Malaysian discovers the beauty of Washington, the Evergreen state

  • Americas
  • Wednesday, 16 Feb 2022

The snow-capped Mount Rainier is a sight to behold. — Photos: HARJINDER KAUR

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Have you ever dreamt of visiting a destination that has forests, mountains and the ocean all within a short distance of one another? Well, one of the places that fits this criteria is the state of Washington in the United States.

Located in the northwest of the US, Washington lies on the coastline of the Pacific Ocean. Its moniker “Evergreen State” is apt as it has an abundance of evergreen forests.

The state is also home to the majestic Mount Rainier, an active volcano; it is also where the popular Washington apples originate from.

A major city in Washington is Seattle. It is often referred to as the Emerald City (not the one from The Wizard of Oz, though) owing to the greenery surrounding the area; the forest stays green even during autumn, when leaves usually turn brown.

A prominent landmark in Seattle is the Space Needle, a 184m-tall observation tower you can go to for a nice view of the city’s skyline. It was built in 1962 for the world fair held at the Seattle Centre.

In the same vicinity, there are several attractions to check out such as the International Fountain, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Centre, Museum of Pop Culture, and the Chihuly Garden and Glass. The ones that really made an impression on me were the Museum of Pop Culture and the garden.

The museum has a unique facade and lots of cool displays related to contemporary pop culture. The Chihuly Garden and Glass, meanwhile, is also a museum, featuring the works of American glass artist Dale Chihuly.

The beautiful tulips at Skagit Valley.The beautiful tulips at Skagit Valley.

The beautiful artworks were displayed in an indoor gallery as well as an outdoor garden. I was amazed to see just how glass could be turned into stunning art pieces.

I also could not help but get myself a lovely blown-glass souvenir.

Apart from that, Seattle is the headquarters of big international brands such as Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks. The very first Starbucks outlet is located in this city. Coffee enthusiasts throng this particular store almost all day, every day.

What I found more interesting, however, was the farmers’ market located just across this busy store. Pike Place Market is the oldest market in Seattle where vendors sell, among others, fresh produce, ready-to-eat meals and hand-crafted items.

There were buskers performing folk music when I visited too and it was quite entertaining.

An unusual but popular (with tourists, at least) landmark at the market is the Gum Wall where thousands of old chewed gum are stuck on the wall. I left my own mark there by adding a piece of used chewing gum myself.

Seattle’s location on the coastline means it has a lovely, bustling waterfront. The Seattle Waterfront features a Ferris wheel called the Seattle Great Wheel, an aquarium and many restaurants on the pier.

The restaurants offered scrumptious seafood. I had an excellent clam chowder with oyster crackers at a restaurant overlooking the Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean.

Visitors can also check out the Klondike Gold Rush Museum, Seattle Public Library, Lake Union, Lake Washington Ship Canal, Salmon Ladder and Museum of Flight.

You can also take a 30-minute ferry ride from the Seattle Waterfront to the Tillicum Village on Blake Island. At this village, I had the opportunity to learn more about the Northwest Coastal Native American tribes. I saw carved Totem Poles, looked at tribal costumes and watched a nice cultural performance.

The highlight of this tour was having a buffet in the longhouse with an array of food including clam nectar and salmon, which was traditionally baked over open wood fire. It was a memorable experience.

After spending several days in the Emerald City, I went to the outskirts of the city to Mount Rainier National Park. The snow-capped mountain was visible from a distance and was a sight to behold. I visited the south side of Mount Rainier in an area called Paradise. It really felt like I was in paradise due to its magnificent landscape. There were many hiking trails and lookout points in this national park too, as well as crystal-clear blue lakes.

Another exquisite place I visited was the Skagit Valley. A tulip festival is held there annually in April. It was a scenic drive passing through fields of blooming daffodils and tulips. I could not wait to see the tulips up close, and since we were told earlier that the place would be muddy, I was well prepared with my rain boots.

The place was truly worth a visit as it gave me so much joy to be surrounded by gorgeous, colourful flowers.

Travelling to the Evergreen State and witnessing its beauty has firmed my belief that the world truly is a beautiful place with so much to discover. I am now inspired to explore more destinations.

The views expressed are entirely the reader’s own.

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