Seattle is Cool!

July 20, 2016 - 11:33 am 2 Comments

After checking into my Seattle hostel, I set out to explore the city. Compared to Portland, this is a proper city. And with the beautiful weather, friendly people, scenic skyline, I got a great vibe from Seattle from the very beginning.

I walked around a bunch, hitting the famous Pike Place Market a few times. It’s a crowded collection of outdoor stalls and indoor shops filled with art, photography, fish, produce, flowers, and lots of other great stuff. Kind if a neat place, if not a little claustrophobic with all of the tourists cramming through there.

Pike Place Market

Carrots at Pike Place Market

Honeycrisp Apple at Pike Place Market

Also visited the nearby Gum Wall, which was recently cleaned off by the city but is quickly accumulating gum again. The whole alley smells of Wrigley’s spearmint.

Gum Poles

And of course, the first ever Starbucks, with a stupid line of people stretching down the block.

Another place I visited (by accident) was the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room, which is something of a flagship Starbucks location and one of the coolest-looking coffeeshops I’ve ever seen, with a definite steampunk vibe to the decor and huge, open spaces.

At the end of my first day, I headed up to the Sky View Observatory in Columbia Center, Seattle’s tallest building (and the west coast’s second tallest, after U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles). It’s seriously high. Looking out the windows definitely gave my parts a tingle. I chilled out up there for over an hour, watching the sun set over the water while the Seattle skyline slowly illuminated below. Perfect way to end my first day in Seattle.

Seattle Sunset

Seattle at Night

Pike Place Market at Night

Another highlight was going to a Seattle Mariners baseball game with my friend Josh. Safeco Field is a really nice park, one of my favorites. We did a bit of exploring and seat-hopping and made sure we were sitting right down by the field when Adam Lind hit a dramatic home run with two outs in the ninth inning to win it. A really great game.

Safeco Field

Safeco Field Sign

Adam Lind with the Walk-Off Homer

Safeco Field

The Space Needle, Seattle’s iconic tower built for 1962 World’s Fair, looks like something out of the Jetsons. Interesting how people in the 50’s and 60’s thought everything in the future would be made of gentle curves and sharp points.

Space Needle

Then the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum next door. Highly recommended in my research, and I can see why. It’s a fantastic collection of glass sculptures, color, and fancy lighting. Dale Chihuly really knew what he was doing.

Chihuly Ceiling

Chihuly Bowls

My last excursion in Seattle was walk through the suburbs and up some hills to Kerry Park, a viewpoint that offers the iconic view of the Seattle skyline.

Seattle from Kerry Park

Full props to TripAdvisor, which did a fantastic job at finding me great food just about everywhere I went around the city. The TripAdvisor app and a fully charged cell phone are necessities on urban hikes. I found an amazing lunch at a place called the Green Door, and treated myself to Greek yogurt at a local favorite called Elleno’s. The yogurt, scooped like ice cream and slopped into a plastic container, tastes like something between Greek yogurt and whipped cream.

The people in Seattle are friendly like the people in Portland. I really can’t get over how friendly people are in this part of the country. But Seattle’s got its share of weirdos, too. My theory is the the weirdos who can’t hack it in the big city go south to Portland.

My mixed dorm at City Hostel Seattle ended up being a non-issue. Despite the sign over the front door that proclaims “Enter as Strangers, Leave as Friends”, people come and go with barely a chance to get to know each other. It’s pretty obvious that everyone is simply there for a cheap bed and a shower. One of the German girls I roomed with was nice, though. In exchange for allowing her to use one of the electrical outlets near my bed, I told her she had to teach me a German expression. So she taught me “Honigkuchenpferd”, which means “honey cake horse”. In German, one would say you are smiling like a “honey cake horse” if you have a big, stupid grin on your face.

Overall, Seattle is a very cool city with cool sights and cool people. Three days was more than enough to see all the highlights. It was nice to slow down the pace a bit.

Space Needle Up Close

I’m now on Amtrak #510 headed to Vancouver. I’ve struck up a conversation with the guy sitting next to me. His name is Patrick, and he’s a pharmaceutical scientist from Montreal. We discussed the pros and cons of living in the US and Canada as well as the virtues and vices of Bryce Harper.

The scenery along this route is beautiful, with gentle rivers and bays and the hazy, gray-blue Olympic mountains in the distance. Even the occasional bald eagle. You want a window seat on the left side of the train for this route.

We’ll be crossing into Canada pretty soon.

    2 Responses to “Seattle is Cool!”

  1. Elvi Says:

    We liked Seattle a lot, too. Skipped the inside of the Chihuly though we admired the outside longingly. We spent our money on the EMP instead, which I think was a good call for us – music and nerdiness, what could suit us better? If I’d been paying attention, I would have suggested that you visit the 5 Point Cafe, as we did, but I didn’t realize you were in Seattle until you posted. We also took a train up from Seattle to Vancouver, so I imagine it was probably the same one. Wish we had taken it earlier in the day – our lovely ocean view lasted only about an hour and a half, after which it was pitch black out.

    Have fun in Vancouver! I recommend Stanley Park, obviously. Rent a bike and ride around (or borrow one if you have friends). Granville Island by water taxi is nice, too, and I heard great things about (but have not personally experienced) the Grouse Mountain sky ride. Apparently if you hike up, you can ride down for free!

  2. Alice Lockett Says:

    Loved your discription of Seattle and it’s people, as I mentioned before it’s one of my favorite cities in the USA. It has gotten extremely hot here. Just trying to keep cool. Looking forward to hearing from you again soo…Alice

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