(Puyallup, WA) Hi 84 Lo 56 – It was a perfect day to drive to Seattle to check out one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S. Of all the recommendations we’ve received from friends about what to do in Seattle, the top three were: Go up in the Space Needle, visit Pike Place Market, and take a ferry ride across Puget Sound. Today we did two of them, sort of… instead of a ferry ride we booked a one-hour harbor tour with Argosy Cruises. We set out plenty early to be sure we got to the Seattle waterfront in plenty of time for our 11am cruise. We found a parking garage offering “early bird” rates, only $9 for all day. We were planning to spend at least $20 to park, so that was a nice surprise. The pier our cruise left from was about three blocks from Pike Place Market, and our parking garage was right between them. We walked along the waterfront for an hour or so until it was time for our cruise to depart. (Be sure to click on the photos to enlarge them.)
Our boat is the one on the left.
The boat wasn’t full, so there was plenty of seats available on the top deck. When we left the dock we were treated to some spectacular views of downtown Seattle.
The Seattle “Big Wheel” is right on the waterfront. The Space Needle is in the background.
The Space Needle is the most unique landmark on the Seattle skyline. We plan to visit it before we leave this area.
One of the famous Seattle ferries.
CenturyLink Field, home of the (ahem) World Champion Seattle Seahawks is on the left, and on the right is Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners. I’m hoping to attend a Mariners game next week.
We had a beautiful view of Mt. Ranier off to the south. Photos just don’t give a good indication of how huge it looks. The narrator on our cruise said the mountain is visible only about 90 days per year, so we feel very lucky to have this great weather while we’re here.
Some more views of beautiful Seattle.
We got an added sightseeing bonus today. As part of Seattle’s annual Seafair, there was a Parade of Ships. A U.S. Navy Amphibious Landing Craft and two destroyers arrived and made a close pass along the waterfront.
There was also a few flyovers, including these two Osprey aircraft. They’re the ones that can take off vertically.
One of the Blue Angels also flew over on a practice run for their show this weekend, but it happened too quick to get a photo.
After the parade, one of the destroyers docked nearby.
After our cruise we had lunch at Red Robin restaurant next door to the cruise dock. Then we walked three blocks to the world famous Pike Place Market. On the way we saw this attractive sculpture of a whale, carved out of a tree trunk.
Pike Place Market covers about three blocks, with the produce and seafood markets on the top floor, and two floors below with every kind of shop you can think of. The good weather really brought out the crowds, as it was elbow-to-elbow everywhere we went.
One of the seafood dealers in the market is known for fish tossing. When someone orders a fish, all the workers go through a chanting routine and toss the fish across the room before bagging it. They are really good at catching a large, slippery fish flying through the air, and it’s very entertaining to watch.
We ordered some rock fish and salmon. The guy who wrapped it for us had a weird sense of humor.
He said that will help us tell them apart. There were some baker stands, including this one that sold HUGE donuts. These things were the size of a dinner plate!
Another feature of the Market that, for some reason is very popular, is the “Gum Wall.” On the bottom floor, just outside one of the rear entrances in an alley, is a long wall that’s covered with discarded chewing gum. It’s the wall on the left in this photo.
Just in case you didn’t “click to enlarge,” here’s a couple of close ups.
Yeah, I know… gross!
We finished up our wonderful day just in time to head back south on I-5 during the afternoon rush hour. Which seems right, since we made the trip this morning during the morning rush hour. So it took us about an hour and a half each way, when it normally takes about 45 minutes with no traffic. But that’s OK, we expect that during the week in a big city.
It was another perfect day of sightseeing. Seattle really is one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S., if not the world. It reminds us a little of San Francisco with the hills and stopping at top and bottom, except for all the surrounding mountains.
Tomorrow we plan to get a closer look at Mt. Ranier. See you then.