This past summer, we took a vacation to the Pacific Northwest, which is somewhere that has interested me for a long time because of its diverse landscape which ranges from rainforests to mountain ranges to sandy beaches. However, our first couple days were spent exploring Seattle and the surrounding area.
On our first day in the city, we took a tour of the Seattle Underground. It was actually a lot cooler than we all expected. We learned that Seattle was first built below sea level, which meant the city flooded every high tide, which was not so convenient for the residents. The tour guides went into a bunch of detail explaining the consequences of this decision, but the main takeaway was that sewage backed up into the city streets. Sounds like a lovely place to live right? After a while, there was a great fire that destroyed a large part of the city, and to solve the altitude problem, the city leaders decided to raise the entire city up 1 or 2 floors, which reminds me of this. **WARNING** It’s a scene from Spongebob.
I assume that’s approximately how the decision went.
Unfortunately, the city ran out of money, so initially only the roads were raised, leaving the storefronts ten or so feet below the streets. Pedestrians would have to climb ladders out of the sunken sidewalks if they wanted to cross intersections. Eventually though, the project was completed; the sunken walkways were covered and the storefronts moved up to the street level. The floors below the street eventually became the Seattle Underground, a small part of which was opened up for tours. I would recommend taking this tour if you are visiting Seattle. Although it may sound pretty lame, I thought it was very interesting.
Next, we took a trip to the local market. I love seafood, so I thought it was awesome. The assortment of different kinds of fresh fish and other sea creatures was incredible. I think what really made it was that you could walk a few steps outside and see the bay where everything was caught. Being from Pittsburgh, I am not accustomed to outdoor markets like this, especially with the fresh catch of the day. The market also sold produce, clothing, flowers, and pretty much anything you could want. The ability to go outside to the market and buy your groceries was awesome to me, although the beautiful weather may have helped my impression a little.
The same day, we climbed the Space Needle, which actually appeared smaller than I imagined. I wasn’t disappointed by it or anything, I just had a different picture in my mind. The unique architecture is what sets it apart from the likes of the Empire State, Willis Tower, etc. anyway. Unfortunately, the day was just foggy enough so that we couldn’t see Mount Rainier, however, the view of the city was great. It may not be the size of New York, but in my opinion, the bay and the surrounding area make it a more charming city.
Our next adventure was to try oysters, which none of us had eaten before. I thought they were pretty good; I mean I wouldn’t have to eat them, but I would definitely get them again. Plus, they’re kind of fun to eat.
The next day, we would get on the road and make the trip to Olympic National Park (blog post coming soon).