The train ride from Vancouver to Seattle is almost cheesy and romantic: we take the train called Amtrack and go from central station to central station. On the way you glide along the coast, overlooking the ocean, many waving people standing on the beach welcome you in the U.S. and the sun sets golden in the sea.
This romantic spectacel is interrupted only by heavily armed US border inspectors. They run through the train and collect the entry documents. As you pass the international border between Canada and the United States of America, the baggage is scanned before and at all similar to a regular check-in for a flight.
In Seattle we arrive late at night and opt for the fastest but also the most expensive way into our airbnb property: a taxi. A friendly afro-american guy speaks to us, he is in good spirits and drive us – in his short-sleeved jacket – through the night. He drives very fast and hangs on the phone speaking a language we don’t understand at all. He doesn’t know the place we want to go, has no navigation system – or doesn’t want to use it – and is piloted by someone over the phone through the city. A little bit skeptical we at the end we arrive at the the predicted rate.
The anticipation of a cozy bed is short-lived, because the airbnb apartment is a disaster: too many and partly crazy people live in a dirty state and we decide after a few seconds definitly not to stay here. So this is it: the first letdown with airbnb, after many years of good experiences. But we don’t lose our humor! The host luckily is very understanding and even take us for a 35 minute ride to our spontaneously booked hotel. His car has a technical problem and is littered – as his apartment. Since it is a convertible, it is freezing cold and the host runs a breakneck speed on the curvy freeway – we are nevertheless happy that he drives us and even happier that we survived 🙂 Little gag in the hotel room: the craftsman who has installed the only lamp on the ceiling, is a really funny guy:
On our single day in Seattle (nearly 700.000 inhabitants), the sun shines and we look forward to the explore the city! For a general overview, the Sky View Observatory is worth to go up. You can find the building in downtown. The viewpoint is three times as high as the Space Needle and reportedly the highest in the American West Coast.
What do Bill Gates, Starbucks and Jimmy Hendrix have in common?
Correct: They were all born in Seattle! We learn that the city has raised more famous sons: in addition to Bill Gates and Jimmy Hendrix also the great Bruce Lee is from Seattle. During the day we notice that this culture is lived by the people: an afro-american guy with open shirt, cool pose and the typical Hendrix-haircut spreads the coolness of his model. In a park a sport enthusiastic youngster jumps many times from a chair into the air to imitate a Bruce Lee-move – of course shooting the perfect holiday picture! And Bill Gates reportedly lives in a huge house in Bellevue, on the other side of Lake Washington, as we have learned from the taxi driver.
In Seattle you can smell great American economic history. Global corporations like Amazon (founded in 1994), Microsoft (1975), Boeing (1916), Expedia (1996) or even Starbucks (1971) were founded here on the Northwest Coast of America. Big business!
By the way: in the tower of the Sky View Observatory is the supposedly highest Starbucks in the world.
Kari and Dianne from Canada have told us the following interesting anecdote: the first Starbucks has over-roasted the cheap coffee beans, because they didn’t have enough money to buy high quality coffee beans. The goal was to create a better coffee flavor. After the first savings have been accumulated by Starbucks, they bought high quality coffee beans, which surprisingly caused a customer revolt. The customers wanted the “old flavour” back. Starbucks moved back to the over-roasted beans – and the rest of the story is a global success story with more than 21.000 stores worldwide!
We walk to the very first coffee house (we are not Starbuck fans at all – that should be mentioned!) located close to the Pike Place Market. This store still adorns the old logo, which was well developed and defused due to the internationalization (no more boobs and so on …).
At the Pike Place Market you get freshly caught fish, cheap souvenirs or quality craftsmanship: everything your heart desires. At the beginning of the market, there is a famous fish stand. The boys working there make a well-attended show by shouting repeatedly through the area when they get a tip – or they throw fish through the air, catching it the cool way. Generally at Pike Place Market there is a great bustle and many artists (or those who want to become it) use the opportunity to sing between all the visitors to make music or perform other feats. A particularly original owl leaning casually against a lantern, makes walking by girls generous compliments to her butt, holding a sign with the inscription: “Ass watching is a sport”. O.K., everyone should do what he can!
We stroll through the market, try here and there delicacies and see an inscription with the supposedly “world famous meatloaf sandwich”, which is served in the over 100 years old Three Girls Bakery. In our opinion the sandwich is nothing particular, it should not be on a list called “Top Ten Must Eat Before You Die“. The young Transvestite (one of the “three girls” behind the counter) in high heels, fishnet tights and green skirt was amusing and so our visit was still funny.
Along the waterfront we overlook the Pacific and reach north to the Sculpture Park, where we relax for a moment. A very nice food truck employee offers us a free “fried bread” just because we have never eaten one! It tastes good – for free even better – and we talk to him about this and that. Later that evening, we read in a newspaper that a food truck in Seattle financially hardly worthwhile because the expenditures are simply too high. In this article, you can find more information about it.
In Pioneer Square district we have a beer and watch the people on the 1th Avenue. In this street we spot by chance a remarkable number of German stores, bars or pubs. Probably some German immigrants have settled and started their business right here.
Generally we notice during the day that there are a lot of homeless people on the streets of Seattle.
Simone also noted the bad guys with colorful badges in their clothing – probably belonging to the criminal and extremely violent „Mara Salvatrucha“ organization. Here you can learn a lot of interesting information about it!
After one day our Seattle adventure is over. For a general overview of the city it was enough, but Seattle surely has some hidden spots to offer!
The next day we get our second rental car on our North American road trip and Tobias can’t resist to get a $ 70 (instead of $ 130) upgrade, which in Yellowstone National Park should still prove useful: we grab a Jeep Grand Cherokee, a real “American car”. After our Ford Fiesta in Canada it is a lot more fun to drive on the highways!
Next time we tell you about bisons, geysers and our coldest night in a log cabin!