The hassles started as soon as we reached the Sea Tac airport. We reached at 9:00 in the night, after waiting few minutes we got the shuttle bus to the car rental office. The car was booked prior to our journey. So, we thought that, we would get the car very soon. The queue was huge, and only two persons were at the customer service desk. We had been waiting almost an hour when my husband realized that, there should be different queue for those, who already booked their cars, and he was right. He asked me to find out, and when I went downstairs, and I found he was true. Anyway, when we got our car it was 10:30 at night, and our stomachs were rumbling. However, as soon as we started our journey towards the hotel, we lost the road. The road we took ,led us to the car rental office again. We were very confused, and the GPS was also telling something beyond our understanding. Luckily , one person, who was working on the road, told us the route. It was high time to put something in our stomach.
Anyway, after having our dinner at Taco Bell , we hit the road to our destination, Holiday Inn in Bothell, a nearby city of Seattle. The freeway was almost empty and pitch dark except the big trucks were moving. Only thing we could understand that, the both sides of the road were covered with thick green. When we reached the hotel, hour hand of the clock already way past twelve. We hurriedly went to bed, as we must wake up early next morning.
Though we thought, we could start our journey next day before ten in the morning, but we unable to do that. Our plan was to take the underground tour, in downtown Seattle in the morning. When we reached there, we could only get 12:30 tour. We waited for almost half an hour before the tour started. Before starting the tour guide told us the brief but interesting history of Seattle.
Seattle was built in 1850s on the top of landfill. The high tide ,and frequent rain storms often flooded the city of Seattle. The land on the North was steep with elevation of 45 degree unlike today’s 18 degree.
Seattle’s economy grew with shipping of timbers to San Francisco , a city with booming economy, as gold was found on the West Coast. The Lumber mill was started by Henry Yesler at foot of the Mills Street, at the heart of the main city which is known as Pioneer Square. The city grew very fast , but the great fire on Pioneer Square which started at a painting shop gutted down total 19 blocks of the city. Fortunately no one died on the fire. The good thing was that the rat infested city got rid of all rats on that fire. As the city used to flooded frequently, the hydrants of the city was totally dependent on the high tide. However, on the day of fire, the fire department helplessly had to wait for two hours for the high tide, and two hours was more than enough to destroy city building, which were built with timbers.
As that was heart of the city, no businessman wanted to shift their business elsewhere. Instead of that, they decided to build the city again on the destroyed old city. So, the present city is exactly one story over the the old city. The sidewalks ware built exactly above the old sidewalks. While one the side walking we could see small glass were attached to there. Those are actually the skylights of the previous city.
What is called underground of the city is nothing but the previous city on which the present one was built. It was not excavated by any archeologists. It was well known to the people who leaved at that time.
The underground tour first started by Bill Spiedel. Bill Spidel was very much moved when he saw the old building had been pulling down by the city council to build new parking spaces in order to accommodate the growing car population . His protest was in vein. He wanted to do a signature campaign in order to restore the lost glory of Pioneer Square. Our guide told that, at the end of the underground tour, he forced to sign the people on his petition, before opening the door to go outside.
|A part of Pioneer Square|
Underground didn’t much more things was not there to see, as almost every thing was gutted down by the fire. We walk through the old streets (actually nothing but rubbles, and ruins). Still there is an ice chamber , how amazing that was, actually that was thick wooden cabinet. We saw a place which was actually a bank teller and a bank vault. And we also saw the ruins of the one of the first elevator created by Tesla (not Tesla motor).
When we came out from underground, it was way past our lunch time. My son was hungry, luckily I’ve some cakes in my backpack. Anyway, we started walking down the streets, where we were going I didn’t know, we were walking and walking according to my husband’s directions passing all the buildings old and modern. He only told us, that we were going to Space Needle. He was watching the map and telling us the direction and we kept walking and walking. My son was getting impatient. Suddenly he saw the Duck Tour bus, and he started begging for a trip, then he started badgering us, then he started throwing so much tantrums, that we had to find out a ticket selling booth of that very tour. After we bought ticket for the tour of the next day, he convinced a little that next day he would get chance to ride the duck tour bus. Then again we started walking towards the Space needle. In the middle of the road we suddenly saw that a big crowd, i couldn’t understand what was going on. Then I found out that was political rally. We were walking and walking , from distant we could see the space needle, but could reach it. Lastly my son and I really lost our patience. At last we could see the bottom of the Space Needle, then we took sigh of relief. At last we could reach the Space Needle. We could see the whole Seattle from the top of it. When we actually reached there, I really felt like banging my head on the wall after seeing the length of the queue. My husband asked us to wait nearby instead of waiting in the line with him. My son and I sat down nearby stairs watching the crowds going here and there.
