Usually, people don’t take vacations in buildings. But, nonetheless, I think that during my dream vacation I would spend as much time as possible in my favourite building in the wold; the Seattle Space Needle. The Seattle Space Needle towers high above one of the most impressive cities in America. From the ground level it seems almost impossibly high, as if it would be to pierce the clouds. As an observation tower, one can see straight away that it serves a practical purpose but when one sees from the ground it appear to be a monument to the ingenuity and the bravery of the people who built. It’s almost impossible to look at it without feeling a sense of awe. From the busy streets of Seattle full of the noise of traffic and the smells of city life it seems as if the tower exists entirely in a world of its own. It stands, for people around it, as a peaceful, beautiful monument and a visual reminder of the possibility of a life away from the hustle and bustle of all that lies below it. I love being at the top of the Needle so much that I feel often as I could spend a whole vacation there. In this paper I will elaborate on why.
When I was thirteen years old, myself and my family took a trip to Seattle. We were there to visit relatives that I hadn’t met before, and who knew the city well. They had two children who were the same age as me and I knew as soon as I met them I was going to have an excellent time visiting them and the city. I remember walking around with my parents and with my cousins and being introduced to all of the different sights and sounds of Seattle; a place that seemed both alien and familiar at the same time. Of course, dominating this city and my entire experience of it was the Space Needle and my experience of this land mark sticks in my memory more than any other thing that happened on the trip. On the first proper day that we were in Seattle we got to travel up to the top, which is something that I would describe as a truly awesome experience. To go to the top of the needle is to experience an entirely different world. The sights are in some way the same that one sees everyday in the city, however they are brought in to a radically new and different perspective. Buildings that tower over individuals on the ground suddenly appear as if they tiny and people appear to be ants moving around the business of their everyday lives. One can feel the air as crisp and clean and suddenly all of the smells of city life vanish. It is not until travelling up to the top of the Space Needle that one realizes just how much life in a city overwhelms the senses. From the top, the visual, audio and sensual noise suddenly dies away, leaving one with time for reflection as well as truly thrilling view.
When I was at the top I saw that this view stretched for miles and miles, allowing one to take in all aspects of Seattle, from the city itself to the surrounding area. I already knew that there were exciting things in the city that I was visiting, but this was truly exceptional and even as a child it made me think more and more about the different ways in which people’s lives interact with each other and show themselves to be the same and also different. We went up the needle on a still and clear day and then the view was both empowering and terrifying. Something about being so high in the air forces on to reflect on how small one’s life in comparison to a huge and complex whole, but nonetheless, the fact that one is able to understand and appreciate this view can give one a huge sense of elevation. The view far across the sea puts the city in perspective in relation to the nature that surrounds it. At the same it draws attention to the ingenuity and genius of those who were able to envision and the The visual experience of travelling to the top of the Space Needle combines both of these aspects in a way that is both dizzying and affirming. It is this combination of sensual and intellectual experience that I associate most clearly with trips to the top of the needle and with the wider experience of the trip to Seattle itself.
Of course, we did other things in the city other than the needle, and went to see films as well as going on tours of other areas and places such as museums, galleries and some of the arcades dotted around the city. We also ate in restaurants and swapped stories with our family members about the different places that we would go when we were at home. I remember eating some of the best Thai and Asian food that I have eaten was served in the restaurants of Seattle, alongside delicious American favourites such as the ice cream and cheeseburgers.
Of course, the highlight of the food we are was being able to eat such good food while looking at the views from the observation deck of the Space Needle and being able to indulge in something close to sensory overload whenever this happened. We also saw some bands playing in the street and my parents told us stories of shows that they went to in the evening, but whatever I heard or thought about during that trip I associated it back to the needle, that dominated my memory of Seattle just it dominates the city in real life.
In conclusion, the vacation that I took to Seattle when I was thirteen was my dream vacation and it involved many of the most important experiences of friendship with family members together with the important observations about my own life and fantastic sensory experiences such as the Space Needle and all that goes along with it. I would happily return to the city whenever I could and would even live, if possible, inside that fantastic observation deck.