in all categories. Well done, Seattle.

In the Rem Koolhaas-designed Seattle Public Library

At the locks....like the bridge in my sketch

Mt. Rainier is still huge, even when seen from my airplane window


Monica said...

That's really cool how your sketch looks like your photo! Nice pictures, as always :)

nambypambics said...

Heck yes. Seattle is a totally happy place! Have you visited Portland yet?

Olympia is right between the two, and I think it's MY personal happy place...

Pierre said...

Natasha Sandmeier ran the Summer School when I was at the AA. Nice meeting. Joshua Prince-Ramus visited Oslo and had a lecture. Insightful. Both worked on the Library. Need to travel over and visit the Library. Nice photos.