Checked Off My Bucket List: Seattle

Preface:

Hundreds of thousands of people with better cameras and better photography skills vacation at the same places as me.

Hundreds of thousands of people are better at travel writing than I am, better at writing in general, and are clearly better than me at speaking English.

Go read their damn blogs….

I love to travel. It helps me to relax; feel in charge when I am planning my next trip, buying tickets and making reservations; learn new things; change the scenery; feel better (or worse) about my hometown. Most importantly, it helps me not to raise a moron. This year we traveled to the Pacific Northwest, a place that until now remained a blank spot on my travel map. We visited Seattle, took an Amtrak train to San Francisco and drove 450 miles along the Pacific Coast on Highways 1 and 101, stopping for a night in Monterey. The trip turned out to be even better than I imagined.

The next several posts will be about these places illustrated with tons of photos (I brought back 1,214, which would probably weigh tons if I was using film).

Face:

If there was a god, the Pacific Northwest would have been his reward to the people who didn’t quit going West in the middle of Kansas, and, instead of making “Ad Astra Per Aspera” their motto and giving up, continued to endure and persevere for months and years, slowly consuming their mates on the way. When these people, exhausted and with little hope remaining, saw the water in front of them (after the rain stopped and the fog cleared 6 months later), they knew it was all worth it, and everyone they ate on the way would have wanted it that way. Over time they proceeded to cut and kill most of the things so abundant in the area, swindle the Indians, build depressing slums and fill the void with homeless people, Mexican radio stations, French-speaking tourists and a special breed of people who ride the Ducks.

Over time, people had an epiphany, and after multiple fires and earthquakes, the Pacific Northwest and Northern California (I have no idea if these are considered one geographical region) are an American jewel, a place where the nature, weather and landscape combined with the architecture, city planning, atmosphere and a number of Asian restaurants approaching infinity make one understand why people are willing to pay mind-blowing prices to live there.

If I had to summarize Seattle in one photo, it would probably be this shot of a redheaded, bearded guy in a cap, wearing sandals and smoking a pipe.


Or it could be this old man listening to the “Busker of the Day” in the middle of downtown.

…or this one…

…or this one…

…a bunch of people of all ages dancing old-timey waltzes outdoors…

…bad tattoos…

…public transportation that doesn’t need rails, even the light ones…

…roofs on the stadiums…

…gum wall…

…strange things…

…a hippie feeding pigeons…

…public market…

…balloons and bikes…

…murals on unexpected places…

…art fences…

…and not in the form of a fence…

…where pigeons transmit disease…

…but the seagulls do not…

…with omni-visible Space Needle….

…and omni-present mountains…

…where houses float…

…and one can paddle to the liquor store…

…where a bridge would open on a short notice…

…and the Deadliest Catch boats come to rest…

…where there is no limit to the size of a personal yacht…

…and you park your car in the front and your boat in the back…

…where ships are still leaving to Alaska, albeit the only rush on these is to a crab leg buffet…

…where the downtown combines modern…

…and not so modern…

…where every Russian-speaking person stopped and thought: “Why not me? I can do this. I will do this when I get home! Most definitely!”

…where the Great Western Trading is slow enough to read a paper…

…not sure what that is…

…where people compete for the most photogenic spots…

…but would’ve looked more original in front of this…

…where Online Coffee Company stole its own offline business…

…where 50 Shades of Grey is sold with all the necessary equipment one would need…

…where the sunflowers are caged…

…and metal pigs are not…

…where the tourists crowd the street…

…and the spider-people wash the windows…

…where beer drinking would win you the world’s toughest job…

…and water is everywhere you look…

…where a garden is alive on the 17th floor of an office building…

…loitering in alcoves is discouraged…

…where graffiti covers the buildings just like tattoos cover people…

…these things…

…chess in the park….

…and everything is under control.

We liked: Seattle Free Walking Tours, Pike Place Market, Monorail (one way is plenty), EMP museum, Underground Tour – more comedy than sightseeng but it was fun.

Public transportation is easy to use and at the time of this writing is free within the downtown area.

Piroshky Bakery and Mee Sum Pastry are very good.

Overrated: Riding the Ducks, 1st (not really) Starbucks, overly enthusiastic “World Famous Fish Throwers” at the Market, clam chowder and everything else at the Fisherman’s Wharf.

Underrated: 17th floor rooftop patio, if you can get there (someone brought us there, but there was no security anyway)

  • Nick

    look; i’m sorry you had such a miserable time, but for pete’s sake quit your whining…
    p.s. – on your trip south, by any chance you stop at santa cruz, just up the road from monterey? i luvs me some sc….
    p.p.s. – next time you do seattle? you gotta head north; vancouver (bc) is just under 2 hours away and is amazing. not at all like vancouver (wa), which you probably didn’t think was amazing when you passed it heading south.

    • we made a stop in SC and even ate some ice cream in supposedly “the best in California”. Didn’t have time (and didn’t obtain a parental permission) to go to Canada. Vancouver, WA was only seen from the train.

  • I Travel for JOOLS

    I really enjoyed all the pics…have never been there but it looks beautiful. Love any place with lots of water.

    • When we got to Seattle water,green forest,snow on the mountains looked so unreal after 100F desolate landscape we left behind in KC.

  • Donna Allen Wood

    Great pictures and a great entry. Looks like it might have been overcast while you were there… was it? If so, I guess Seattle was just living up to its reputation.

    • On the first day it was 91 and sunny, we went to the lake and I got a sunburn. Then it was in the 80’s and going between sunny and partly cloudy. Very pleasant, although the temperature was above their average. It was somewhat overcast on the last day but still very nice. We brought fall clothes but didn’t have to use jackets until we got to San Francisco.

  • jjskck

    Great shots. I’ll have to go back there soon.
    Regarding the “obey” poster: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andre_the_Giant_Has_a_Posse

    • Apparently this is a clothing company ad.

  • Leigh Ann Little

    I did not mean to give this post -13 stars…I kept clicking it trying to figure out how to make it go up! I loved this post and all the pictures… so glad you guys went and had an awesome time!!!

    • Thanks Leigh Ann, there will be more in the next few days.

  • aida

    obey is a mural by shepard fairey. i only know this from “exit through the gift shop”