Monday, March 10, 2008


Last week we decided to take a few days out and visit Seattle. Since we are only a couple of hours drive North of the city it didn't require too much planning, only organising someone to look after Charlie and where we were going to stay once we were there.

Our friend Andrea had some very useful connections that enabled us to stay at a great downtown hotel at an extremely preferential rate, and Stephen & Glenn kindly offered to housesit and take care of the dog.

Infact it turned out Andrea was going to be in Seattle the same time as ourselves as she was meeting a friend there.

The exchange rate of Canadian $ to US $ is currently about 1-to-1 but because the Canadian $ has historically been worth less than the US $ many things in the US are considerably cheaper to buy than in Canada. This is one of the huge incentives of going over the border is that clothes and electrical items are often 20%-30% cheaper.

So, we checked into the Renaissance on Madison St for a couple of nights. We were on the 22nd floor, without perhaps the best possible view but we we're going to argue since it had actually worked out cheaper than the Travelodge ! I have to confess this photo is one I had to steal off of their website, as we didn't actually take one ourselves.

Our room had a 'terrific' view over Interstate 5 which runs right through the downtown core. This was to us one of the most noticible differences between Seattle and Vancouver, is the presence of large freeways and elevated roads in the urban area. It made us particularly grateful of the way city planning has managed the beautiful location of Vancouver, keeping large elevated freeways out of the city and creating the fantastic seawall allowing water access and recreation throughout the downtown area.

However, we did note that Seattle appeared to have kept more of their older buildings than Vancouver, including this 'Seattle Tower' which was built in 1928. It had originally been planned as 24 floors, but an additional 3 were added to enable it to be higher than the Smith Tower which was being built around the same time in the city.

A flatiron building in the downtown core

Then we took the monorail from downtown out to the Seattle Centre where the Space Needle is located. Most of the centre seemed fairly closed and desolate....we're assured it comes to life in the summer.

It had clouded up during the course of the day, but the forecast for the following day was good so decided not to go up the Space Needle on the Tuesday, but to actually go up the next day instead. However, David spotted the Museum of Science Fiction......

Where Trekkies and Star Wars fanatics abound.....

We were impressed to discover the Komo 4 TV station adjacent to the Seattle Centre - we often see their news & weather forecast.

Heading down towards the Pike Place Market there are a number of historic buildings, some in great shape and some in a degree of disrepair, but still showing signs of a former bustling life of prosperiety

That evening we met up with Andrea & her friend Stephen and had dinner with them, then went to a great bar which offered over 90 different beers on tap.

The following morning and a few glasses of wine and beer the worse, we met up with Andrea and Stephen again for breakfast at a diner in Pike Place Market.

The entrance to Pike Place Market

Views from the diner where we had breakfast looking out across the water watching the Washington State ferries come and go

Finally after spending a few hours up the Space Needle (see next post) with Andrea & Stephen we headed back home, via a couple of shopping malls. This is a view of Mt Baker from south of Bellingham.

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