Thursday, May 19, 2011

STAMP: Seattle, May 2011

The Pink Bus
Awoke to more glorious sunshine. Caught the 9:30am Pink Hop on-Hop off bus. My first impression of the city was its trees -- all the streets downtown are lined with trees breaking up the concrete jungle and making it much more livable.

Birthplace of Starbucks, there are coffee shops everywhere here - all apparently serving amazing coffee. I certainly didn't have a poor cup.

First bus stop was at the Music Centre and I chose to stay on until the next - the Space Needle. Lit by the morning sun and soaring 520 feet into the blue sky, it was quite a sight. I don't do heights well and at $16 a pop, I passed up the experience. My hotel has a 360 deg view of Seattle on the 36th floor that I had enjoyed  yesterday at sunset.

Reflection of the Space
Needle in a hi-rise
I got off the Pink double-decker at Pier 66, one of the cruise ship  terminals here. Not much to see and do. At the next waterfront stop, Pier 55 -- restaurants and shops that were touristy. Nice carousel for kids though. Miners' Landing, where the gold-rush kicked off in 1860, or thereabouts, was equally cheap. Here the harbour tours leave and the one hour voyage on a sunny day like today would offer good views of the waterfront and the Seattle skyline. I didn't have quite enough time to try this. The views across Elliott Bay are delightful and today was so clear the Olympic Mountains stood out to the north with their snow-clad peaks.

Home of the fish throwers!
My highlight was Pike Place Market, Seattle's renowned farmers' market of many years. It lived up to its billing. Banks of fresh fish and seafood (spot prawns and Dungeness crabs) looked delectable. The famous fish throwers were as accurate as ever - don't know how they caught slippery whole salmon! Fresh fruit and veg stalls, clothing, jewelery, spring flowers, crafts. The market was swarming with people - locals and tourists, and the first cruise passengers of the year. Lots of noise and colour. Buskers here too - the best were three teens with acoustic guitars. They played and sang Beatle tunes and were dressed like the Fab Four too. They were GOOD. Recorded some of their music. 

Lunch was next - I chose Seatown Snackbar and ate 1/2 a baguette stuffed with fresh crab, bacon and aoli. Succulent. Did some serious people watching as I sipped on a local brewery's pale ale. Street food looked tempting too!

If you have a very limited time in Seattle, as I did, the Pink Bus is a perfect way to see the downtown sights and sounds. I did not experience Old Seattle but will definitely want to make it my first stop next time, especially the Underground tour.

Note to self: Title "Six Hours in Seattle"

IMAGES: (c) Julie H. Ferguson 2011. All rights reserved.
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