After a long trip to Detroit (thanks again Jennifer & Ron for driving me!), including fun & games at the border as I didn't know my ESTA number I finally arrived in Detroit to spend some time with the Janeczek family. I had great fun with them eating corn on the cob, ice cream & roast pork as well as being entertained by 8 year old Aubrey showing me her best British accent! Thanks guys for all your hospitality! I was then properly on my own again and heading for Seattle, with 2 full days to look round before starting my tour.
My first stop was the iconic Pike Place Market Place - which was amazing. This is a huge collection of stalls selling anything and everything, with lots of free samples, and also where the first Starbucks originated. My favourite stall without a shadow of a doubt was the Pike Place Fish Stall. Here every time a sale is made at the front the order is yelled out a member of staff, repeated by everyone before the item is thrown back to the cash desk to be wrapped up! It was truly amazing although I was very gutted that I failed to get an action photo or couldn't buy anything as the Smoked Salmon I sampled was delicious!
I also stopped at the (very English!) Crumpet and Tea shop. Here I got to watch the crumpets being made whilst sampling my refreshing cuppa. Again it was fascinating to watch as the baker laid the tins out, filled them with a massive ladle, left them for approx 10 mins, flipped them over, move them to cool and then removed them from the tins. Unfortunately no photos or free samples here though!!!
After the market place I decided to get a better view of the city by going on the Ducks tour! This was a mad crazy 90 minutes of being driven round Seattle seeing the famous sites by a man repeatedly changing hats and blaring out music. It was very cheesy but good fun especially as it gave me some useful pointers of where else to go. As it was a duck tour we also got to see Lake Union which is famous for 2 things - the houseboat from Sleepless in Seattle and the first Sea Plane being tested here by the founder of United Airways.
During the tour I learnt that the Seattle Mariners where playing the Texas Rangers at Glorified Rounders(sorry US readers Baseball) tonight and after first checking that there was no football (soccer) on whilst I was here I decide to go. I got chatting to a guy in the queue who recommended a Centre field seat mainly I think because it was cheap but I wasn't complaining at $8 a ticket. I was complaining slightly more however at $8.50 for some Nachos (dinner!) and $8.75 for a beer!!!!
Fortunately for me (& quite possibly unfortunately for them!) I ended up sitting next to the guy in the queue - Eric and his mate Michael who were able to explain some of the rules to me.The weirdest thing that happened all night (apart from the Mariners winning 3-2 - an almost unheard of event apparently!) has to the 7th Inning Stretch. Basically a president was watching a match and during the change over in the 7th Inning decided to stand up and have a stretch but because he was the president everyone had to stand up and stretch. The custom has since developed that everyone stands up and now sings "Take me to the Ball Game!" and for Seattle they finish it playing Louie Louie. Anyway I had a great time and Eric and Michael decided I was their luck charm and wanted me back the following night!!!
The next day, after a little bit of shopping (I know, I know but it was the A&F sale & I only bought 1 T-shirt!), I took a trip into Seattle Underground, which explained the history of the city. To try and cut a long story short the town planners in the 1800's weren't very good at dealing with sewerage, especially after the invention of the toilet which caused a lot of issues due to the fact that Seattle was on one big hill. There was then a big fire which destroyed a large area. The town planers then decided to try and flatten out the hill before rebuilding however the shop keepers weren't happy as it was going to take 7-8 years. Thus they came up with a solution to build as is and the city would then fill in around them, which meant a ground floor when built became a basement, the 1st floor the ground etc. This then created a whole area (around 32 blocks) which is underground some of which is available for walking round today.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Seattle as it is a city with a real vibe to it and some amazing places to see. The food here is also really good - particularly the Pad Thai and the local Clam Chowder I devoured for lunch each day!