One thing I love about North America is how easy it is to take weekend trips away. Sure it is easy enough in New Zealand as well, especially with such a small country that doesn’t take long to get around, but when you have lived there 20 years it is quite easy to of seen most of the country!
Last weekend I made the most of my couple of days off between jobs to pop down to Seattle for a weekend. Only a short and inexpensive trip from Whistler, I had no excuse not to tick it off the bucket list!
I slightly stupidly thought it would be a great idea to go out the night after my last night at work and to celebrate new beginnings – a fun night, but not such a fun trip to Seattle the next day. A 2.5 hour bus ride to Vancouver (with a wait for a replacement bus as ours broke down), then a 4 hour bus ride to Seattle, then a half hour walk about 20 blocks to my hostel. Needless to say, when I arrived at the hostel at 7pm I was ready for dinner and bed.
The one good thing about an early night and turning down offers to go to gigs/parties with the others in my dorm was that I got a whole day worth of sightseeing in the next day. With only 1.5 days in Seattle, I had a lot to squeeze in!
My day started off with what I thought was a visit to the worlds first Starbucks. When I got there, it didn’t look very old and it was pretty flashy but it was on the corner of 1st Ave which is what Google told me. So I ordered my Skinny Misto (the closest thing you can get to a Trim Flat White over here) and went off to explore Pike Place Markets. It wasn’t until about half an hour later when I found the REAL first Starbucks – the line out the door and half way down the street gave it away!
Over my short time in the city, I managed to fit a lot more in than what I was expecting and never even felt rushed. I managed to explore Pike Place Markets, see the Bubblegum Wall, get a coffee from the real first Starbucks (on the Monday morning when there was no line whatsoever!), visit the Space Needle, go to the EMP Museum, take the Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour, and take a ride on the Ferris Wheel on the waterfront. Oh and stock up on the cheap makeup (of course).
Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour was definitely one of my highlights. The history of Seattle is pretty incredible – and the tour guides
told it in a way where someone of any age would enjoy learning about it. The guides were really humorous and informative. At the end of the tour I found out it was our guides first day taking a tour on his own – I was well impressed!
The Underground tour takes you underground (funny that!) to the level where the city was originally back in the 1800s. Due to constant flooding they needed to raise the city, which is Seattle as we know it today. It is really interesting to explore the underground and imagine how life was in the city back in the day – there was a time where all of the shops were underground and the street was above them, so you would literally have to climb up and down a ladder off the side of the street to get to the shops!
The other highlight for me was the EMP museum. Even from the outside this museum is incredible! The museum focuses on music, pop culture and film which is the perfect type of museum for me! I didn’t actually know before I visited that Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix were from Seattle, and seeing the exhibits for them really gave me a new-found appreciation for their lives and their music.
The whole museum is really state of the art – the top floor is dedicated to music, and you can go into all these little studios and play guitar/drums/bass etc and record music, or you can learn how to mix on turntables. There is even a concert experience where you go in to a room and play on a stage and it is as if you are playing for a live audience in a concert! I am personally not talented in any way shape or form when it comes to music although I did have a go on the turntables, and although I just made sounds like a dying rabbit it was still a lot of fun.
Seattle in a whole seemed like an amazing city. In saying this, I was lucky enough to experience two beautiful sunny days which apparently isn’t a frequent occurence – a lot like Vancouver weather. The city reminded me of my home in Wellington – great coffee, cute boutique stores, a beautiful water front and really quite windy. It also had a really similar vibe to Melbourne, especially with the Pike Place Markets being very similar to the Queen Victoria Markets.
Now it is back to the real world for me, although since I have returned in the space of a week I have started a new job, moved into a real house (no more staff housing for me!) and said goodbye to some of my close friends who I have made over the last 7 months in Whistler.
There will be more to come in regards to my Whistler life soon! The internet isn’t set up at my new house yet so for now I am having to resort to the internet at the library (which wouldn’t be a bad thing except I have just spent the last 1.5 hours sitting next to a REALLY smelly man!)
Ciao for now!