Seattle: Amazing Architecture
As if a spaceship had landed: in 1962, Seattle hosted the World’s Fair, and just as 80 years earlier in Paris, the US city has retained its iconic tower. The Space Needle is quite literally the highlight of the site. Be sure to go up the viewing tower to enjoy the view of the port and sky scrapers and as far afield as the Rocky Mountains. The World’s Fair site has even more to offer, though: it houses more than 30 sports, educational, and cultural institutions, including the Pacific Space Center and the Museum of Pop Culture. Take a ride back to the city centre with the Seattle Center Monorail, an elevated train that still sports its charming 1960s design.
Giants of the Seas
At about 100 kilometres, it is only a fairly short drive from Vancouver to Victoria. The city is the perfect starting point for a whale-watching tour. There are many offers with a number of operators between April and October. Just please be sure to choose an operator that is mindful of animal welfare, i.e. remains at least 100 metres away and switches off the engines once a whale has been spotted. Some provide their guests not only with binoculars but also with a hydrophone that allows them to even hear the whales. You are most likely to see orcas, grey whales, humpback whales, dolphins, and minke whales, especially in the summer. The animals can remain submerged for up to 15 minutes before coming up for air – sometimes with and sometimes without a spout.
Flower of the North
Nature abounds in the US state of Oregon – and nowhere as much so as in Portland! The so-called ‘City of Roses’ has an impressive number of botanical gardens, among them the ‘International Rose Test Garden’. There are more than 10,000 specimens to admire – even miniature rose varieties. Portland focuses on sustainability: Washington Park is home to the large Hoyt Arboretum including its bamboo garden and is located between the zoo and the playgrounds belonging to the Discovery Museum that is dedicated to the role of forests for human and animal life and survival. The nightlife, on the other hand, is less cultivated: the city rivals San Francisco and Los Angeles for the highest density of strip clubs.
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