Well it's only taken me 9 months to write this blog, but back in April while i was in Vancouver for work, i hopped on the train (American trains are amazing, huge leather seats) and went over the border to Seattle for the weekend.
Now my first tip to you is arrive at the train station with plenty time; unlike me. I rocked up at 5.20 for my 5.30 train and let's say the staff were not best pleased. You have to check in, then go through a small border control and baggage check. When you cross the border into America, there border guards will get on the train, question you and wave some weird machine that smells the air at you (i guess to check you aren't smuggling in doughnuts?)
I was staying at Hotel 5 in downtown Seattle, picked for it's proximity to all the main tourist attractions (you can walk to the space needle in about 15 minutes). They also offer free cupcakes, bikes, and bus drop offs. My stay here was fine, the monorail was right outside my window so that could be a little loud, and the walls weren't the thickest and i'm quite a light sleeper. Plus they have two single duvets on the double bed (what?) great if you travel as a duo and want full control of your duvet, but as a single i couldn't starfish.
Now onto what you really came for: the attractions.
Now two days isn't the most amount of time to see things but i have to say i managed to pack in quite a lot. I bought a CityPass as i decided this was the most cost efficient way of doing things.
Another thing to note, Seattle is a city of late risers. I was up early to start exploring and everything was closed, so i got on the monorail (just for the quirky experience) and you actually go through the EMP building which is pretty cool, so quite a fun way to travel.
Most of the main attractions are all located in one handy place, which makes it easy to do a lot in one day. I grabbed a grilled cheese in Starbucks as i waited for all the attractions to open. I started with my first trip up the space needle. Sadly it was a bit foggy so didn't provide the best views and tbh, Seattle doesn't have the most exciting skyline but it was nice to do and at that time nice and quiet as it has just opened. This took about 30 minutes.
Then i headed to the EMP museum which is dedicated to popular culture. The building itself is stunning and inside there are lots of cool exhibits, the headlining one being Hello Kitty when i was there, but check the website as exhibits change regularly. I also saw: Jimmy Henrdicks, Nirvana, indie game revolution, Infinite world of Science Fiction and Fantasy: world of myths and magic. With the city card you can choose either the EMP museum or the Woodland Park Zoo, which is quite a way out, You can also go in and out of the museum once you have your sticker.
My next attraction was the Chihuly Garden and Glass. This place blew my mind. It was amazing. I will let my pictures do the talking but i loved it here. I only wish i could have gone back in the evening as i think the garden lit up at night would be magical. They had glass blowing demos while i was there. With the city card you can choose either Chihuly or Pacific Science Center. I don't regret choosing Chihuly, i think it was my favorite part of the trip and i would highly recommend it to anyone. The science center seems more for kids.
I got the Monorail back to the center and had some pizza in a food court (eating on my own in public isn't something i'm used to, but it was quick and cheap and there was free wi-fi so i could whatsapp call my family) and decided to head off to Pike Market, the other famous part of Seattle.
Now Pike Market is super busy, it was a bit overwhelming if i'm honest. It is a maze of pathways and lead you up, down and all around until you have no clue where you are, but there are some amazing food places there and little shops selling all sorts. I caught a fish toss, where a customers order is tossed back and forth and sang at. Bizarre, but some what of a local tradition.
You can also see the original Starbucks store here (although it isn't actually in the original location) but beware the lines are huge to get inside as they have different cups and possibly a unique blend. As a non coffee drinker i just grabbed a picture and went on my way.
Seattle can be quite hilly and the walk back from Pike Market to the center wasn't the most fun, so i grabbed a drink and sat for a while watching some street performers and just enjoying the atmosphere before heading back to my hotel for a quick rest up.
After my feet were no longer crying, i walked back to the Space Needle for my night trip, it was about 7pm and dusk and i thought this would be a lovely time to see the city. The queues were much longer this time. With the city pass you get two trips up the space needle but they need to be used on the same day. I walked around the complex for a bit taking some photos and headed to The Cheesecake factory to get some dinner and cheesecake; which was delicious.
The next day i had a slight lay in as i learnt from the day before and went to the Olympic sculpture park first. I got horribly lost and what should have been a 20 minute walk took me nearly 45 minutes but it's a nice park with lots of art sculptures in; hence the name right? And there was a nice water feature as you left. I then decided to walk along the pier front to where the Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour left. MISTAKE, it was soooo far on a 21 degree day. Note it probably wasn't that far but it felt like it. On arrival i treated myself to an ice cream for my walking efforts and to cool me down as i was now a sweaty mess. Sorry to the man i sat next to the boat. I enjoyed the boat tour as i got some history and information about Seattle, also got some nice views of the city. We also got to see some seals (i think they were seals and not sea-loins, i was too excited to fully pay attention) and it was a nice chance to rest my knackered feet. The cruise was included in my City Pass.
Once my feet were back on dry land i went to the Aquarium as that was next door and again included with my City Pass. While not wild about fish, i knew they had otters and i am quite the fan of otters. They have a pretty cool doomed room where the fish are swimming above and all around you. But i was all about the mammals, so i went to see the seals and just sat watching them for a bit as it was quite calming, then went to see feeding time with the sea otters. Sea otters are bloomin huge, like furry fat snakes. Not like the cute otters i know and love.
I eventually found the cute river otters, which were normal size, but had to leave after a few minutes as they were getting amorous and it felt uncomfortable to sit and watch. Like they were really going for it, parents were shielding their children's eyes. I also learnt that otter sex is quite aggressive.
On leaving the otter porn hub, i decided to head back to Pike Market. From the pier it is a really steep walk, i think i would have paid someone to carry me up there and by the time i reached the market i was knackered and needed a little rest in the green space next door. I later learnt there is a lift up if you go back down the pier.
I had another nose around the market and got some little nibbles from some of the stores as it was now 3pm and all i had eaten was ice cream. Fueled up i went in search of chewing gum wall, a rather disgusting landmark. Again the name is pretty self explanatory. But you do really need to see it to believe it.
I only had a few hours left before my train back to Vancouver so i just walked around enjoying the city and some more of the sights.
This was my first time travelling alone, and i had a few moments where i felt a bit lonely but as a general i was too busy enjoying myself and doing things to really notice.
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