Last weekend we finally ventured south of the border to Seattle! It’s our anniversary this month, so to celebrate we planned a little trip away. We got the 6:30 am train on Saturday morning and it was brilliant! It only cost $30 each and all the customs/immigration stuff is done in Vancouver at the station, so there’s no faffing around at the border.
When we first got into Seattle we realised quickly how similar it is to Vancouver, but also quite different. Vancouver is more clean and safe looking, whereas Seattle is a much older city. It was a short walk from the train station to our hotel on the corner of 4th Avenue & Spring, Hotel Monaco. Nick’s sister and her husband stayed there a couple of months ago, and highly recommended it. It was about $180 each for 2 nights, which we thought was pretty good for a 4 star hotel Downtown. When we booked the hotel Nick mentioned to them that it was our anniversary, and they put a bottle of wine with a card and balloons in our room for us! I’d also heard that you can have a goldfish in your room, so obviously I asked for one! His name was Steve!
Once we’d checked in and sorted ourselves out we walked towards the main shopping part and jumped on the Monorail towards the Space Needle. We bought a Citypass which was $74 and got us into up to 6 attractions, saving about $60. I’ll be honest, the Space Needle was so-so. It’s pretty old, so there’s not much they can do with it now, but we were just a bit non-plussed about it. The Vancouver Lookout is much better! It’s pretty cool to say we’ve been there now though!
After that we headed across the street to the EMP Museum. Oh my god, it’s the BEST museum I’ve ever been to! It’s a music and film museum, and has loads of interactive things to play with. They had a really cool Jimi Hendrix exhibition, with some of his guitars and clothes on display. They also had a huge Nirvana section with loads of amazing pictures, guitars, artwork etc. Upstairs they had this room with loads of musical instruments that you could learn to play, and a stage if you wanted to perform! I had great fun playing the drums, and Nick put his guitar skills to use!
Downstairs they had my favourite section, a whole area dedicated to horror movies! There were so many film props/costumes on display, and best of all they had a scream booth, where we had to sit and scream while a picture was taken. It was pretty funny! There was also a Sci-Fi and Fantasy section which was also really cool. I loved it!
Sunday we got up early and went down to the aquarium, hoping to beat the kids. We’re going to sound like we’re really hard to please now, but we were a bit disappointed by the aquarium. It’s just a bit tired looking, and Vancouver or London aquariums are better I think. The Sea Lions and Otters were cute though!
After that we went to check out Pike Place Market. It was amazing! I thought it would just be a fish market, but there are loads of cool quirky little shops in the back, selling everything from magic tricks to vintage magazines and posters, to old presidential campaign buttons and memorabilia. For lunch we went to The Athenian which was in the film Sleepless in Seattle! They even have a couple of plaques that say where Tom Hanks and Rob Reiner sat! The food was very tasty too!
Seattle is home to the first ever Starbucks, and I really wanted to go inside to buy a mug. But the queue was out the bloody door and all the way up the street, so I didn’t bother!
After that we got on a bus and went to the Museum of Flight which is just down past the airport. They have a Concorde there, as well as an Air Force One! We got to go inside both which was pretty cool, especially Air Force One, as it carried Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. It was a bit weird seeing where JFK’s thunder box was, but also pretty cool! There was also a random thing on Air Force One which said ‘Doggie Door’, which just seemed to be a box that led to the toilet. A bit odd! There was also a huge WWI & II section, and the first ever Boeing 747.
On Sunday night we went to Cafe Campagne, on Post Alley, which is a little lane close by to Pike Place Market. I’d read about the restaurant on someone’s blog, and on the same blog they recommended a bar nearby called The Whitehorse Trading Co.
Oh my god, this might just be my favourite bar ever. It’s a British pub, but not at all like the ‘themed’ British pubs we see so much of here. The place is tiny, and is decorated with all sorts of random stuff all over the walls and ceilings, and has sofas, old board games, and old books everywhere. The bartender and owner, Joe was such a character and very welcoming, and the place is so small that you can’t help but chat to everyone that’s there. It feels like you are in someone’s living room, it has such a good atmosphere. It was dark, intimate, blues music was playing, everyone was friendly, someone even got engaged in front of us! And best of all Joe has an Irish Wolfhound who walks about the bar!! Aiden, the Irish Wolfhound was the cutest thing ever, I got to feed him some cheese, and now I want one! We were in there for hours, drinking, laughing and chatting to the locals who frequent the place. I can’t put it into words how much I loved this place!! I gave Joe a Scottish flag sticker that I had, and he stuck it on his fridge. So if you ever go, look out for it!!
On Monday we were extremely hungover but had to get going early as we still had a couple of things to do! We hired a Zipcar and drove (well Nick drove, I supervised) up to Evo, a snowboarding shop Nick had read about. He got a helmet and goggles for our Snowboarding lessons in January, but we didn’t have that much time to look for anything else as we had to rush off for our next stop – Kerry Park.
Kerry Park has probably the best viewpoint of the city, it’s amazing! You can see the whole skyline from here. It looks just like the start of Frasier! See for yourself!
We then had a mad rush back Downtown so we could get to the bus station and start the 4 hour journey home. The bus was only $13 each and although it wasn’t as comfortable as the train, it was fine enough. The only thing I’d say is that I’d recommend getting the train both ways, as getting off the bus at the border to have them check everyone (and search the bus) was a bit of a pain. Especially with a hangover!
It was an amazing trip, and we were gutted to have to come home. On to planning the next trip!!