We left Vancouver at 3:30pm and were in Seattle by 8pm having successfully traversed the border. Doug drove us down as him and Bec joined us in Seattle before we say farewell on Sunday, they head back to Vancouver and we proceed southwards. We made a beeline straight for the baseball as we had tickets for Seattle Mariners versus the Texas Rangers. We got there 3 innings in and the Mariners 2 runs down. It was college night and clearly a little rowdy. For dinner I had a mariners hotdog, Doug a pulled pork burger and Kirsty shared a ‘hat’ of nachos with Bec (see gallery). It was a good game for a baseball novice to watch with the Mariners coming good to win 6-3 and plenty of action. It was beard-hat night for college night with the first 2,000 fans into the game given a ‘beard-hat’, essentially a balaclava missing the central face portion. There’s a promotion every night at the baseball. Unfortunately we were too late for beard-hats but did come away with the nacho ‘baseball hat’ bowl as a souvenir.
An evening of baseball and sports themed food. A baseball helmet filled with Nachos and every topping known to man, of course.
Watching Seattle Mariners play the Texas Ranger at SafeCo Field
Post-match we drove to our hotel for the weekend, the Sheraton (a little taste of luxury before the hosteling and couch surfing begins), and settled in for the night. Waking up in our luxurious hotel room on the second day it was hard to get up but we did in need of a feed. We made our way down to the Pike Place Markets, just a short walk from the Sheraton. It’s a kind of everything market with food, flowers, nik-naks and souvenirs. Before we went in we took a look at the ‘Gum Wall’, essentially a wall in an alleyway that has thousands of chewing gum pieces stuck to it (post-chew I might add). Quite strange and not sure how exactly this started but interesting to see nonetheless. Quite the tourist attraction too, judging by the crowds. It has been going since 1993 and since 1999 it was deemed a tourist attraction and the gum would not be cleaned off by Theatre staff that it backed on to. Pike Place Market is also home to the very first Starbucks, not such the attraction for us but a curiosity to see everyone lining up to get a coffee from this place. Our breakfast/brunch place was the Boat Street Cafe and we all had superb food choices. I think I won though with my steak sandwich, cooked rare and served in a baguette with horseradish. Delicious. With full bellies we then made for the EMP Museum (music, sci-fi and pop-culture) which is near to the base of the Space Needle. This is an excellent museum and a variety of exhibits. We took in the Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix exhibitions, a gallery featuring Lego structure of famous landmarks, a fantasy room complete with a throne from Game of Thrones (Bec lost her mind at this) and Bowie’s outfit from Labyrinth (Kirsty’s favourite), a horror film room with props and director commentary on classic horror films and a sci-fi room. This is the kind of place you wish could be in your home city so you get to go back and explore some more.
Posing outside the famous Pike Place Market
The famous Gum Wall around the corner from Pike Place Market
It was now about 4pm and the brunch had worn off so lunch was the next activity and the venue was the 5 Point Cafe. Cafe is a loose term for basically a bar with a kitchen. A couple of local brews and some fried food was on the menu. I had a ‘just like mom used to make’ meatloaf and Kirsty had some steak bites with fries. All that for under $50, great value and we left there fully stuffed, or at least I was having finished off two other plates.
Lunching with Bec and Doug in 5 Point Cafe, what to have?
A local sport at the 5 Point Cafe. Throwing your bra onto a giant moosehead. There were no games when we were there…
Heading back to the hotel we picked up a 6-pack from a drug store (odd, I know) and had a rest before getting back out there in the rain. We attempted to get to a burlesque show but were too late for a table so went to a bar instead (the Clever Bottle) for some cocktails and self-induced trivia. After that we went back to the burlesque, decided against it as we were sitting in the service area, so went back to another bar, the Bathtub Gin for more cocktails and chats. A great night, our final one with Bec and Doug on the scene.
The EMP Museum and Space Needle
Having a couple of cocktails at the Clever Bottle in Belltown
Our third day began slowly after getting to bed late the previous night. When we did get going, after checking out of the hotel we drove to Fremont for the market, some wondering around, eating samples, coffee and eventually some lunch of mac ’n’ cheese and pulled pork served out of a giant metal pig on wheels. Before we said goodbye to Bec and Doug we hit up a coffee and doughnut shop in Captiol Hill – Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnut. The doughnuts were delicious and just a short hop from there to our next accommodation, booked through AirBnB. This was where Bec and Doug left us for the next chapter of our journey through the Americas. It was sad to say goodbye having had such a great time with them in Vancouver and then Seattle.
Tulips at the Pike Place Market
Lunching out of a giant metal pig at Fremont Market. Mac ‘n’ cheese, pulled port and slaw on the menu
The last full day in Seattle. We headed back to the Pike Place Market drawn by the promise of samples to much on and tasty snacks. We were not disappointed. Amongst the many vendors there we sampled some ‘World’s Best’ mac ’n’ cheese from Beechers which was actually the best I have tasted, a maple bacon apple cider (yes, that’s right), some pickles made in the old fashioned way of lactic acid fermentation (not vinegar), a gluten free choc chip cookie and a cioppino fish stew from Jack’s Fish Spot. All delicious. With a full belly we then walked South to go to the Pinball Museum. Not so much a museum but a two-storey shopfront with about 30 pinball machines all set to free-play. With a $13 entry fee we could play them all and as often as we like. They had machines from the 50’s all the way through to present day. My favourite was a Terminator 2 machine, I think Kirsty got on with the Lord of the Rings machine.
A pinball wizard on T2 at the Pinball Museum
Kirsty mastering King Tut at the Pinball Museum
Assessing our options for a drink and dinner we strolled back North towards Belltown, where we out with Bec and Doug one evening and a neighbourhood with strips of bars. On the way we stopped off at a happy hour to rest our pins (Dillers Bar) and continued on until we go to the Rabbit Hole. Another bar with happy hour on drinks and food was all we needed and this is what we got. Dinner consisted of nachos, chicken wings and fries. Not the healthiest and we are both agreed that this will not be a common occurrence on our trip. The barman was friendly and there were some locals happy to chat so we had fun there. Kirsty played some Skeeball with a lady named Vi after she was telling us about the cartels controlling the lime markets making the price of margaritas rise. Standard bar stuff. We were also told, as by our host Katrina, to head to Kerry Park for sunset and a view over Seattle. Having arrived by land we hadn’t really seen the lay out so we ventured further North to this little strip of park to get a view. On the way we had to assist an octogenarian who had fallen over crossing the road. Quite alarming but all appeared to be okay when we left him with the fire brigade, apparently they deal with emergency call-outs here, even medical ones. Once we got to Kerry Park we were rewarded with a magnificent view of Seattle and I took many photos. In all we walked over 20km today and as I write this the next morning we are definitely feeling it. I think this is the third hilliest city in America and we now know it! Today we head to Portland by train, travelling in style on board the Cascades Train 507 leaving at 2pm and arriving into Portland Union Station at around 6pm.
Brunching at the Boat Street Cafe with Bec and Doug
Seattle and the Space Needle at night from Kerry Park