First full day in Seattle. I slept a little bit longer, but the US like their terrible thin blankets and a pillow that is too small. That makes me miss my bed. A quick shower and then to breakfast that is included in the hostel price. There are toast and bagels, with butter, jelly, cream cheese and peanut butter. Some fruit, juice, coffee and hard boiled eggs (which already are peeled and packed into plastic – wtf…
Yesterday I found out about these great e-bikes that are all over the city. 2 different companies. Lime is one, but I didn’t manage to get a payment possibility set up. Then there is the there – Jump – that is connected to Uber and the bikes can be unlocked through the app. Payment happens with the card you use for Uber. The price is 0,15 USD/minute. And it is en easy process. Open the app, find a bike, scan the QR-code and the bike unlocks. As soon as you agree to the terms, the time starts ticking. Just drive where you want and lock the bike. The time will stop and you will pay for the minutes you used it. You can also chose to hold the bike. Very nice.
I travel down (or sometimes even up) 1st Avenue towards Pike Place Marked. My first tour will start at 10:30 close by. Time enough to get a coffee at Starbucks (there are plenty around – they started in Seattle) and take some pictures (find a cache). Meet-up for the 75 minute walk through the marked area is the Victor Steinbrueck Park. About 13 people meet for the free Walking tour.
I love free walking tours. The base on the honor system When you like the tour, you pay what you think it was worth at the end in form of a tip. There are tours in every major city in the world and normally, they are very good to get a first impression of a place. And today, we are lucky with the weather. Blue sky and sun that gives warmth. I like that.
Our guide is Jake, the owner of the company. After a short introduction (Where are you from) he tells me, that he was in Norway with the US Army for training. He was stationed in Geilo – how small is the world? The tour starts and you learn some interesting facts about the marked area. It is to much information to give on this blog. Just say, that you have to produce, what you sell and every day is a new day where you might or might not get the same place. Unfortunately the fish throwers have a day off (Easter Sunday). They are known.
We go through different areas of the marked which many tourists would likely overlook. We get tips about how to find the best stuff and when to get the shortest waiting lines. Of course we stop for the big signs to take pictures. We are tourist after all. At the end of the tour we go out in an alley where the famous gum wall is. You can find it amazing or disgusting. There i a smell of lemon in the area. Everyone is taking pictures. The gums are removed by the marked once a year, otherwise they would narrow the alley. We decide NOT to do the “gum wall challenge” (try YouTube for that one, but before you eat :D).
After the walk, I have 15 minutes to get back to the park for tour no. 2. Seattle 101. A history walk from Pike Place marked down to Pioneer Square and to the Great wheel. A lot of history from the time he English landed in the bay, timber boom, gate to Klondike and the mandatory fire every city has. A lot of information presented in an entertaining end interesting way. Small things and big events in the history of the city. After 2 hours we end up at the waterfront, where they demolish a 2 story highway to make room for a waterfront park. It shall be finished in two years.
After the tour ends a quick call home, a hot dog and then a bike towards Cafe Zeitgeist, which has been voted Top 5 coffee shops in 5 years in a row. Having a break there with a hot chocolate and a hos made doughnut. My next tour is just around the corner.
I got the tip from several people that the underground tour is great. So I bought a ticket for the 18:00 tour yesterday an now I am at the staring point at Pioneer Square. The meeting is in a bar connected to the ticket office (convenient for the bar owner^^). 15 minutes before the tour starts we get up on floor (underground??) and get a hilarious 15 minute history lesson in a fun way. After that we go outside and down into the basement of a house across the street.
Seattle was rebuild in a way that the 2nd floor became the 1st floor after they filled the streets to get above sea level (they had some problems with the tide). Then the build a sidewalk over between the elevated street and the houses around and the 1st floor of every building is underground (this is the short version). The old walls, windows and sidewalks are still there and this is what we can take a look at. Our guide Adam does a great job and is very funny. Definitely PG rated tour. Perfect for a city planner like me. 75 minutes later we finish in a souvenir shop… this tour had to be payed for and I am a bad tourist and give no tips at the end.
Jump bike back to the hostel. I have the room to myself. That is good. First thing is to steal an extra pillow from one of the other beds. Then I begin to write my blog and charge every technical thing I have. Had a great and informative day.