Coffee anyone? Seattle ...

Trip Start Sep 07, 2008
Trip End Dec 10, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Saturday, October 4, 2008

Left Woodburn 7.30am (or more precisely Gary did - we're all still asleep), and headed (in the pouring rain) up the I5 towards the coffee capital Seattle.   This was where the likes of Starbucks first started, and Micorsoft (in fact Bill Gates still lives in the area) and Boeing of course have a big presence here (having just recently moved their head office from Seattle to Chicago).  Having left quite early meant we hit the city centre about 11am - plenty of time to take in the sights, however, theres only one way I could sum this up and in total agreement with you Antony  ( .... this place is a foodies dream!!

We would have loved to have spent hours and days (if not weeks), exploring all their coffee houses and cafes that were exploding at the seams with warmth and culture. The feeling was simply dynamic. 

One thing I do have to mention, is that as you travel up the Oregon Coast and towards Seattle, it is much more like New Zealand ie: it's greener, the cars are smaller ... everything in LA is big, they all drive 'monster trucks', and even the highway signs are the same colour etc.  Anyway, I digress again...

Talking of cars, we were really fortunate to find a parking place a block from where wanted to head.  You have to understand, that this is a very good thing.  Imagine, driving into Auckland city and trying to find a place to park a truck legally; AND that is close to your destination.  We braved the weather (at any rate, the wind) and 2 minutes later were in Pike Place Market - an exciting, vibrant market, full of stalls brimming with fresh fruits, honey, nuts, fishmongers, european bakeries etc.  Along with typical craft stores.  We also came across a couple of specialty shops eg: a collectors paradise: think magazines, comics, old comics ... all sorts of treasure in there, with thick book-like movie scipts from favourite movies, postcards of movies stars gone by (think Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, James Dean), etc - just delightful.

Of course we had to make a trip to Pikes Place Fish Market - this is years old (sorry can't tell you how many), but it is certainly world famous.  Gary remembers seeing it in a customer service video ... "it doesn't matter what you sell, whether it's fish or something else, it's the culture that you create within the company, and making it an enjoyable place to work"     -  Well here they throw fish around, get up close with customers, take time out for the photo opportunity - this was definitely fun!    (See video for a taste!)  Just fantastic entertainment ... of course we had to buy somethig, so for us, prawns was the menu for the day.  Beautiful!

We spent quite a lot of time in this area, enjoyed the buskers and made a visit to the first Starbucks ever - that was cool.  Busy little place (as you would expect it to be). 

We took a walk up to Pioneer Square, the older part of Seattle, with it's distinct red brick buildings and Gary took the boys on the mono-rail while visiting the Space Needle (the equivalent to our Sky Tower).

Towards the end of the day, we stopped off at the Water Locks which is where the salt water meets the fresh river water, and water is 'adjusted' so boats can pass through.  Sometimes the difference can be up to 26ft - either water needs to be added (to come up to the same level, so the boat doesn't drop), or it needs to be taken out - depending on tide.  They had a great salmon display, where you could view salmon migrating from the river to the ocean etc. 

Anyway, there was certainly a lot to do here, and it was a city that despite it having the same thing as everyone else .. (a bridge, high-rise buildings and lots of cars), it held a certain something special, something genuine (not just some man-made buildings, made to look old) -it's character is engrained, and infused with a sense of 'aliveness'....  you'll fall in love with it.

We do not regret stopping here - and will most definitely return.
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