Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Locks and Lookouts Tour.

As part of our combo Emerald City Tour we had a three hour trip to the north of Seattle to see the lochs, salmon ladder, and the lookouts.

We left Seattle Centre and headed passed the houseboat seen in the movie "Sleepless in Seattle" to Gas Works Park. We travelled through some of the older districts in Seattle. We followed Lake Union waterfront to Gas Works Park.

Gas Works Park was derelict and locals fought for it to be made into a public park. Parts of the works are fenced off and visible, while other parts have been cleaned, painted and are on display in a covered she'd.

From here we headed to Fremont, which has a lot of public art. There are cafés,  museums, shops and a lot of family owned businesses that have operated for many years.
One of the famous art works is the Freemont Troll hiding under the Aurora Bridge.
From there we went to the Ballard Locks. Sadly,  it is not Salmon running time, but we were able to see the locks being used. This is where sections of "Deadly Catch" is filmed.

We spent about 40 minutes there and then drove around the waterfront to see if any "Deadly Catch" boats were there. They were not.

We then headed over to the bay to see the Cruise ships and the beaches and the marinas.

We stopped at a few lookouts,  the best being Kerry Park where we saw a wonderful skyline. We drove past many old homes that were absolutely beautiful.

Happy Travels
Petalli Travellers

Friday, 26 June 2015

Seattle's Waterfront

The waterfront was the starting point for many of the pioneers.  They came as loggers and gold diggers, and the accompanying services. Although some aspects remain the same,  some are very new.
 Another Seattle art work. 

We purchased a City Pass and our first attraction was the Argosy Cruise. This was a 60 minute cruise around the harbour.  It was well narrated and a comfortable cruise. Drinks and snacks were available for purchase.
The next attraction on the pass was the Aquarium.  We hadn't planned on going to the aquarium,  but had the time so we did. It was like any other aquarium, and we enjoyed our visit.

 Next to the Aquarium is a public park. It is a double wharf and has no shade,  and very little seating - but it is a public park.
Pike Place is where one can find the public market place and the salmon fish tossing. It was a busy market place with lots of fresh produce on street level. Downstairs is mostly gift shops. There are many eating places on both levels.

 One of the entertaining features of Pike Market Place is the fish throwing. It happens when the fish mongers feel like putting on a show.
One of the most disgusting places is located in Post Alley just below the main level of the market place. It is covered in thousands of pieces of gum. Really disgusting.

We love visiting new places.
P & A

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Downtown Seattle

We had a three day pass on the Seattle Hop On Hop Off bus which was great. We did the complete 2 hour trip and then started again.
Seattle has two stadiums, one for football - Century Link Field, for the Seattle Seahawks;  and Safeco Field for the Seattle baseball team, the Mariners.
Our 'homebase' pick up point was right beside the EMP. So each day we walked past and saw something different.  We loved the Sci-fi area.
 Seattle has a lot of statues and art works. These ones are next to Olympic Statue Park, on the waterfront and where the railway leaves downtown Seattle.
 Seattle has shops that sell medicinal Marijuana and it is legal. We saw a number of people smoking 'something' from their backpacks like this.
 Some more art on the waterfront near Pike Market Place.
 King's Street Station has been renovated and we wanted to see it before 'rushing through' on our way to Vancouver.
 Absolutely beautiful. 
 There are a lot of information signs around downtown Seattle.
 Pioneer Square is the oldest part of Seattle and was established in 1852 It is considered the birthplace of Seattle. It was built on tidal flats, and would flood in heavy rain. The logging industry was established and the location was perfect for sending timber down to California. Almost every building in early Seattle was made of timber, and due to the frequent flooding, a lot of buildings were built on wooden stilts, even the early plumbing pipes were made of hollowed out timber – all highly combustible. The Great Fire of Seattle in 1889 destroyed most of the early city.

The fire was, as we were told, started on 6 June, 1889 in a cabinet making shop near Front St (now First Avenue) and Madison Avenue by a worker heating glue over a fire. The glue boiled over and caught fire. Although the fire brigade arrived promptly, the fire had spread quickly through the wooden building full of wooden carpentry to the Liquor store full of imported whiskey, up to the hardware shop full of paint and paint thinners. The water pipes were small and made of timber, so burned quickly leaving the fire brigade with no water. The fire destroyed most of downtown, and burned all night, but not a soul died in that fire. The fire burned 25 city blocks. The only casualty was after the fire in the cleanup – a young boy. Due to the devastation of this great fire, it was decided that the roads would be raised 22 feet, a full story higher than they were, so retaining walls were build either side of the roads. This left the opening of buildings one floor higher, and customers had to use ladders to get from the road to the buildings, until the area between them was filled with dirt and cemented over. The floors below were left abandoned and that is where the underground tours operate now.

 We didn't like the area. Being historical,  we were expecting more information signs. It seems the main way of getting information is doing an underground tour. We felt uncomfortable with the high number of homeless people begging. There was a high police present and as each officer arrived, the beggars disappeared.
 Not far from Pioneer Square is Occidental Park and it is dedicated to firemen. There were also a lot of homeless people hanging around.

Happy Travels
Petalli Travellers.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Bluest Skies You've Ever Seen in Seattle


The bluest skies you've ever seen in Seattle
And the hills the greenest green in Seattle
Like a beautiful child growing up free and wild
Full of hopes and full of fears
Full of laughter full of tears
Full of dreams to last the years in Seattle
In Seattle.... in Seattle. .

