Portland and Seattle

Seattle Travel Blog

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The famous market

The train ride to Portland on the Coast Starlight has some beautiful scenery. Unfortunately as the first 7 hours are under cover of dark, you don't see the northern Californian countryside, but Oregon was dramatic with big lakes, snow covered mountains and forests. I even saw a covered bridge. The train eventually arrived an hour late at Portland and I walked to the hostel in less than 20 minutes. This was my first hostel experience in North America. While much more expensive than South America, it was at least well equipped and local bakeries and pizzerias were donating food at the end of each day that hadn't sold. So I got free pizza each night and bagels for breakfast!

Portland is a very pleasant city to walk round and not very large. Even so, they have free public transport in the downtown area.

Downtown, from QWest Field
I went to Pioneer Square and the park, and earlier went to the Rose Garden (home of Portland Trailblazers basketball team) to try and get tickets for the visit of the LA Lakers. None left, a certain Mr Bryant is a big draw in the sport.

On Friday I took my first Greyhound bus north to Seattle. Glad I wasn't sat a row in front, as the whole seat just slid right into the row in front when the bus braked once. That would have been quite the shock! Seattle is very different, much more a typical large North American city, with skyscrapers everywhere.

On Saturday I visited the Pioneer Square area, took the Underground Tour, contemplated buying a utility kilt for my beer holding needs, and queued up 2.5 hours outside the QWest Field and finally got tickets for a Sounders FC (football, real football that is, from the MLS) game that evening about 20 minutes before kickoff.

I had met a fellow Inca Trailer, Andy, in the hostel and we had the honour of sitting in the front row, right on the halfway line, on the sideline behind the benches. So we got to see their angry reactions when keeper Kasey Keller deservedly got sent off for handball outside the box. The atmosphere was good, but friendly too. And to continue the theme of my trip, the home team underperformed and lost! They gave a much better performance than Brazil and River Plate before them, however.

On Sunday I walked to 5th Avenue and took the monorail to the Space Needle. I could have walked, but the weather was foul and it was debatable whether it was worth going up the tower anyway! There was a good view of downtown and the harbour, but I couldn't see the mountains in the distance.

I also had to keep running inside to warm up and dry off! The Experience Music Project was very good, in a futuristic building at the base of the needle. A good history section on Northwest USA music, Jimmy Hendrix, grunge, and the development of the guitar. Best of all, the SoundLab allowed novices and experts alike to play with instruments, guitar effects pedals and learn a little bit of mixing. Great fun! Didn't do much for the rest of the afternoon though because of the weather, just stayed in the hostel watching movies.

On Monday I went to Fremont in the afternoon with an english friend from the hostel. It was still raining heavily, so after seeing the troll (yes, really!) we seeked comfort in a burger bar and had lunch there. A little kid at the troll site was amazed that I climbed up on its head. "wow, no-one's every got up on his head before!" he said. Elementary, kid, but don't try it yourself until you're a bit older.

Today I'm leaving Seattle to go to Bellingham, up near the border with Canada. Here I will see one of my friends from when I was in Pucon, in Chile, climbing the volcano.

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The famous market
The famous market
Downtown, from QWest Field
Downtown, from QWest Field
A monkfish
A monkfish
QWest Field, home of the Seahawks …
QWest Field, home of the Seahawks…
Puget Sound
Puget Sound
View of downtown from Smith Tower
View of downtown from Smith Tower
Seattle underground, beneath the s…
Seattle underground, beneath the …
At QWest Field to see Seattle Soun…
At QWest Field to see Seattle Sou…
Freddie Ljungberg, formerly of Ars…
Freddie Ljungberg, formerly of Ar…
The guitar statue inside Experienc…
The guitar statue inside Experien…
View from the Space Needle
View from the Space Needle
The Troll at Fremont, a suburb of …
The Troll at Fremont, a suburb of…
Lenin, in the heart of the enemys…
Lenin, in the heart of the enemy'…
Seattle
photo by: diisha392