After leaving the Norwegian Sun, with a heavy heart, in Vancouver, we take a taxi to Pacific Central Station. From there, a Greyhound bus takes us on an almost 6-hour drive to Seattle. Since in movies Greyhound buses happily represent freedom and a new start, I have always wanted to drive on one. We don’t regret it either. The bus drove punctually and the bus driver gave a trustworthy impression. The seats are comfortable with enough legroom. There were also no problems at the border crossing to the USA. The bus goes to its own terminal and once all passengers are seated again, it drives on. Baggage restrictions are similar to those on a plane. Per person, a suitcase with max. 23 kg and hand luggage, of which the amount and weight did not matter. We paid $17 per person.
Once we arrive in Seattle, we check into our Hotel, close to Seattle’s Center and the Space Needle. Then off to the Cheesecake Factory; USA we are back! 🙂
The next morning, we head to Pike Place Market from our Hotel. We walk the round 2km by foot. We decided against a rental car as the city can easily be explored by foot. On top of that, there are good connections with public transport and parking is very expensive.
Pike Place Market is an absolute must on a visit to Seattle. On several floors and entangled paths are countless stands and shops, that offer not only groceries but also very unusual items. It’s just fun to stroll around there and always discover a new business. Around Pike Place Market are other shops, including a souvenir shop where you can buy Grey’s Anatomy surgical clothing. 🙂
Directly opposite stands the first Starbucks Coffee shop in the world. We are looking forward to expanding our cup collection.
From Pike Place Market you can already see the waterfront, which is our next destination. Pike Place Market and the Waterfront are however separated by a rather ugly, heavily driven, two-story Alaskan Way, Viaduct. Later, on our tour, we learn that a tunnel is already being worked on to enhance the cityscape.
After we’ve fought our way to the water, several piers await us, with the Seattle Aquarium, the Ferris Wheel, restaurants and souvenir shops. Here you can stroll and you could also take a boat trip. But we’ve had had enough water recently. 😉
We continue to the ferry terminal and head back to Pioneer Square, the oldest neighborhood in Seattle. Here you will also find the oldest preserved building of the city, the Pioneer Building.
Here, for the first time, we notice the many homeless people who lie and sleep everywhere – literally everywhere. This continues at Occidental Park.
The small waterfall garden offers a nice change, with an artificial waterfall that is guarded by security.
We continue to Smith Tower, which brings its guests to the 35th floor in old elevators. Unfortunately, it is closed due to a private event.
So we head on to Columbia Center, the tallest building in the city. There, for $12, you can drive up to the 73rd floor to a viewing terrace.
The view is really great, even if, because of the dull weather, we cannot see to Mount Rainer.
We stay there till the sun goes down, for a “Seattle by Night” photo.
For Day 2, the Seattle Center with its Space Needle is on the agenda. On the former Expo grounds, many museums and several arenas for events can now be found. Since we had the best view from Columbia Center the day before – especially on the Space Needle (!) – we save the cost of the ride. If you want to visit more than one museum and the Space Needle, a day pass is more worthwhile as the entrance costs around $ 20 per person.
As we exit the park area, we find that Seattle has better succeeded in using the old Expo grounds as Vancouver. For a while we watch the International Fountains, a huge fountain with music.
From Seattle Center it is possible to take the Monorail downtown. We, however, continue by foot. Nearby is the headquarters of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The visitor center is very interesting and we, unexpectedly, spend a lot of time there.
Then we continue on to Lake Union; a blue oasis. On an 11 km long circular route, you can explore the river outcrop by foot or bicycle. There is a water airport, a wooden boat center, restaurants and a houseboat settlement. Lake Union can be reached by the Lake Union Streetcar from downtown.
The next day, on the way to Chinatown, we discover the Italian sandwich shop, Salumi. The queuing is worth it. Chinatown, on the other hand, not so much, right down the Uwajimaya supermarket, there is Chinese groceries and a food court.
In front of the Kobe Terrace Park is a policeman, who almost begs us not to go to the park. We should have a look at the Bruce Lee Museum instead. 🙂 Of course, we go through anyway. But the little park is not a must, and the view is also not worth the climb.
We head back toward the city and take a look at the Seattle Public Library. This is really beautifully designed and completely safe. 😉
An absolute must, is a visit to the Boeing works, a bit out of town. On our last day we get a rental car and drive to Mukilteo. There is the Future of Flight Aviation Center with a small exhibition. The Boeing tour we booked in advance over the Internet, which is recommended and a bit cheaper. In 1.5 hours we are driven, by busses over the Boeing area, can actually glance into the production halls and have a look at the production of the 747, 777 and 787. Very impressive! In addition, the guides provide you with a lot of information. If it’s not Boeing, I’m not going! 😉 Sorry, photo apparatus are unfortunately not allowed on the tour.
Conclusion: Seattle is easy to explore in 2 full days; best with public transport. For $2.25 you can buy a 2-hour ticket directly from the driver. From the city center, the Monorail leads to Seattle Center. The Pike Public Market, the Waterfront and the Seattle Center with the Space Needle are the highlights. Perhaps a ferry ride over the Puget Sound would be nice, that way you can connect the boat trip with a view of Seattle’s skyline. I did find the high number of homeless people somewhat strange, whom one sometimes has to climb over and who make their beds all over the parks and on the sidewalks.
Here’s our Seattle mug; bought from the first Starbucks Coffee shop of the world:
Excursion car rental / one-way rental: In Seattle we start our Road trip to Las Vegas. We will drive through several federal states and each vendor will charge a one-way rental if the car is hired in Washington and handed over in Nevada. We have found a one-way rental solution: Alamo calculates no surcharges for trips between Washington and California and trips between California and Nevada. So we book two rental cars. From Seattle to San Francisco and from San Francisco to Las Vegas.
The next destinations on our trip are: Olympic National Park, Portland, San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Death Valley, Mammoth Lakes and Las Vegas.
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