As a teenager I would rush home from Girl Guides on Tuesday night to watch ‘Here Come the Brides’ with Bobby Sherman and David Soul. The show was about the early pioneering days of the Seattle area, and the majority of the early settlers were male, so ‘bride’ ships came up the west coast with potential brides to, hopefully, be courted and married to the timber getters and families would be established in the Seattle area. I don’t know how true this is, but the TV show was great. Anyway, as a teenager, I wanted to go to Seattle.

Fast forward many years, and along came a bar called ‘Cheers’ – where everybody knows your name! Well, this bar was in Boston – our last trip – and NOBODY knew our names!! A regular at ‘Cheers’ was Frasier. He moved to SEATTLE, and again my interest in going to Seattle was sparked – but this time it was the modern Seattle, and the Space Needle. So, no Cafe Nervosa, no Elliot Towers, but Frasier WAS here!! He had a view of the Space Needle from his apartment and we have a view from the front door of our room.

Seattle Travelodge
We chose this 3 star hotel mainly because the package we chose included a shuttle service to and from the Cruise Terminal and it was close to the Space Needle and that is where all our tours were leaving from. It had free WiFi and free hot breakfast. It is only 2 blocks from the Space Needle, the EMP Museum, Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum, and the Pacific Science Center. We were disappointed that they had no knowledge of the complimentary shuttle, even after we showed them their Web page with the package. We ended paying an extra $25 each way.

The rooms are small, but clean, with a flat screen TV. We only need somewhere to sleep, so the room being compact didn’t really worry us. The beds were very high,  and our room included a fridge and a microwave.

We decided on the Seattle Hop On Hop Off 3 day pass with an addition tour to the lookouts and lochs. It was great. The tour guides were informative and funny.

Science Centre and Chihuly Gardens
Inside the Armory there were many different eating places. We ate there once. Very good.
The Experience Music Project (EMP) is a strange looking building.  It is supposed to look like broken guitars - inspired by the many broken guitars by Jimmy Hendrix. It is right beside a children's playground that is so interesting and full of kids of all ages.
Another view of the EMP. This is where we caught the bus each day.
Across the road from the EMP.
The EMP has a restaurant called POP. We ate there once.

The EMP from the top of the Space Needle - I don't think it looks like smashed guitars.

Although the EMP was started as a music project,  it is now a museum of pop culture.
Science Fiction
We purchased a City Pass, which included entry to the EMP, Science Centre, Two visits to the Space Needle, and The Aquarium. It also included a 60 minute Argosy cruise. This is the view from the Space Needle at night.

Anyway, Northern Exposure and Twin Peaks were filmed here in Seattle, and many movies including ‘Ten Things I Hate About You;’ and my favourite ‘Sleepless in Seattle.’

More sightseeing in Seattle later

P & A

Let's start at the very beginning .....

Research has shown that holidays not only relieve the stress of everyday life, holidays are also good for our health and well being. 

Being time poor last September when we started to book this holiday, we chose a travel agent to do some of the booking. Airfares were the first to be booked.  We usually like to fly Qantas,  but the specials being offered by Air New Zealand,  were to good to miss.
The problem however, was the additional amount of travelling time - 22 hours 55 minutes!!!

Brisbane Airport
Arrived on time, thanks Dal. Checked in, went through immigration - all without a problem.  Peter found a coffee, we waited 90 minutes for our flight.

Three hours and five minutes later, one movie (Still Alice), and one new episode of Stalker later we are in New Zealand.

Auckland Airport
Walked around a little, found a seat with a view of the planes and waited one hour and forty minutes for the next flight. This next leg was the longest one, twelve hours and fifteen minutes. I saw (The Theory of Everything,  The Book Thief, and another one I can't recall at present. I also watched another 3 episodes of Stalker. I did sleep a little.

LA Airport
We went through Customs and immigration and walked down to the next terminal for the next and last flight of the day. We waited three hours for this flight.  The flight was on a much smaller plane and both Jon and I had a sleep of sorts. The view of the mountains as we flew further north was amazing.

Seattle Airport
Arrived at 5.55pm and headed down to find the shuttle bus. It was a clear evening and we could see Mt Rainier very clearly. 

Seattle Airport is very organised and interesting. Seattle being the 'aeroplane' capital of the world.

As part of my research for Seattle transfers I thought I would share with you here.
Downtown Seattle is about 30 minutes drive from Seattle-Tacoma – Sea-Tac – international airport. One can catch the rail link, shuttle express, taxi, or bus. There is a touch screen to access ‘ground transportation’ near the baggage claim. 

The light rail link wouldn’t take us close to our hotel, as we were staying near the Space Needle. Fares were reasonable at less than $3 from airport to downtown.

Taxi’s cost about $45-$50 from Sea-Tac to downtown, but some add extra charges for extra passengers, bags, collecting from airport, and of course ‘waiting’ time. One will need to check all aspects of the fare component. Trip could cost as much as $80 if traffic is heavy. One cab company does have a flat rate of $50 for downtown hotels. 

Town Car’s are a flat rate, about $45-50 and will meet you at the airport doors. This saves you from walking up over the skybridge to the pick-up point in the garage. 

Shuttle Express http://shuttleexpress.com/  have a 24 hour service that runs from Sea-Tac to downtown. Fares are $19 per person and leaves hourly. This is what we decided to do. However, once at the airport we couldn't find where their pickup was, so ended up getting a town car for $50.

There are also public buses, but we didn’t look into that, as after a 22 hour plus flight from Australia, we just wanted to get to the hotel as quick as we could. 

One good thing about the long flight was we arrived in the right time zone and we are ready for bed.

Happy Travels
A P & J