Published: July 26th 2010July 14th 2010
Seattle is the most northern major city in the US, and the biggest in the Pacific Northwest. As we were nearing Seattle, there was a surreal sight, namely a huge snow-peaked mountain in an area that appeared to be very lacking in anything else of substantial height. Normally when you see a big mountain, it's surrounded by other almost-as-big mountains in a very big mountain range. Mount Rainier is 14000 feet high and just seems to stick out of the ground (which as we got a bit closer turned out not quite to be true, but it is still by far the biggest mountain in the area. To see it, just go to Google images and search for Mount Rainier). One day in Seattle we went to the observation deck on the 35th floor of the Smith Tower (which we were told by a local would be quieter, cheaper, and provide better views than the Space Needle), and the view of the city with the mountain in the background was just stunning. Pictures are up on Facebook. While in Seattle I had what could well be the best meal I've had this trip, in a tiny Russian Cafe in the world famous Pike Place Market. I'm not sure what it was, but it only cost $10 for a huuuuuge portion, and it was so damn tasty! That evening we went to a random bar in Capitol Hill that turned out to be playing music that sounded very similar to the dubstep I listen to in UK, though it was definitely a bit different. It was pretty surreal, though very entertaining, as there were only 3 people dancing but they were all amazing dancers. I actually asked them about it later and it turns out they were in a dance crew and had been for years, and went to competitions and stuff. On the way home we saw an even more surreal sight. The police in Seattle, ride Segways! They actually also do in Chicago and I took a picture there which I'll upload soon.
The hostel we stayed in, called the Green Tortoise hostel, was also the best hostel I've stayed in so far. The dorms had 6 beds, each with 3 walls and a curtain so you had complete privacy, then each bed had it's own personal fan and light. There was a good free breakfast, a large common area, 6 computers with internet which were free to use, and above all, a great location in the city - within walking distance of downtown, pioneer square, capitol hill and the "coast" (it wasn't actually the sea, just Puget Sound which is an arm of the pacific ocean). On the last day, 6 of us from the hostel (including Tal and Florian that I met in Portland) took a ferry over to Bainbridge Island where we had a really nice day consisting of lying on the grass, in the sunshine, with a picnic. What more could you ask for?!