Approaching Bainbridge Island
Wednesday we decided to hop across Puget Sound on the ferry to Bainbridge Island (on the recommendation of the old beardy guy sitting next to me on the plane!). The ferry was much bigger than necessary for the time of year, and was less that half full of people, but I was glad it wasn't smaller as that might have meant sea sickness! The ticket was only $6.50 return and it was half an hour ride, very good value I thought. The view on the way across was fantastic, you could see the Olympic mountains above the small (tiny) town with the sun shining directly on top of them. We walked down the small main street, then realised we had come to the end, and sat soaking up the sun by the harbour before having some lunch at the harbour inn. We walked back along the coast, not a particularly pretty beach, but a nice walk in the sun.
The Space Needle in glorious sunshine the day before!
The place was so quiet, literally almost silent, it was very strange especially as we have been city hopping for so long.
We realised we only had one day left, so tried to cram in as much as we could for our final day. The weather wasn't so good, so our visit to Volunteer Park didn't offer the fantastic views promised. For this reason also we decided not to go up the space needle. It is an impressive looking structure, but not as imposingly tall as we imagined so we were satisfied with pictures from the base! Lisa wanted to take the opportunity of being in Volunteer Park (to the North of the city) to visit the graves of Bruce and Brandon Lee. I did wonder quite what I was doing as we couldn't find a way into the cemetery and Lisa decided that 'via hedgerow' was the way to go, although it was quite funny when we came face to face with a park keeper on the other side!
In the afternoon the hostel took us down to the Underground Tour of Seattle where we got in with a discount yay! It really was fantastic, the guides kept us happy with amusing anecdotes and sarcastic jokes at the expense of the original Seattle settlers who decided that trying to build a city on tidal mud flats was a good idea! After the fledgling city burnt to the ground, they decided to build it all 6-40 feet higher, but the businesses wanted to rebuild as soon as possible, resulting in a grid pattern where the roads and pavements were above the shops and you had to climb up and down ladders at each junction.
Strangely this plan didn't work (although it took them years to work it out), and the resulting underground areas were eventually condemmed. The tour guide showed us around several blocks worth of underground passages, with artefacts and shop fronts still as they were then (early 1900s), it was very interesting. Also of note in Seattle's history is the brothel which was one of the most successful businesses for many years. The owner was so highly regarded for her business acumen that no decisions in the city were made without her, and upon her death she left all her money to reinventing the Seattle school system, for which she was never credited, comparatively speaking only Bill Gates has given a larger sum of money to fund eduction. Even more amusingly, the boys who realised the money that could be made by cycling to and fro deliverying opium to the ladies of the house expanded their courier services over the century to become international courier company UPS!!
So we left Seattle reeling with stories of dubious beginnings, and arrived in Vancouver
to be greeted by pouring rain.
The island under the bridge!
Every one from Vancouver we have met so far on our travels has scoffed at our suggestion that it constantly rains here, calling it a tourist myth. Well it was justified yesterday at least! All joking aside, today has actually been a lovely day, bright and sunny. We took a trip over to Granville Island to the huge and insanely busy market. We spent ages wandering round the various craft stalls and sat outside watching the musicians amuse the crowd, before picking out our dinner for this evening from the extensive food section. I love going to different markets, it is not something I ever do at home, maybe I'll start!