|A few libations...to ease the pain...|
We flew from the Ontario International Airport in California to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington the day before the scheduled cruise departure. We often try to spend a day before and a day after when flying to a destination to get a feel for the land and relax before exploring. It's a great way to prevent stressing about connecting flights, trains, or other means of transportation we would be utilizing.
|Oh, now, that is GREEN!|
The city of Seattle is known by many names; 'Emerald City,' 'City of Flowers,' and 'Jet City,' among others, but one thing we believe it should also be known as is 'The Cruise Capital of the North West.'
This is the shove-off port for most of the cruises heading north into the icy waters of Alaska. The last frontier is the common term used for the 49th state of the United States, and the moniker seems truly apropos, when considering the size and location. This was one unbelievable piece of real estate, purchased from the Russians by the United States in 1867 for 7.2 million dollars. A heck of a price considering what the U.S. got for the money - territory, lumber, gold, oil, reality television, and the advantage of taking tourists there by the millions to see it all from the lower 48 on lavish cruise ships.
The land is immense. A local statement when Alaskan's talk about Texas is - "Texas is such a cute little state."
And no offense to our friends in Texas but Alaska is huge! It is over 660,000 square miles and when compared to Texas (the 2nd largest state in the union land size) at a little over 268,000 square miles the difference is outstanding. There could be two 'Texases' put into Alaska with room for Rhode Island, Maine and who knows what else.
Sorry, Texas but a fact is a fact. We love you anyway with the warm summer beaches in Corpus Christi, but this isn't about you old friend, it's about Alaska.
Actually, this is about Seattle and the beautiful dark green foliage and the wonderful activities that one can enjoy on their own merits, or before leaving the Port of Seattle for lands further north.
J and L took a long walk, about six or so miles along the Green River Trail in Seattle to undo the kinks of air travel. The scenery was breathtaking. Thick green forests on both sides of the trail through the Tukwila section of Seattle gave a new meaning to beauty. The land was alive with birds, rabbits, squirrels, and insects so loud it was almost unnerving. You could feel the flow of oxygen as it entered the lungs at each step along the trail.
A truly peaceful hike as long as one did not recall the hideous murders that had occurred here in the 1980's and 1990's by Gary Leon Ridgway. The cold-blooded killer who, when arrested in 2001, confessed to killing over 70 women during those years. It is believed that total number of his victims may have been closer to 200. The bodies were dumped in the forests along the Green River Trail. Gruesome but true - it's the former cop in J that brings out these 'lovely' tidbits.
L hated that part of the story but it does point out that sometimes within beauty there is ugliness. When you have the researcher-mindset, you look beyond the beauty, and see the reality that is underneath. But, in the end, we choose to focus on the positive: the killer was caught and the beauty remains. Okay, enough with this evil stuff.
A great way to get around Seattle is the light-rail system which links pretty much anywhere an explorer would wish to venture. We started at the Tukwila International Boulevard substation and got off at Pioneer Square, providing easy walking distance to Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, Pike Place Market, and the Space Needle.
More than enough to occupy a couple of wanders for a long day.
The food was terrific, as tasted in a number of small bistros (and, let's be honest, paired with a local craft beer made it all the better); and the sights and sounds of Seattle were wonderful. People laughing, talking, enjoying the sunshine (a rarity in the city by the Puget Sound) made the day almost perfect.
We really wanted to enjoy a meal or a cocktail atop the Needle, but it was under construction when we visited and won't re-open until early in 2019 according to a spokesman.
Besides the snafu in the unknown remodeling at the Space Needle, Seattle turned out to be a very relaxing and exciting place to visit in such a short time. Days, if not weeks would really be needed to explore all that this jewel on the west coast of Washington has to offer but sometimes we must make do with what time we have.
And if we do that - then an adventure has been achieved.
On a side-note - we were able to visit the original Starbucks at 1912 Pike Street. Not a huge fan of this or any chain, but for a couple of our daughters, that would be enough of a trip. Oh, those millennials!
L went in to Starbucks as J found a beer around the corner at a local dive. Like I said...almost perfect!