|Chihuly Glass museum|
However, I got a chance to hear the rhythmic country music from Mexico. I was too exhausted to dance on the beat of the music, so I just sat down and listened to the musicians, who were playing some typical Mexican instruments which were unknown to me. After half an hour my husband came back with three tickets of 5:30. We had ample of time in our hand. So, before going to the observation deck of the 605 feet tall tower, we decided to take a walk around, and eat something, as we didn’t get time to have our lunch. When we were going to the Space Needle, we saw the Chihuly Glass museum just beside the Space Needle. I was very much keen to go inside the museum to see the glass sculptures of Chihuly who gave a different dimension and vibrancy to glass sculptor. My husband asked me to inside by myself, but I didn’t want to do that. After waiting a long time, at last we got chance to go to the observation deck of Space needle from where we could see the whole Seattle City. That was an amazing view. We could see clearly the Emerald bay, the first International sea-plane port. It was already almost dark, still the clear view of the city from the top point of the city was looking amazing. The streets, the buildings, the cars looked like small model of a city from the top. I was getting tired, and wanted to go back to the hotel. Then we took the monorail to back to Pioneer Square . There were other options to go back to Pioneer Square, but we already promised our son a monorail rise. Truly speaking that monorail journey was really memorable. It was an extremely short journey. Only within five minutes we reached pioneer square, which didn’t satisfied us at all. As the monorail traversed through the heart of the city, at three stories top of the road, we could see through the inside of buildings, where people were sitting on their desk at the office, or people were chatting and eating at the restaurants. After getting down again we started walking towards the garage where we parked our car. I was extremely tired to walk even a few steps. Anyway, when we reached hotel it was way past evening. We readily got freshen up and went for eating out. Fortunately there was one Irish Restaurant near our hotel, so we didn’t face any problem finding any place to eat. The food was really scrumptious. That was the first time I tasted Irish soda bread. It was so soft and so differently tasted , that I called the waiter and asked him what actually it was called.
Next day was our much awaited tour on ducks. My son was super excited since morning. Our scheduled tour was at 11:30. We reached the starting point way before the scheduled time. My son got his ducky whistle the day before the tour. He forgot to take it from the car. Suddenly he realized , compelled his dad to go back all the way to the parking garage to bring back his whistle. Anyway, the ducky truck started at right time according to the schedule. It was a 20 mile tour, started from historic Pioneer Square, through the quirky Fremont to the Seattle Waterfront, where we could see the beautiful floating homes. Before going on the tour we decided about the attractions of Seattle we wanted to see . However, Most of the things we could see during the tour. Those tour buses was actually the amphibious landing crafts developed by the US during World War II. They were called as DUCKS at that time. Crossing the downtown Seattle, which we saw the previous day, under the monorail, passing the Space needle, crossing the museum, keeping behind the Elephant carwash, over the Highway 99 bridge, through Fremont we ultimately reached the Seattle Waterfront. Unfortunately we couldn’t the Fremont troll, as it was not on the route. I just want to say, a little history of the Elephant car wash, which was the first ever automatic car wash. Many celebrities used to come there to wash their cars. Through Fremont we finally rolled over the deck to the waterfront. What a lovely sight!! All over the waterfronts there were floating homes. Some of the home were like house boats, and some were same as houses on land. From distant we could see the Fremont bridge, but unfortunately we couldn’t see the opening of the bridge. We surly missed that. Among the floating homes there was a very, very small home, where some of the outdoor shots of the movie, ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ was taken. After that the house shot to fame, and the price of the house rose very steeply. Most probably the house was sold on 4 million dollar to its present owner! After the waterfront tour, the duck took us by the side of the ocean overlooking the giant wheel, Pike place market, then through Pioneer Square, to the staring point.
After the tour we decided to go to Pike place market and the very first Starbucks shop. First we went to Pike place market. Truly speaking that market didn’t excite me. I’m from India, this kind of markets still exist very much there. Rather, back to India we are very much use to shop those kind of markets rather than super market. Still we went there to get and experience of old time market. The market was very crowded, the small shops were full of fresh produce and other items, shopkeeper were calling the customers. The experience was nice. I could feel the Indian market here in the USA. We had nothing to buy, also we were hungry. So, we decide to go the oldest Starbucks. That was another same Starbucks, but inside we saw those old chair and tables, high celling, big windows, which gave an old time charm.
We were almost done of our sight seeing, only thing was left was the waterfall park. I had no idea how big was the park, or how long was it opened to public. We started walking, when we reached there, I saw that tiny park with a man made waterfall, which was closed.