Trip Start Apr 15, 2008
Trip End Apr 01, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Saturday, August 30, 2008

Seattle - Washington State - USA
Back to the USA - We left Vancouver Island on the Victoria Clipper for the 3 hour fast ferry ride to Seattle. The ferry cuts a route between the Gulf Islands, giving constant land on the horizon which is good for me to focus on! Actually it was a very smooth crossing and I have to say a big thank you to Jacki for the travel bands, see I am using them! They seemed to work, although I did get a bit paranoid as to whether or not I'd found the pressure spots! 
Seattle is situated between two bodies of water, Puget Sound and Lake Washington. It is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the US. A trend setting city, it lays claim to inventing and exporting brand such as Starbucks, and Nike to name but a few. Aptly nick named the emerald city, Seattle is backed by coastal mountains, lined by fingers of islands with water in all directions, and it probably has one of the most picturesque settings of any US city.
Once we had docked we reached our guest house via taxi, thank goodness we did, it was a steep two mile up hill drive to our B & B in the Capital Hill area. The Gas Light Inn is an immaculately restored Victorian mansion. Original art work and comfortable furniture adorn the guest rooms and the back garden has a small pool and terrace for guests to relax, not that we had time, we had far too much to see! Situated in a quite area of the city, it's an easy walk down the hill to reach downtown, and the number 10 bus gets you back up.
Broadway was just a 4 block walk; here we found a colourful selection of shops, restaurants and people! The main route into town is along Pike Street, at the very bottom we found Pike Street Public Market. The Market which opened in 1907 is built on the edge of a steep hill. It has several lower levels below the main level, featuring a variety of unique shops and small family-owned restaurants. The upper street level features fishmongers, craft stalls and the most colourful flowers stands you are likely to set your eyes on. Local farmers sell year-round in the arcades from tables they rent from the Market on a daily basis, the Market's mission and founding goal being "Meet the Producer."!  It really does need to be experienced to be appreciated, Julie would have spent all day here given the chance.This is also home of the Flying Fish Market Stall. I had seen a motivation video a few years back, so it was good to see the real thing in motion. 
Whilst in Seattle I also met up with my cousin Valerie and her husband Dave, they live across the bay in Poulsbo. We arranged to meet for dinner and met them off the island ferry, a much quicker alternative to driving two hours around. I was worried I wouldn't recognise her as it had been over ten years since we'd last seen each other. I needn't have worried she spotted me first! Can't imagine how I was so easy to spot! Any way she hadn't changed a bit, it was great to catch up. We spent a really pleasant evening on the waterfront eating and trying the local beer!
To the south of downtown is Pioneer Square, this was the original downtown area of Seattle. It is now a series of tree lined streets packed with craft shops, restaurants, bars and night clubs, an area which is safe enough in the day but best avoided after dark. Unique to this area is the Underground Tour, where you are guided around subterranean passages that were once the main roadways and first-floor storefronts of old downtown Seattle, before the streets were raised to the current street level after the Great Seattle fire of 1889.
In summary, a cool town with heaps of character and a climate similar to that of the UK.
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