Days 7 & 8: Seattle
Monday, March 24, 2008
The last two days of vacation were a serious blur of activity - the weather in Seattle (excepting a rainy patch early on Sunday) was gorgeous with lots of sunshine to dry up the hills and sidewalks. After the best breakfast i've ever had in my life (seriously), we wandered around Pikes Place Market and took their guided walking tour. It was led by a lovely woman named Joan who has lived in Seattle since the mid-50's, and boy did she know her stuff. We got a bunch of fantastic tidbits of information that I was unable to find on the public placards hanging around the place. Also, a wall of gum of which I am simultaneously in awe and frightened by. It mostly just made me desperately want to wash my hands.

Then it was off to the other side of town for a cheesy, touristy must - The Ducks of Seattle. Our tour guide was part clown, part comedian, part historian - this is something I would DEFINITELY recommend to anyone as a primer of Seattle geography, history, and it's also fun. As long as you don't mind everyone else on the road staring at your party as you drive by, that is.

Dinner at P.F. Chang's (not at all native to Seattle, but OH so good), then drinks at our hotel...suddenly it was Sunday and we felt the time ticking away in the most acute sense.

The Easter holiday left the city a bit anemic as far as breakfast options go, so we grabbed what we could at Starbucks and headed across Pioneer Square to take the Underground Tour. Here's the short story on this tour - after Seattle burned to the ground in 1889, they rebuilt as quickly as possible and were up and running *mostly* by 1907-1910. Then they realized they had a serious sewage problem, along with some water table issues, and apparently the powers-that-be felt the best solution would be to raise the streets. This created an underground system of tunnels, doors, streets, and pathways that are now technically condemned, but this quirky company runs tours down there. You can walk around and see where underground Seattle used to work and live - even some of the furniture and wallpaper is remaining in the one speakeasy/tavern area, which I personally found interesting. This tour is also something I would recommend to anyone looking for a different way to experience Seattle.

Then we wandered around some more, had some lunch, and hit up the Seattle Aquarium. It is relatively new, and pretty approachable size-wise. My favorite part were the otters - so comical, and even though I know they can be aggressive, territorial, and have a tendency to bite, I still want to hug them and keep one as a pet. A very wet, stinky pet, I suppose.

After the aquarium, what else would a couple of folks who bore easily do? ANOTHER TOUR, OF COURSE. This time, we hit up the high seas (again, much to my initial stress) for a cruise through the locks between Lake Union and Puget Sound. It was all fine and dandy until we hit the bulk of the sound, and the wind and whitecaps were far more fierce than anyone had expected. Nausea: Round 2. DING DING. *gag* I was really angry this time around (no dramamine) because the trip had started smoothly - no motion sickness, nothing. We were on a book FAR larger than our whale watching outing, and yet, we listed and rocked away like an oversized canoe.

What can I say? The ocean and I just don't get along. Memo to my stomach: I'll stick to lakes from now on, okay? I promise.

I never actually got sick, but it was still miserable. Hrmph. After disembarking (and two ginger ales), we grabbed some dinner and headed to the airport for our redeye back to Chicago. Despite the grouchy man seated to my right (Sean was on my left, on the aisle) who lulled himself to sleep by releasing stenchful, hot, disgusting farts, the flight wasn't bad at all.

We landed at 4:45am this morning, and I've been awake ever since. I'm going to do my best to put my photos onto Flickr tonight - there are some truly beautiful shots that I think you'd all find interesting. Until then, I'll be here at home, recovering with my head in the sand, and my laundry in the dryer.