Wednesday, 14 November 2012


This past weekend four of us went to Seattle for three days. We caught the Greyhound bus from Vancouver at 6am Friday, arriving at Everett late morning. Everett is about an hour north of Seattle. From the bus station, we took a further two buses to finally arrive at the Seattle Premium Outlets. The outlets have the following shops Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Burberry, Coach and Nike just to name a few! We spent most of the day here and then caught the bus into Seattle. By this time it was dark, so we could see all the city lights as we drove in, very pretty! Our hostel was located in the International District, which is pretty much Chinatown. It was very basic and cosy (four of us in one small room, two bunks), however it is all we needed. That night we walked into downtown and  had dinner at a Thai restaurant. The weather was freezing however!!

Downtown at night
Pike Place Market at night.
The hostel provided a breakfast the next morning which was nice, and then we set off for our first day in the city. We first explore Pike Place Market, an iconic Seattle location. In this area is the first ever Starbucks which still operates today. In the afternoon walked to Seattle centre where the Space needle and EMP Museum are located. Although the weather was very cold, the days were sunny which was nice.

The first Starbucks! Notice the logo is slightly different.
A massive line outside the original Starbucks, and some greyhounds looking for adoption.
Fish at the market

Fresh pasta
Mushrooms anyone? 

View from outside market

Traditional musicians at Seattle Centre
Space Needle
Outside of EMP museum
 We then took the bus to the next hostel where we spent Saturday night. It was located in the University District. This area is basically comprised of the University of Washington campus, student housing and a main street with shops, bars and restaurants. Our room was much more luxurious than the first hostel. We stayed at "The College Inn" which was more like a hotel than a hostel. We had dinner at a pub on the main street and shared nachos. Breakfast was also included here which was good.

The price! Just kidding, I wish.
The exterior of the College Inn

We then set off to the neighbourhood of Capital Hill via bus. This area was full of really nice houses and had a main street also consisting of shops and cafes. However as we were there on a Sunday morning, many places were closed. This area reminded me of the suburb Toorak in Melbourne.

A set of holiday apartments in Capital Hill, very cute!
From here we took a bus downtown and went to the EMP museum. The EMP museum displays music, sci-fi and popular culture and had an excellent display on Nirvana (they originated not far from Seattle).

Original Nirvana photos and posters
The guitar Kurt Cobain played the first time "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
was played in public, and for many shows after that. 
There was also an exhibition of Leather Jackets.
This outfit was worn by Fergie (from Black Eyed Peas) in 2010.
How are those hot pants?!
More intricate leather jackets from history

Me being a biker

A wall of what music means to people.

Alice and Ziyad rocking out in the Jam Room

Charlotte on drums!

Large photo of Kurt Cobain as long as the stairs.

There was a horror exhibition also,
this photo was taken in the scream booth.
From here, we walked about 15 minutes to the ferry dock and took a ferry across to Bainbridge Island. It was about a 30 minute ride and got a great view of the city from the water. We didn't get off an Bainbridge Island (not sure if there is much to see there) and got the ferry straight back to Seattle. Although it was only 4pm, the days are very short here so as we arrived back to the dock in Seattle it was nearly dark and we had a view of the city lights. It was raining pretty heavy by the time we got off the ferry and started our walk towards the Pioneer Square area and Little Italy. A Seattle Seahawk's (American Football) game had just finished at the stadium nearby so the streets were littered with fans in their team colours. We arrived at Pioneer Square ready for the 5pm Underground City tour.

Old directional sign

 This tour was very interesting and explained how when Seattle was originally built, the pioneers didn't realize they were located on tide flats. Which meant the city got flooded every afternoon!! To add to this, their system for sewage was less than sophisticated, so you can imagine the results; sewage flows to the sea, the sea comes back in and floods the city daily! Gross!! Then occurred the Great Seattle Fire which burnt the city to the ground in less than 12 hours, a blessing in disguise as it meant they could start over. The city councillors had an 8-10 year plan to raise the entire city above sea level. However, the merchants needed to continue trading so they built shops back at existing sea level. As a result, the shops were at sea level, so were the sidewalks, but the streets were between eight to thirty feet above! Which meant to reach the sidewalk you had to go down a ladder off the edge of the street. Eventually after a few too many drunken falls and deaths, the city councillors built wooden 'bridges' at street level, which were the new sidewalks above the existing old ones below. The gap between the old and the new sidewalks had never been filled in and therefore resulted in the 'tunnel' systems below Pioneer Square today.

Nowadays they are used as storage for the shops above, or in some cases businesses have leased the space off the council and are used for small bars below their restaurants. Similar to a basement, yet in an underground sidewalk!!  

 Early in the city's history the tunnels became rampant with disease from rats arriving on ships with fleas. In an effort to stop the problem, the city council condemned the underground tunnels. As a result, everything and anything that was illegal found it's home underground. The city didn't mind; out of sight, out of mind. Filled with drug dealing, speak easy's and brothels.

I found the tour very interesting and the guide said there are similar tunnels in Vancouver under Gastown, however are not open to the public. After the tour we had a meal at a very authentic Italian restaurant and then walked back to the Greyhound station to catch the bus home. We left Seattle at 9pm and arrived home in Vancouver at 1am. Overall, a very interesting and exhausting weekend!! 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Lucy, what a great weekend in Seattle. It was great for me to remember back to when Dad and I did the Underground City tour in the 80's. Imagine living in those conditions with tidal floods, pouring rain and the fire risk with all that timber infrastructure!