As Helaine and I cruised the Alaskan Panhandle a few weeks ago I diligently posted to my blog every day. By the time we got back to Seattle… well, I was just too beat. That’s a shame, because Seattle was just as much a fun surprise as the rest of the trip!
My best advice is plan an extra day or two at the end of a vacation, especially a physically active vacation like our Alaska cruise, to relax and get ready to reenter society. That’s advice we didn’t take!
Our ship pulled into Seattle early Saturday morning. We were bushed. We also had plans… oh did we have plans.
We got our bags, found a stevedor, hailed a cab and headed to the Sheraton. This day was destined to be a tip-o-rama. Oy!
Our room wasn’t going to be available until mid-afternoon so we gave the bellman our bags (and some cash) and headed out to explore the city. As was the case a week earlier when we’d boarded the ship, Seattle was sunny and welcoming.
We’d spent the previous week walking and today would be no different! I asked the concierge for directions to the Pike Place Market. We set out downhill.
Pike Place Market is probably more known for its iconic sign than what’s inside! Shame. It’s a really cool collection of small stands selling produce, flowers and fish with a some professional crafters thrown in for good measure. The market overflows onto the adjacent sidewalks. Everything is grown, caught or created locally.
Helaine was immediately impressed by the beautifully large bouquets of flowers $10-$15 bought! Other items… well you’re paying for the experience I guess. Everything looked fresh, wholesome and inviting. We bought some jam to take home and a t-shirt for me so I could change out of my long sleeve shirt!
There are a lot of street musicians in Seattle. Near Pike Place most of them were playing jazz. It fits perfectly.
We noticed a long line outside a Starbucks across the street from the market. Seattle is a coffee drinking city, but this queue was more than you’d expect. The non-standard sign was the giveaway. It’s the original Starbucks!
I should have. I didn’t. So shoot me Howard Schultz.
A phone call from the hotel brought us back uphill to get our bags (same bellman, second tip) and settle in. That didn’t last long. There was more to see and do!
Helaine had purchased a half price Groupon deal for the Columbia Center Observation Deck. At 73 floors up it’s the best view of the city… better than the Space Needle!
Unfortunately the observation deck is tough to find! In fact even getting in the building was tough to do! Once inside we were pointed to an elevator which needed a key card to head to the 40th floor transfer station. We had to find someone to do that.
Someone on Yelp summed it up this way:
Finding the elevators, and figuring out where to go really is confusing. It’s like a secret club, and a maze all mixed up into one.
I wish there was a way to take photos without glass between me and outside. There is not.
In the elevator down we ran into two high school friends. We had tickets to see the Mariners and asked if Safeco Field was walkable. They acted as our tour guides tagging along through Pioneer Square.
This is a good time to hit pause and talk a little about Seattle itself. It is a big city and by all outward appearances prosperous. We were in the business district and it seemed stores were moving in, not out. The city is clean and full of people.
There are also more homeless people than I have ever seen in an American city. Is it the affluence that’s their draw? I don’t know, but they’re there.
We were never approached or bothered in any way, but we felt uneasy going through Pioneer Square on the way to and from Safeco Field.
Helaine purchased our tickets on Stubhub before we left Connecticut. We sat on the field level 20 rows behind home plate and paid under $100 for the two tickets. A losing season for the Mariners is probably the reason why.
The roof was over the field when we arrived. Around 20 minutes before game time it slowly and silently slid open exposing us all to this spectacular Seattle weather! Nice touch. It was better this way than if it had been open from the get-go.
The game itself was pretty good too… unexpectedly good. Seattle’s “King” Felix Hernandex struck out 10 while Texas starter Yu Darvish got lit up early. The Mariners won 7-0 and they passed out free Ichiro shirts!
Helaine needed to wake-up at 2:30 AM to get ready for our flights back to Connecticut, so we left after the 7th inning stretch and walked back to the hotel. Damn Seattle is hilly! My post trip calculation was a little less than five hilly miles of walking as we ended our vacation.
I’d very much like to go back and see more of the Pacific Northwest.