Trip Start Jun 10, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rolling into Seattle we were surprised to see such an urban city. With Seattle being known for its ecofriendliness and the 'green' ideas that we had about the city we didn't expect the vast amount of concrete. We did spend most of our time in the city centre, but oh well. Regardless of the lack of greenery we saw, we thoroughly enjoyed the city. We arrived about an hour earlier than expected so we headed out to check out the Fremont area of town. It is known for its lefty vibe, odd sculptures (they even have a statue of Lenin), and a legendary Sunday farmers market. As it was a Sunday we decided to stroll the market. It was the typical market with arts, crafts, vintage T-shirts and jewelry, old albums, the works. What was really notable was the quality of the goods, in a relative sort of way. Many will still consider much of the wares found here as old junk, but it seemed that the goods were high quality and in demand by the market goers at all stands. From there we checked into our hotel and returned our little Jetta that had taken us over 2000 miles in the last couple of weeks. After a brief stroll around our neighbourhood (Belltown), better known as the birthplace of grunge, we stumbled across an Old Spaghetti Factory that we couldn't pass up. After a mild case of food-coma we called it a night.
The next morning we headed to the famous Pike Place Market. Thankfully it was the morning on a weekday in February. Therefore we had little human traffic to navigate through as we explored the market stands and oddball shops. We tried to hang around long enough to see some salmon being thrown around by the bellowing fishmongers, but alas it wasn't busy enough. The market vendors, however, were among the most pleasant and engaging people we've met in our travels. Within the first 15 minutes and 20 metres, Meg had made several new friends and been told to keep on smilin' twice. We also found the original Starbucks store. The amount of Starbucks in Seattle alone is amazing, there seems to be one or two on every street. It is interesting to know that both the Starbucks and Microsoft empires began here yet the city and region are known for their hatred of corporate America. The contradictions continued with the Pike Place Market ending where all of the major chain stores began. The core of the city is filled with enough shops to keep any shopaholic busy. Although we checked out a few of the usual suspects, we think we were a little spoiled in Florida... and they call these prices in Seattle "sales"... please. After window-shopping for more than long enough, we headed for Pioneer Square, the oldest part of the city. On our way we passed the massive and uniquely designed library. We walked down Yesler Way, the original "Skid Row". It actually got its name back in the day when loggers would send logs skidding down the road to the mill at the pier. With the decline in the lumber industry the street became more known for its homeless population and the term spread from there. On that note we headed back to rest up for our last sightseeing day in the US for a while.
We started out that day by meeting with a friend (and Meg lookalike) that we met in Switzerland. It was great to spend some time with Trina, catching up and sharing travel stories. After that nice chat we went to check out the Seattle Center. It is home to the emblematic Space Needle, the Experience Music Project and the Science Fiction Museum. Although we passed on the Space Needle the other two attractions were fabulous. Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen is a huge music fan, rightfully so coming from Seattle. This building is an amazing tribute to the North-West music scene. Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, The Kingsman (remember Louie, Louie) are just a few of an amazing list of talent that came from the area, there must be something in the water here. Attached to the Experience is the Science Fiction Museum, Mecca for the sci-fi nerds that flock here to see the countless props and models from TV and movies. We saw many of the props from Star Trek, Jurassic Park, and even E.T. (the actual E.T. used in the movie). Hoping not to sound like nerds, we will leave it there. We found Seattle to be very walkable with its varying neighbourhoods, cool vibe, and enough coffee shops to keep Seattle 'wired' for decades to come. Our trip up the West Coast has been amazing. In such a short trip we have seen so many different ways of life in the US. It is pretty remarkable to finally see it all after hearing about it for so long. We have had a fabulous time and are already looking forward to coming back. Tomorrow we head back to Canada! Victoria, here we come.

Megan and Kevin
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