Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Vacation Trip - More Art & Architecture Amtrak Style

If you're in a hurry, don't take the train. I'm generally not too concerned about whether the trains run on time; in my book, the perks of train travel compared to flying these days outweigh any inconvenience from delays. Plus I don't enjoy driving the long hauls by myself like I used to. A delay is just more time to relax and contemplate one's surroundings.

I'd not traveled the route between Spokane and Seattle before (thus found myself sitting on the wrong side of the car to see the best scenery through the Cascade mountains) so had not been in Seattle's King Street Station. I had a brief layover there before boarding an Amtrak Cascades commuter train to Tacoma, enough time to notice some great architectural details.

Mosaics on the floor and running along the marble pillars.

This station has seen some bad remodeling, but one can sense how beautiful it must have been in its glory days. A major restoration project is currently in progress - perhaps the next time I pass through, I will see major changes in the waiting area where these pictures were taken.

I stepped outside for some air and there were my skyscrapers I love so much.

And towering directing over me, the station's 242 foot clock tower itself.

Zooming in, again I marvel at the detail on a part of the building hardly seen.

The route between Seattle and Tacoma is part of the Coast Starlight that runs from Vancouver, B.C. to San Diego. I plan to try that one next (possibly next year), hopping on at Portland. I love these vintage posters Amtrak uses to decorate its stations and train cars.

The train no longer stops at Tacoma's Union Station on Pacific Ave, a building I'm quite familiar with from my days working downtown. It now houses federal courtrooms for the Western District of Washington. The rotunda is also available to rent for special occasions. You can just make out the station slightly right of center in this picture, with the Tacoma Dome behind it.

So when I got off the train in Tacoma, at a station looking like many other newer stations along the rails, I didn't know where I was...that is, until I spotted that familiar dome. Ah, I'm on the tide flats, or at least near by.

The commuter cars are so different from the coach cars that make the long hauls. I was intrigued by the monitor that tracked our progress and listed eta's of the upcoming stops.

But it was good to transfer back to my roomier coach and watch the Seattle Space Needle zipping by as I headed home.

I got to thinking about Margaret Cooter's picture-taking on the trains around London, and tried to capture reflections as we sped past this glass building.

I had a pretty good view of the Sound from across the aisle, and in trying to capture sun rays through the clouds, also captured the silhouette of a young man, as enamored with train travel as I. This I could see as a quilt.

The light was fading fast, the windows a bit dirty and the hot air balloons a bit far away, but I played a bit with cropping and think this too could be the beginnings of a quilt.

Click on any image for a larger view.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful quilts!!