Monday, July 28, 2008

Exploring Seattle.....

Pike Place Market in Seattle is rather famous as a large farmers' market, one of the oldest to run continuously in the US (about to celebrate its 101st birthday). It's situated along the waterfront of Seattle in a long, two-storied building with the front open. Stalls line the inside, selling fresh flowers, fruit, arts and crafts, and fish.

Pike Place Market as a whole is reasonably touristy, and has a slightly seedy grunge undertone. For you Wellingtonians, it's the Cuba Street of America! It also has the most worrying bathrooms I've seen so far, with each stall having only the bottom half of a door for modesty.

One of the Market's attractions is the "flying fish" performance. Essentially, the vendors got tired of walking to the front of the store and then to the back every time someone wanted a fish, so they invented a little song to sing as they throw the fish in question from the attendant at the front to the one at the back, who catches it.

Hopefully you can see the fish - it's a blur in the middle, just to the right below the lowest lamp.

Pike Place Market is also home to a lot of little shops, amongst them the first Starbucks. So we decided to visit. It was packed with people, most of them tourists like us.

Where it all began! Note their present logo has now tamed itself.

After some lunch we hopped on the Seattle monorail, which goes from Seattle's downtown area to the Space Needle and Seattle Center, a tired amusement area next to the artistic Sci Fi Museum.

The Space Needle is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Seattle, and was built in the 1960's along with the monorail for the World Fair. It was interesting, but we thought both attractions were slightly over-rated, and certainly not worth $17 each to go up to the top of the Space Needle. We did wish we had more time to explore Seattle - it seems to be one of those cities that only yields its best secrets after a lot of searching.

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