Tag Archives: tourist

Space Needle Rehabilitation

At some point last year I was driving downtown in Seattle and I realized that the Space Needle had changed.  A scaffolding arrangement had gone up around the saucer at the top of the needle and it seemed to be fully enclosed.  I figured that a rehab program was underway but I guess I don’t see enough of the local news to have found out how much they were updating.  With my mum coming to visit, I was hoping that they would have concluded the project before she came since a Space Needle visit was going to be on the cards.

Memorial Day must have been the target for getting things ready because, shortly before she arrived, things started getting opened up around the top.  Part of the scaffolding was still there but it was getting a lot more open.  I thought we would be in good shape.  It turns out we were but they are certainly not yet finished.  The wire fencing at the deck level has been replaced with glass screens.  These lean out so you can look straight down.  There are glass benches which means you can lean back on the glass – something that certainly seems to upset a few visitors.

Meanwhile, construction work continues.  The level inside the viewing deck is still undergoing a lot of work.  The restaurant downstairs is not yet open but I assume these will all get sorted out as summer progresses.  I was a little worried that the glass screens would impede photography.  The old wire fence provided clear access.  However, there are gaps between the panels that you can shoot through.  A big lens might not fit but my mirrorless did fine.  We shall have more visitors so I will get to see how the whole thing looks when it is finished I suspect.


If you are looking for a place with a great sounding name, it is hard to beat Skykomish.  What a fun sounding name.  The town is a railroad town heading in to (or out of) the Stevens Pass and it provides space for trains to pass when traveling in opposite directions.  It supports the train theme for visitors too.  The old depot building is kept in good condition and next to it is a miniature railway that is available for public rides.  While we were there, a lot of the volunteers were around but not much in the way of customers, so we didn’t see it in action.  A miniature BNSF diesel loco was set up on the train waiting for customers while the volunteers also seemed to be working on some steam locos.  Hopefully, as the day wore on, they got more visitors.  (It was close to Halloween if you are wondering about the giant spider!)

A Troll Lives Under the Bridge

How many childhood stories included a troll?  I never even got to think what a troll really was.  They just seemed to live under bridges and take pleasure in making life miserable for anyone coming across the bridge.  When you think about how mean spirited they were, it isn’t difficult to see how the name has been co-opted for modern usage.  Fremont on the north side of Seattle has its own troll.  It probably has many of the modern version but this one is old school.

Situated under a bridge that takes the road down to the city center, the troll is rather large.  He has been sculpted out of the earth under the bridge and, I assume, some other building material.  He is a pretty grim looking fellow.  This doesn’t stop attracting a lot of people that come to check him out.  If you want to get some sense of the scale of him, he has a VW Bug under one hand.  That appears to be a genuine Beetle so you can see he is a pretty big chap.  I didn’t notice anyone having any trouble getting across the bridge so he either isn’t good at his job or else the propaganda about trolls was fake news!

The EC130 is a Nice Ride

While on vacation on Big Island, I took a helicopter flight across the island.  Other posts will include some of the shots from that flight.  However, this is just to give credit to the helicopter itself.  I flew with Sunshine Helicopters in one of their EC130s.  I imagine the name has changed now that Eurocopter has gone through a couple of brand transitions under the Airbus umbrella.

This was my first ride in a 130.  It is a popular airframe on the islands.  Eurocopter took the Astar (Squirrel/Ecureuil) as a base and, given that tour operators were squeezing 6 passengers in, they came up with a fuselage that provided comfortable space and lots of window space so that the performance of the airframe could be matched with the level of comfort required.  They succeeded in my experience.  I should point out I was up front.  There are two passenger seats up front alongside the pilot and four in the back.  I felt like I had a ton of space to relax and the view was pretty impressive.  Whether the middle of the back is as good, I don’t know but everyone seemed to have a really good time.  It seems like an airframe designed with something specific in mind and it seems to fulfill the role really well.

The London Eye

C59F0409.jpgI had in mind to make a post about the London Eye a while back. This was going to be based on some old pictures I had taken when we lived and worked in London. Since then, we made a trip to the UK and ended up staying very close to the attraction. I remember when they were initially building it. The whole structure was laid out flat on the river and, only when it was complete, did they winch it up into the vertical position.

C59F0415.jpgIt was a huge hit when it opened and it remains so today. The opening of The Shard has provided a new location for people to get an elevated view of London but this hasn’t stopped the visitors lining up. While we were visiting, England was preparing for the start of the Rugby World Cup and the pods on the Eye had the flags of the competing nations applied to the undersides. This added some color to the structure.

C59F0419.jpgShortly before we left London, I headed out early in the morning to get some shots of the Eye. It was interesting to see the different shapes it offers depending on where you view it from. It wasn’t in use at the time so things were being readied for the day with some of the mechanisms being tested and the pods were stationery. I didn’t get a chance to shoot it at night which was a shame but that wasn’t why I was there. However, it was nice to see it again and to see that it is going strong, long after its original out of service date has passed. I hope it will remain a feature for a long time to come.

Einstein Statue

IMG_2817.jpgTourists wandering along the Mall in Washington, D.C. will migrate from one famous tourist attraction to another. The Washington monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial wall and many other spots will be on their itinerary. One thing that is often overlooked as a sculpture just north of the mall. It is a sculpture of Albert Einstein in a very relaxed pose. I have always found it to be a very cool thing to see and to see how everyone engages with it is also cool. Some wanted to touch him while other are happy to jump up on his lap. I certainly recommend that although the surface is a bit too bumpy to be comfortable for too long. If doing the DC tourist thing, do try and fit this in. I also include a picture of my nephew, Chris, next to the statue to give you some idea of scale.

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