We arrived in Seattle feeling somewhat washed out after starting the day early Wednesday morning and finally arriving some 30 hours later. The city of Seattle is reminiscent of Melbourne – tree lined streets and vibrant – but you can’t get a good coffee for love nor money! Neither of us can rationalise that we are standing in the city of Seattle, home of Nirvana, Frasier and Grey’s Anatomy. Actually, we still cannot believe that we are in the US of A!

A quick fact about Seattle – the old part of the city was rebuilt several metres higher in the late 1890s after a fire tore through the city, razing Seattle across 25 blocks. After the fire which destroyed mostly wooden buildings in the heart of Seattle, all new construction must be of stone or brick masonry. The old city was marginally higher than sea level, so a decent rainfall and high tide, sewage would flow back into houses and into the streets.

Regardless, building owners were eager to capitalize on an economic boom, quickly rebuilt on the old, low, muddy ground where they had been before, unmindful of the fact that their first floor display windows and lobbies soon would become basements because the city also decided to raise the ground level from which its original streets lay. The city was rebuilt using retaining walls, 3 metres or higher, on either side of the old streets. They then filled in the space between the walls, and paved over the fill to effectively raise the streets, making the street one storey higher than the old footpaths that still ran alongside them. You can actually tour the underground city of Seattle – it was very interesting and an amazing feat of engineering for its time.

The streets of downtown Seattle are not as congested as any of our major cities, probably due to how well this city has been planned – wide multi-lane one way streets which criss cross across the city centre.  And San Francisco is not the only city with killer hills – Seattle has its fair share.  Every street from the waterfront climbs several blocks.  Even mountain goats need a rest along the way!

Seattle has a lot to offer – good food, lovely accommodating people and beautiful surrounds.  After completing the must see visits to the Space Needle, Pioneer Square, the waterfront and Pike Place Market (where the fishos throw Salmon over the counters at each other like they are small trout), we ventured to the Boeing factory for some plane spotting.  Here we saw the production facility in full swing – 2 completed and 2 partially completed 747s, at least 5 737s and 5 new 787 Dreamliners (including Qantas’ first delivery, complete with the red tail).  All this under the one roof.  The facility will house 12 eiffel towers (laying down) and each hangar door is the size of one football field. 

And sometimes you just see the most extraordinary street side dining options – this sure beats the Dolly’s van in Phillip at midnight…

And this is where it all began in the 1970s, bayside Seattle…the great curse to all coffee drinkers worldwide.  The original Starbucks ‘cawfee’ store and people were lined up to buy their coffee, all the time entertained by a jazz band.

So, Seattle is definitely a place to include on the visit list.  It has a good look and feel about it, especially Pike Place market and is a laid back kind of place.  A very pleasant city to sit back and absorb.

And here are a few additional photos of our time in Seattle…
The above park which is adjacent to the Seattle Space Needle..
…a view from the Smith Building downtown to the Space needle in the background…

…Seattle from the Space Needle…
…and the Pike Place Markets…

…and finally the Boeing factory.
Frasier has left the building!



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