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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Autumn in Seattle

Last week we took a few days to visit Seattle. Neither of us had ever been there, but knowing how much we both loved Alaska, this trip to the Pacific Northwest was sure to be enjoyed.
We flew in on Monday afternoon. The sun was shining, which we understand is a rarity, so we took that opportunity to go to the top of the Space Needle first thing.
This is Greg taking video of the landscape. We could see for miles.
This is Mt. Rainier... Then we took the monorail into the heart of downtown Seattle. The monorail only has two stops, one near the Space Needle and one four blocks from the Public Market. Easy on and easy off.
We checked out just a little of the Market. It was only 4:00-ish, but the sun was going down.

We walked past the Market to the Piers in hopes of finding a good seafood place to eat supper. Here I am with Ellery Bay in the background. Puget Sound is beyond the bay. We ate at Fisherman's Cafe. Greg had stuffed cod and I tried Ahi for the first time ever. (Ahi is tuna, supposed to be served "rare" - I got "raw".) The clam chowder was good, though. I had clam chowder each day we were there and it was different each time, but always VERY GOOD. Greg had fish chowder a couple of times (I know, surprised me, too!) and really liked it, too.

While we were eating supper, the sun set over the bay and we walked back to the monorail stop in the dark. Our hotel was just a short walk from the space needle so we rode back there and this is what we found. Isn't it beautiful?

On Tuesday we went back downtown and walked from the Market to Pioneer Square, the area where the original city began. We took the Underground Tour and learned quite a bit about the founders and hisory of the city. Several weeks ago "Ghost Hunters" visited these same places, trying to find evidence of the paranormal or haunting, but found nothing. We didn't see anything, either, though our guide did mention that some people have seen a man dressed as a banker and a little boy.

Back to the waterfront for lunch at Ivar's, a place recommended to Greg by a coworker who used to live near Seattle. This particular store was like a fast-food seafood place where you took your food from the window and either sat at tables outside on the pier, or inside a separate glass-walled building. It was too hot inside the building, so we braved the giant seagulls and ate out on the pier. Now these seagulls were beggars. It is custom to feed them your leftover French Fries, and they won't even consider anything else. I tossed a piece of my flour tortilla (I had fish tacos for lunch), and crushed up a tortilla chip, but they left those for the pigeons. These monsters only wanted fries. So we fed them Greg's fries. They were very convincing.
The pigeons were very friendly - they'd hop up on the seat beside me and ate cracker pieces from my hand. They weren't picky and appreciated our generosity.

After lunch we started walking along the waterfront again, planning to head to Pike Place Market and find the fish-throwers. We happened upon a harbor boat tour that was leaving in less than 10 minutes and still had room, so we hopped on board. We cruised along the shore, getting another history lesson about the buildings we could see. That was interesting enough, but the highlight was coming up on these California sea lions lounging around. They perked up when we came along.

After disembarking the tour boat, we continued on to the Market. I guess we were too busy looking and not photographing, because I don't have any photos of Pike Place Fish Company where they throw the fish. We only saw them throw one fish, but the guys were pretty entertaining otherwise, so it was fun to just stand there and watch them. We went back on Thursday morning and made a purchase and had some nice conversations with some of the guys and Greg chatted with who we think is the owner.
Anyway, on Tuesday afternoon we found the original Starbucks. One tour guide told us there are 107 Starbucks in a 33 square-block area in downtown Seattle.
On Wednesday we rented a car and left the city for a drive out in the wilderness. We went to Woodinville and visited a couple of wineries. We did the wine tastings at both places and brought home a couple of bottles of our favorites from each. Greg is standing under the arbor at Chateau Ste. Michelle where we met some very nice ladies who recommended we go to Redhook Ale Brewery for lunch. After the equivalent of at least a couple full glasses of wine before lunch, we needed to eat. :o)
After lunch we took a back highway to Snoqualmie Falls. The trees were ablaze with autumn colors and the air smelled SO good. After we left the Falls, Greg thought we needed to just take a random road and drive. I'm not so keen on not knowing where I'm going, but away we went. It didn't take long to get to the Interstate and I felt better, but we did see some pretty country.
We drove around in the city a bit and found another Ivar's to eat at. This one was a sit-down restaurant decorated like a lodge with lots of Native American artifacts. Our window faced the water of Washington Lake where we watched the college rowing team practice.

On Thursday we went back to the Market, then had enough time to visit the Science Fiction Museum when we were done. If you're not into scifi, you probably don't care about seeing parts of the set and costumes from the original Star Trek series, and the prop blasters from Star Wars, but we enjoyed them. Unfortunately they didn't allow any photography so I have none.
The rest of the day was spent in airports and on airplanes and then driving home from Omaha.
That's it for a quick recap of our vacation. I hope you enjoyed it!


Anonymous said...

Seattle is so cool. Glad you shared with us. Did you try any of the pastries at the market.:)

Bobbi and Kurt said...

It looks like you had a lovely time together. Great pictures!

Barbara Allen Moore said...

What a great trip! It's on my list of things to do in the future. Frogger has family there so if I go I want to take him as well so he can see his cousins again. His stepmom said that it reminded her too much of her homeland of Scotland. She's too used to the warmth of Memphis now and all the sun. But I was near Seattle on my travels and was so surprised that the temp never got much over 75 and that was in July! Glad you had a good time.