In the not too distant past, my mum met an American girl travelling in London. Fast forward a few years (and a few kids), and for our final few days we’ve stayed with the Gangwish family in Seattle, keeping the link going! After getting back into America after the ferry from Victoria, Byron met us outside the terminal building and we headed out to Renton. We’ve stayed at Byron and his wife Jen’s place, and considering we hadn’t seen each other since we were about 11, we got on pretty well! Not much has changed in that time, South Park is still funny, but nowadays we can drink beer as well.
After catching up with Sharon and reminiscing about her and my mom’s adventures in the 70’s, we spent our first full day in Seattle being proper tourists. We took the monorail, posed in front of the Space Needle (but were too cheap to go up it), and went to the EMP Museum. This is an amazing place, originally a Pacific Northwest music museum, it now has some excellent other exhibitions too. As well as the Nirvana and Hendrix features, including clothes, music, fan letters and more, there was a Sci-fi area, Fantasy exhibits and a horror movie hall. Being funded by Microsoft’s other guy, Paul Allen, it was full of cool interactive technology with crazy geeky memorabilia. Awesome.
In the afternoon we checked out the world famous Pike Place Market, complete with fish-throwing, the original Starbucks (stupidly big queue), the gum wall and the waterfront. Completing the all-American day of fun, we met up with the Gangwish crew outside of Safeco Field and went to watch the baseball! The Seattle Mariners vs. the Chicago Whitesox, and it was brilliant. Baseball is a sport you can zone in and out of, and there was a really nice chilled atmosphere, with lots of families and it was a very pleasant way to enjoy a couple of beers and take in the views from the stadium, designed to allow a clear view of the Seattle skyline. The Mariners won 4-1, and I’m pretty sure I understand most of the rules now.
The second day we did more of the same, exploring Seattle on foot and doing some shopping for a couple of presents and souvenirs, much against my wishes. I feel like everyone should just be happy to see us, but Mrs H insisted. We also visited the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center, the tallest building and indeed tallest views in the PNW. Panoramic views over the city, sound, lakes and mountain, and cheaper than the Space Needle!
That night, Sharon cooked us some amazing Alaskan salmon, before we got the Byron and Jen’ college experience by playing a few rounds of beer pong. My accuracy was not good towards the end, but Laura was a bit of a shark and managed to avoid too much beer.
For the last full day of our entire trip, Byron and Jen took us on a bit of tour of more Seattle highlights. Jimi Hendrix’s grave, complete with multiple half smoked joints left in tribute, the crazy looking Fremont Troll and a couple of beers in the Gasworks Park, overlooking Lake Union. Our final night, and we eased ourselves back into English culture with a trip to see the Seattle Sounders play ’soccer’! The atmosphere was incredible! We thought that the Americans weren’t too fussed about proper football but I haven’t never experienced an atmosphere like this in England.
After a few beers, we joined up with a big crowd in Pioneer Square, and then with chants and a brass band, marched down to the stadium. Our seats were amazing, right in the hardcore superfan section behind the goal. Guys stood at the front directing the chants, flags and scarves were everywhere the sound was phenomenal. We didn’t sit down for 90 minutes, it was so intense! The ground is also used by the Seahawks and is the loudest in the NFL, and the 50,000 soccer fans made the earth shake. We got all the action at our end too, with the Sounders saving a penalty, scoring two goals in the second half and having a guy sent off. And, this being America, the whole thing was a gigantic spectacle, with fireworks, flags and flames shooting up to celebrate the goals. As Mitchell eloquently put it, “this is insane dude!”.
And now, we are sat in SeaTac aiport, spending the last few dollars and waiting to board the plane home (via a quick stop in Iceland). Rest assured dear reader, there will be more blogs on this year for all kinds of top tens, costs and future plans. For now though, we’ve had an excellent final few days of our trip in Seattle, and will definitely be back.
SOUNDERS TILL I DIE! SOUNDERS, SOUNDERS, BORN IN ’74!