November 1, 2015

Moving on from the Mountains. . .

Ever heard of the Dargatz Dichotomy? Well, here it is. I absolutely love exploring the serenity of nature. I also crave for the hustle and bustle of downtown adventures. These two might seem like polar opposites and in some ways they are, but they also have a great deal in common. They both offer an array of amazing experiences. So down from the mountains we go, all the way to the Emerald City. (Those interested in reading up on our outdoor adventures, please check out

We weren't in Kansas anymore, but Seattle. When I HEAR Seattle, I used to think of rain, the Space Needle, and Starbucks. I still sorta do, but now I can think of even more. Defining Seattle as rainy is a bit misnomer as a few people whom lived there made sure to mention it the 55th rainiest city in the United States, but probably in the top ten of cloud cover. The Space Needle was there but a bit off of the more impressive skyscrapers. Starbucks were everywhere. Literally. Even the first Starbucks was here. Luckily, I am not a coffee drinker because the line was absolutely ridiculous. What people will do for a hot cup of java!
After dropping off the rental car and getting checked in at the hotel, night had fallen. There was still time to explore so off to Pike Place Market we went. Was it a tourist trap? Yes. Was it a Seattle staple? Yes. Was it open? Nope. At least most of it. Nonetheless, walking through the market still aroused sights, smells, and sounds that intrigued us and encouraged a return trip during daylight hours.

After taking in one of the still open eating establishments, it was back to the hotel to gear up for a day of tantalizing tourism.

First stop, a return trip the market. After filling up on an absolutely delightful pastry from one of the many bakeries lining the streets near the market, we took in the market in its glory. Flowers, fruit, and fish. Trinkets galore. The market didn't drain my wallet, but it was a bit of sensory overload. We needed a break. A walk down the pier gave us needed relief.
The Seattle Aquarium was mediocre at best. I may be an aquarium snob as I have been fortunate enough to visit a variety of aquariums throughout the country. There were some cute otters, combined outdoor/indoor avian exhibits, and a giant pumpkin carving artist, but the overall experience was OK, less than OK when you factor in the price of admission.

I am a glutton for history. I just can't get enough, so when my wife offered a boat tour of the harbor, I knew I would learn some interesting historical information. Game on!
Seattle (small building just to the left of the front of the ship is Smith Tower)
The views of the skyline were gorgeous, despite the overcast skies. The facts were fast and furious. Here's what I remember. :)

  •  The first Seattle skyscraper was the Smith Tower
  • On the 35th floor is a lucky chair for single ladies. Sit in that chair and marriage isn't far away.
  • The Maximum depth of Puget Sound is 600 feet. The Space Needles is 605 feet tall, meaning just the tiptop of the needle would be able the waterline.
One of many container ships

  • Because of weather and planting factors, a Native American chief on the opposite side of Puget Sound gave the incoming settlers the idea of moving across the water into what is now called Seattle. That chief's name was "Americanized" to Chief Seattle.
  • 28,000 rubber duckies once spilled into Puget Sound. Rather than clean them up, scientists convinced authorities to let them stay, creating the biggest known experiment for studying waves and currents. Rubber duckies from this spill were found all over the world.
  • Container ships are scattered throughout the harbor carrying freight containers from all over the world. Over 10 million of these containers are dropped each year, though this only accounts for 0.001% of all containers transported throughout the year.

After getting back on land, we walked the Seattle waterfront and toured the Olympic Statue Park. We got caught by quite possibly the slowest train ever, though we were able to walk above it while the cars kept lining up and waiting, waiting, waiting.
Metal tree
Though we had a full day of experiences, our Emerald City adventures were just beginning. . .

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