Sunday, June 04, 2006

Kirkland, Part 2

Now where was I up to... Monday in Kirkland after arriving, we did the harbour tour. Tuesday I had an easy morning. I think I must be up to Tuesday night!

Tuesday evening we went along to the Space Needle which is a tall structure built for the 1962 Seattle World Fair. It has an observation deck at the top as well as a revolving restaurant. So we had dinner at the restaurant, and the food and view were just lovely! We both had half a chook (it was huge!) stuffed with garlic and served with garlic mashed potatoes, spinach and wild boar bacon, and just so good. I took what I couldn't eat home and had it for lunch the next day :) Because we had dinner at 7:30, the sun was just beginning to go down, and by 8:30/9pm we were watching a beautiful sunset as we were finishing our drinks.

After dinner we went up to the observation deck where the sun was truly setting, and looked over the city including the snow covered Mt Rainier.

Wednesday I went into Seattle and to the Pike Place Markets. Apparently in 1907 Seattlites got sick of paying middlemen a fortune for produce, so a small market was set up where local producers could sell directly to the public. It was so popular, the farmers had sold out of everything within a couple of hours. It has since grown, and is quite large, open every day and has a range of fresh fruit and veg, fresh seafood, flowers, art and crafts as well as entertainers singing and dancing for some spare change.

I also had lunch at a random seafood place where a scene from Sleepless in Seattle was apparently filmed. I have yet to rewatch the movie and try to pick the scene.

After that I went to the local IMAX movie theatre, and watched Deep Sea 3D, which was about the ocean. And in 3D. Who woulda thunk it? It was pretty cool, and the scenery was pretty breathtaking.

From there I went down to the local Kirkland downtown markets, which was like the Pike Place Markets, only a lot smaller. Lots of locally produced jams, jellies, baked goods and the like.

Thursday I was looking through my guide book and I noticed that the Burke Museum was free on the first Thursday of the month, and lo and behold, it was the first Thursday of the month. So I toddled along to check that out. The Burke Museum is at Washington University and is a Museum of Natural History and Culture. It has dinosaurs, and the history of them in the Washington area, bones that have been found and so on, how the state of Washington has changed over the past few ages in time due to ice ages and the like. It also had a lot about seventeen Pacific Rim cultures including local Indians, Samoans, Maoris and others I can't remember.

It wasn't a big museum, and it didn't take long to explore the whole thing, so I was pleased I only had to pay for parking...

After that I went out to check out a local winery, and discovered I'd just missed a tour, and the next one was nearly an hour away. So I was going to go home, and figured it was a waste of time to just go home after going all the way out there (the 30 minute drive took me an hour thanks to traffic), so saw Columbia Winery across the road and decided to pop in there. I asked them about tours, and the lady said she'd get someone to cover the wine tasting area and take me for a tour straight away. There was a couple nearby, so she asked if they'd like a tour as well, and the three of us got a personalised tour of the winery. She took us all around the production area and explained the whole process, and was happy to show us everything, was really friendly and very informative. After that we did some tastings, and because she liked us and it was quiet, she let us try the premium wines and some other of her favourites that are usually reserved for those who pay and those in their wine clubs so that was nice!

From there, I picked up Andrew and we went to the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame which was interesting. Brought back lots of memories from childhood for both of us!! So many movies to see again and books to read again... :)

Friday I pretty much just spent the day getting organised for the trip back. There wasn't anything else major I wanted to see, so just did the washing, cleaned the place up, packed the bags, and read for a bit.

I collected Andrew from work and we went in to Seattle to do the Seattle Underground Tour. Seattle has quite an interesting history. The people who first settled it were idiots basically. When they settled, they didn't take tides into consideration, and started building and planned the town based on low tide. So everytime the tide came in, everything got wet and muddy. The sewerage system was bad to say the least, and every time the tide came in, the town became a muddy stinky mess. Though it wasn't very fortunate at the time, the town burnt down in 1889 which was great for the town. They could rebuild, and do things like sewerage properly, and build it higher. Unfortunately the shopkeepers were too keen to rebuild their shops, so started rebuilding before the streets got raised. So when the streets finally were raised, there was a few metres difference between the roads and the pavements. The picture below gives an idea on how it looks/looked.

So people could walk around a block on the low part of the pavement, but to cross the road they had to get up to the higher part. Because the local council spared no expense (ahem), they had to climb LADDERS that were placed against the brick wall up to the road. Rather than filling in the sidewalk, they just built over it, and so the underground system was established. So the sidewalks are hollow, and the tour of the underground is really interesting. During prohibition, the underground was mostly unused, so became a popular place to store moonshine, and have speakeasy's. During this time it was also very popular for gambling, and "ladies of the night" and basically anything else illegal!

The tour itself was excellent. The guides were funny and informative, the history was very interesting, the tour went for 90 minutes and was only $11 - the cheapest tour we've probably been on, and the best!

A lot of the buildings that were built in this time after the fire are still standing, despite a number of earthquakes since. They were certainly built to last back then! They also made them fire proof after learning from their earlier mishap.

A very enjoyable evening!

On Saturday we started our drive home. We took a 2 1/2 hour detour to go see Mt Saint Helens, which is a volcano that last erupted in 1980 after being set off by an earthquake. It was covered in snow, which made it look impressive, but it also had a lot of low lying cloud so it just looked like a regular mountain which was a bit of a shame. In the valleys below though, you could see where streams of hot lava "burnt" through the rock and trees which was quite impressive.

Once we got back to the highway, we kept going, and had a good drive and did 12 hours of driving (including the detour), which left today (Sunday) with an easy 4 hours of driving to get home. A total of a 2099 mile (3378km) round trip. Well worth it though!

The rest of the photos fro mthe trip are up at our photo website.

1 comment:

RunDave said...

Fascinating stuff. I'd really like to see Seattle some day.