My third destination was Seattle. I left Miami with it’s sandy beaches, sunny weather and palm trees for one of the rainiest parts of the USA. Luckily for me, Seattle was about to hit a heat weave when I was there and got out before it got so hot that exploring would be made difficult. So I spent 4 days in Seattle with excellent weather for hitting the town.
Space Needle @ Seattle Center
Rocky Mountains seen from the plane
I had to get up at 4.30 AM to catch my flight to Seattle. Traveling from the east to the west coast takes about as long as traveling from Europe to New York. So my first day I pretty much spent on a plane with a layover at LAX. I arrived at the hotel around 4 PM and checked into my hostel. I had booked a room close to the train station seeing I would be taking a train to my next destination. It so happens to lie just in Seattle’s Chinatown with a large Asian supermarket and bookstore just two blocks away. I browsed the supermarket and the bookstore and had some Chinese BBQ for dinner. That was pretty much day 1.
Pike Place Market
The first full day I had to explore I just walked around for a bit. I checked out the retail core and then headed to Pike Place Market. I had fun exploring the market, had some Starbucks (that’s where it’s from!) and there was a city Target which needed checking out. The top of the market is mostly for selling fresh produce like fish, meats and veggies. There are also elaborate flower stands and lots of little independent trade shops from the area.
I had lunch in the park adjacent to the market and then I set out to explore the lower levels of the market. Entirely less busy, the lower levels housed the more interesting shops. There were shops selling used books and records, gaudy souvenir shops, and some relics of days gone by in the way of viewing the largest shoe in the world. It was nice to wander around for a bit and then found myself with the exit at the back of the market that lead to the waterfront.
I walked up and down the waterfront and then went to a shop that was a combination of a souvenir shop and a curiosity shop. Part museum of desert mummies dug up in the 19th century and gifts from chiefs, part key chains and fudge shop, it had a bit of everything. After checking that out, I went down to the ferry dock and took a ferry down to Bainbridge Island. Some type of suburb just out of Seattle, with a cute shopping street, it was a definite change of pace from the big city. Plus there were lots of blackberries up for picking.
Seattle skyline from Kerry Park
Wearing a stunning cap in preparation for a visit to a chocolate factory
My second full day in Seattle meant going all over town, chasing the best views. I first took a bus down to Seattle Center to check out the main tourist attractions Seattle has to offer. That’s where the Space Needle, which I didn’t travel all the way to the top as I had other plans for views that also came completely free.
Just past Seattle Center is a hilly road leading to Kerry Park. It’s a bit of a walk but the view is absolutely stunning. Since the weather was nice Mount Rainier could be seen very clearly in the distance too so that was an added bonus.
After Kerry Park, I took a bus up to Fremont where I walked along the river and noticed they had a chocolate factory around. They were fully booked for that day, but I booked a tour for the following day and so I went back on my last day. Before I knew it, it was time for me to head to my next and final destination of the day: University quarter. I walked around campus for more view of Mount Rainier and then headed a street where there were a lot of little student type shops. I ended up reading in Starbucks before heading tot he bus and catching one back to the hotel.
Nirvana memorabilia @ EMP
A tree made out of guitars? Why not?
A dragon in its lair
For my last day in Seattle I decided to do something fun and different. For one I visited a chocolate factory. I visited Theo Chocolate: a local Seattle chocolate brand that is 100% fair trade and organic. Their chocolate bars are sold across the US and Canada so it was a brand I did not know. It is one of the first US chocolate that I’ve tried that is actually good. The tour included an explanation of the process of making chocolate: from growing the beans to processing them into chocolate. The first part was explained through pictures and a timeline, after that the tour continued onto the factory floor and patisserie where the chocolate and bons bons are made. It also included lots of tastings!
After that fun visit, I headed back to Seattle Center and visited the EMP museum. This museum is dedicated to music, science fiction and popular culture. It was a very modern museum that was pretty high tech. There was this huge video wall that played music videos and documentaries and there were some exhibitions on two of Seattle’s greatest music legends: Jimi Hendrix and of course, Nirvana. The museum also includes exhibitions on movies in the realms of horror, fantasy and sci-fi. They also had a special exhibit on on Star Wars costumes, but I didn’t see that. I spent quite some time in the museum and liked how unique and original the concept was.
I headed back towards downtown Seattle by the Monorail that drops you off in the heart of Seattle from Seattle Center. I walked around some more and then found myself at the Hardrock Cafe for some dinner. I walked back to the hotel and went to bed early since I would have to be up at 6 AM to catch a train to Vancouver!