Sleepy in Seattle

Seattle Travel Blog

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Ad´s first night

All I knew about Seattle was that Frasier was based here and that it´s principal tourist attraction, the Space Needle, was an extra from the Jetsons. As it turns out, Seattle was also the birthplace of grunge music (in the shape of Nirvana), Starbucks and Microsoft. Nor did I realise how miserable the weather was. When a guide on our Undergroud tour told us that the official colours of Seattle were grey and light grey he wasn´t kidding. It´s not a bad city despite it´s dullness and (once again) homeless and beggars (both weather-wise and otherwise) but certainly not the ´glittering cool´that some would have you believe. On a positive not, Pike Place market was pretty cool, the shopping´s great and it would have been nice to do a boat tour, as the scenery across the Sound is great.

Impromtu beer-tasting
 

We were here mainly to meet my brother Adam, who was joining us for a two-and-a-half week blast down the west coast. The coach trip across the border was a bit theatrical with the border-patrol goon (who really mustn´t have had much better to do) not quite grasping the concept of an around-the-world trip and wanting to see evidence of every little piece of our journey. He made it quite clear that he was infact God and that our entry into the US relied heavily on whether or not he believed us. So, about an hour after pulling in (the whole coach had had a grilling too) we were on our way again, reaching Seattle at around 3pm.

A quick monorail journey took us out to our Best Western hotel (travelling with Ad meant that hotel and motel rooms with two double beds suddenly became affordable provided we could put up with his snoring and other bodily functions) near the space needle.
Do-nuts on the Puget Sound
We barely had time to dump our bags before we were back out to negotiate more of Seattle´s public transport system (no Metro yet, just an underground bus tunnel that spans the length of the very rectangular downtown - a great idea, coupled with the fact that travel within the downtown zone is free!) to the airport.

It was great to meet Ad, and despite the nine-and-a-half hour flight he was in good spirits and had a massive grin on his face. An hour or so later we were back at the hotel and ready for some food so plumped for the extremely cheap hotel restaurant and nearly wet ourselves when the Bud turned out to be one dollar a pint. At around 9pm Ad, understandably, became sleepy in Seattle (don´t tell me you weren´t expecting a pun in it somewhere) and called it a night.

The Space Needle on a typical Seattle day
Em and I retired to the bar where the waiter/barman/manager began renaling us with a pretty comprehensive rundown of what to do and where to go in Seattle and Portland, which it seemed had widerspread approval. On top of that, he must have been a member of the Pacific Northwest version of CAMRA. He was concerned that Brits think only generic rubbish like Bud and Coors exist in the US (guilty) and soon had me involved in an impromptu beer-tasting session with some Alaskan, Hawaiian, Californian and Washington-based offerings. Brilliant.

The next morning, feeling a bit rough around the edges we were off into Seattle downtown to cross the first of Ad´s ´US-must-dos´ off his list. The list read as follows:

1. Eat in traditional 50´s, a la ´Grease´ diner.

The original-ish Starbucks, Pike Place

2. Get a tan.

3. Cruise Cali in a convertible.

4. Get a tan.

5. Have wings and endless soda in a sports bar.

6. Get a tan.

Number one, you would think, would be straightforward. Alas no, and an hour late we gave up and went to eat on the pier in a burger joint. After that, having walked the length of downtown we walked along the pier overlooking Puget Sound, and headed to Pike Place Market. From there, we discovered what is widely credited as being the inaugral Starbucks (According to someone in the market it was actually the second as the first burnt down). This being Seattle of course, there´s a Starbucks or some other coffee house every few yards, but we felt the need to have a cup of tea (how British!) in the birth of Starbucks.

Seattle from the needle
The we headed back home where a bagful of washing and a quiet night awaited us.

Up early, we went into town to watch the Champions League Final. Expecting to have to ask somewhere to put it on, we stumbled across Fox sports bar downtown. Heading down to the basement it opened out into a massive cheers-esque bar with enough screens for the whole city to watch. With a bar-full of Man U and Chelsea fans who´d most likely never been to a match it was home from home.

Next on the agenda was the Underground Tour, which took us to Pioneer square (Seattle´s birthplace) and under some of the surrounding streets to learn about Seattle´s somewhat strange history. About halfway through we were treated to how Ad must´ve been at school as he clearly got restless and disinterested, declaring "I´m not really a toury person".

Pike place market
To be fair to him, the guide could have been better, and we headed to the sanctuary of one of Seattle´s abundant coffee houses, for a nice cup of tea.

After a swift turnaround we did the inevitable and went up to the top of the Space Needle. Despite now only being the seventh tallest  building in Seattle, it´s still somewhat of a local icon and due to its location outside of downtown offers great views of the nighttime skyline. With that ticked-off, it was time to sample some of Seattle´s nightlife. Dropping Em home Ad and I headed for Belltown where we happily drank away the rest of the night in the conveniently lined-up bars before being ushered out of Shorty´s, a grungey little bar choc-full of arcade machines and pinball tables, at closing time (a lousy 1.30am). Onward to Portland.

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Ad´s first night
Ad´s first night
Impromtu beer-tasting
Impromtu beer-tasting
Do-nuts on the Puget Sound
Do-nuts on the Puget Sound
The Space Needle on a typical Seat…
The Space Needle on a typical Sea…
The original-ish Starbucks, Pike P…
The original-ish Starbucks, Pike …
Seattle from the needle
Seattle from the needle
Pike place market
Pike place market
Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
Seattle Art Museum
Seattle Art Museum
Going Underground
Going Underground
Underground Tour
Underground Tour
Seattle
photo by: diisha392