City Girl Gone Wandering
Seattle was never a city on my travel bucket-list. I didn’t yearn to climb the Space Needle or desire to wander the streets of Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd. But Seattle gave me the opportunity to travel to Victoria by ferry boat (I sure do love me a good ferry boat) so off to Seattle I went!
One of my first stops was at Bill Speidel’s Seattle Underground Tour. The tour began in a beautifully restored 1890s public house, and then worked its way down under the streets.
You see, Seattle is a quirky nut of a city. After a great fire burned down the bulk of the city’s downtown in 1989, they opted to rebuild on top of the ruins, essentially raising the sidewalks and roads by 15-35 feet. Some of these ruins have been preserved, and Speidel’s tour exists to take you down to see them. Being a sucker for history, I got a kick out of the stories (a lot of the reconstruction was financed by a famous Madame who went by the occupation of “seamstress”) as well as the intrigue of being below the hustling bustling sidewalks of the city.
After that, I headed north toward Golden Gardens Park. The interwebs had told me that this was one of the nicest beaches in the city, and since the weather had gone from cloudy to sunny, the beach was calling my name. Seattlelites sprawled out sunbathing while children scoured the shoreline in search of sea creatures. I sat in the sand, my back leaning against a particularly large piece of driftwood, and let the smell of salt water pour into my nostrils. It was a lovely reprieve from the chaotic buzz of downtown.
The next day, I arose and walked north through the area I was staying in (Capitol Hill) toward Volunteer Park. The park is home to a large water tower that is supposedly host to the best Seattle views outside of the Space Needle. After 108 steps upward, it didn’t disappoint.
In all honesty, I wasn’t particularly impressed with Seattle. It mostly felt like a generic large city with a few quaint neighborhoods. However, I loved its easy access to nature and water. There is water everywhere. Lakes, inlets, sounds… you name it. Wherever you go, you are close to some sort of radiant blue, and all of the creatures that come with it.
Other than that, the people seemed largely unhappy. Perhaps that is just the nature of large urban areas (you put on a mean face to protect yourself) but the collection of long faces was, well, depressing. That combined with the blandness of most of the architecture meant that, for me, Seattle was a nice town to visit, but 2.5 days was more than enough.