Thursday, 7 August 2014

A Day Out in Seattle.

The boys and I are currently enjoying a trip to Washington State and spending a couple of weeks with family; my sister-in-law, her husband and their two boys to be precise. I am ashamed to admit it, but this is our first visit here, although she has lived in the States for over twenty years!

So for now, no 'Letters from Coco' but instead some 'Words from Washington'.

Earlier in the week, like true tourists, we spent the day sight-seeing in Seattle, which since the 1980's has been promoted as 'The Emerald City'. To be honest I find this an odd tag, because although it is indeed a green city, it's not what I would describe as an emerald-green: more of a dark-green, forest-green or maybe even dark-olive-green, but not emerald. But hey, what do I know! Anyway, the city earned its title because:
officials, who were promoting Seattle as "The Emerald City" in the mid-1980s. This is mostly due to the lush, green forests of Washington and the more than 6,000 acres of parks within the city limits.
Now, because of our numbers, we had to take two cars, with me driving one of them. Not a major problem really, but the Interstate did seem a little crazy speed wise! I might have driven pretty fast back in the UK, but you forget, I've been driving at a snails pace for the last year, with very few other vehicles using the roads alongside me. I almost felt like a beginner again - especially when my s-i-l pulles over to remind me that the 60 speed limit was in miles NOT kilometres! 

So, first on the sightseeing list was a visit to Pike Place Market, Seattle's original farmers market. Busy as hell, packed with tourists like us, armed with cameras, stopping every few feet to take photos of the delicious produce on offer. Definitely worth a visit, I just wish I had bought some of the beautiful fresh flowers that were for sale - bunches of dahlias for $5 or $10, bargain! 

Pikes Place Market overlooking the Puget Sound

The fabulous fish stall. 

After a quick look around the surrounding streets, by-passing the extremely long queue at the first ever Starbucks Coffee shop, we decided to make a quick pit-stop for some Mac'n'Cheese at the famous Beecher's (which was great by the way). We then strolled up to the Westlake Centre on Fifth Avenue where we caught the Seattle Monorail to the central station where the Space Needle is located. 

Now, I love to visit tourist attractions in every city that I visit. You know, The Eiffel Tower in Paris, Bucks Palace in London, La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona or the Royal Baths in Bath. But what I hate is queuing, and unfortunately I seemed to have bred that trait into my kids. So, much as we wanted to go up the Space Needle, we didn't want to wait for two and a half hours for the next available slot, or pay the extra $$$ for the immediate hit! Not to worry, it was still pretty a pretty spectacular piece of architecture from the ground below.

The Space Needle

The Space Needle from below - excuse the sun glaring to the right!

Unfortunately, we did not get to visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit (would you with 4 boys in tow? No I thought not), but I did mange to take a pic over the hedge!

Chihuly Flowers

Then a return trip on the monorail and a short walk to the waterfront so that we could ride the Seattle Great Wheel which was good fun. Thankfully it was a beautifully clear day (unlike my one and only time on the London Eye) and we were able to experience the fantastic views across the water and also over towards the iconic Mount Rainier.

The Seattle Great Wheel

'Gateway to Alaska', 'Rain City' or even 'Jet City', whatever nickname you give the 14th largest metropolitan area in the U.S.A, its a pretty cool place to visit. I just wish it hadn't taken us so many years to get here.

Leave a comment and tell me where your favourite city is in the world, and if it has an odd nickname ...