Sunday, July 30, 2006

Maps Maps Maps

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Seattle Attractions

Everyone has heard of the Space Needle, right? It was designed and built for the 1962 World Fair as a futuristic icon and still today looks absolutely modern. It sits in the middle of what is now called the Seattle Center, the old fairgrounds that were converted to a public park and event place. It prides itself as being the nation's best gathering place. On a hot day (yes, we do have those here!) the International Fountain at the Seattle Center provides a refreshing and entertaining break. The Seattle Center also hosts free Movies at the Mural on the weekend of the wedding. Maybe something to do for Friday or Saturday night if you're not into the club scene or before you hit the latter.
If you're interested in learning more about the history and trends of American Popular Music, check out the Experience Music Project. It was founded by ex-Microsoftie Paul Allen, Seattle's resident billionaire investor, and is housed in a sparkling and unique architecture designed by Frank Gehry. It presents 80,000 artefacts of pop culture (Seattle grunge features prominently of course) along with plenty of interactive exhibits. Admission is not cheap, though.
At the south end of the Seattle Center is the Pacific Science Center. Recommended for anyone wanting to explore the science behind many every-day phenomena. They also have special exhibits and two fabulous IMAX movie theaters.

No stay in Seattle is complete without a trip to the Pike Place Market. A huge farmers' market, crafts, antiques, and exotic goods from around the world are to be found in the ecclectic collection of stalls, shops, and businesses. And you can find any (sea-)food you might imagine right there. Many places have seating areas with gorgeous views of Elliot Bay and Puget Sound. Go explore! And if you're a Starbucks-addict (or not) check out where it all began at the original Starbucks in the market.

A steep climb below the market is the Seattle Waterfront with ferry terminals to the islands in the Sound, cruise ship terminals for small Harbor cruises or City-on-a-Ship tours to Alaska. The waterfront also hosts the Seattle Aquarium and plenty of touristy shops and eateries.

There is a bunch of construction going on downtown Seattle. They tell us it will all be for the better when it's done. We'll get a light rail to the airport, a larger Seattle Art Museum (SAM), more bank buildings etc. However, there is still plenty to see and do downtown. One recently completed project is the new Seattle Public Library. Designed by Rem Kolhaas this is a gem that delights both Seattlelites and visitors with it's dazzling outside and innovative interior that's not just cool-looking but truely well-designed for its purpose - no staircase in the collections over 8 levels!

Seattle's old-town is in the Pioneer Square area. It's a great part of town with an original feel that offers everything from art galleries, bookstores, antiques, a viewing platform, and gold. Plus, when you find sidewalks with purple glass inserts in them you're close to the Underground Tour.

Just south of Pinoneer Square is Seattle's modern Stadium district. The Seattle Seahawks have the newest digs, and you can catch their first preseason game on Saturday 8/12 against the Dallas Cowboys. Further south, a relatively new Safeco Field, with a completely movable roof (cool!) is home to the Seattle Mariners, who will be playing out-of-town on the weekend of the wedding.

Seattle joins Boston, New York, Chicago and others in offering a City Pass. It gets you prepaid and reduced admission to the following five sights: Woodland Park Zoo, Pacific Science Center, Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Harbor Cruise, and the Museum of Flight (Boeing still has two huge plants right outside of Seattle, even though headquarters moved away).

There are tons more things to see and explore in Seattle's other neighborhoods, or just to hang out and have a latte somewhere.

We hope you'll find all sorts of entertainment outside of the wedding while you're in town.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Transportation within Seattle

Seattle has a great public transportation system, the Seattle Metro. It gets you around downtown Seattle for free within the free-ride zone. Otherwise any trip within the city for a duration of 1.5 to 2 hours costs you $1.25. On the weekends they also have an all-day pass for only $2.50.
On their website you can enter a starting location and a destination and they will show you how to best get there: Metro TripPlanner.

However, our wedding will take place in one of the more remote areas of Seattle and you will need about 15 minutes by car to get from ceremony to reception. While it is possible to do all this by bus, it might not be the best use of your time here. So it might be a good idea to rent a car at least for the day of the wedding.

Many of you will know others that will be in town, as well. Maybe you can share?

All major car rental companies have several locations around downtown Seattle, most of them at the airport as well. Be warned though that some companies charge as much as 100% more if you rent at the airport. It's worth it to compare. The AVIS office downtown is very easily accessible and right in the downtown shopping district.

If you were to take public transportation from the airport to Seattle, there are Metro busses #174 or #194 (express bus) or the Grayline Seattle Downtown Airporter, which provides fast, comfy transport diretly to most major hotels in downtown.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Travel to Seattle

For travel from the United States:

All major US airlines serve Seattle. To get the best deals, shop around at,, and when you find a good fare be sure to check with that airline directly. Sometimes the airlines themselves will have lower prices than the travel search engines.

The one airline I would mention above the rest is Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air, especially if you are coming from the West Coast.
Alaska has its hub in Seattle and typically offers good deals, too.
Oscar and I used them a LOT when we were doing Seattle -- Santa Cruz for three years.
In addition, it is one of the only airlines to serve Fresno -- Seattle directly.

East coast travelers, check your local listings - but if you are coming from New York, a good airline with reasonable rates is Jet Blue, with a hub at NYC/JFK and a direct flight to Seattle.

Safe and happy travels.

Our engagement story

Just in case you were curious and haven't heard this one yet, here's the abbreviated version followed by the water turtles version:

September 28th, 2005, the pond in Central Park, New York City, on a rowboat.
Oscar had been scheming and Ruth had no idea.
So he gave her the choice to either say yes, or swim back to shore... she said yes.

Water turtles played a role in distracting Ruth from Oscar's fishing for the ring in his socks:
O: I love you, Ruth!
R (totally absorbed with the turtles): Oh, yeah? How much do you love me?
O: How about this much? (Ruth turns around and Oscar opens the ring box)
O: Will you marry me?
R: Are you serious? Are you really serious?
O: Aeh, yes! (Still showing the ring)
R: Of course I will! (Starts crying)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Wedding Gift Registry

Dear friends and family,

We would like to take the opportunity to selfishly inform you that we have submitted our wedding registry to the following merchants:




For Macy's and REI registries, please follow the links which will take you to Every time a purchase is made through this means, a donation is made to the American Civil Liberties Union.

To access our registries, at the prompts, please enter our names (Ruth Schmitz or Oscar Velasco) and the event date (Aug. 13, 2006).