Advantages Discovering a really beautiful piece of the U.S.A
Disadvantages None unless you want sandy beaches and palm trees.
|Value for Money|
|Ease of getting around|
Sleepless and Pennyless in Seattle !!! and I was both.
Staying in a little paper manufacturing town of Camas, on the edge of the Columbia River Gorge which divides Washington State from Portland, in Oregon, gave me lots of oportunity to explore the surrounding countryside.
I booked a ticket on the retired American Greyhound which goes by the name of Green Tortoise, for obviouse details....anyone who has travelled this way, will know exactly what I mean. Never heard of it? then I will be writing a reviiew about it shortly. The only way I can visualise it for you is to say that it is a bright green Hippy bus for anyone who doesn't mind travelling throughout the night sardine style.
The cheapest form of transport around and the most entertaining.
As you proceeded, rising higher and higher into the mountains Mount Raynier comes into view
The road heads onwards and upwards surrounded by some of the largest Redwood trees, and many other varieties flanking the road on either side.. Little wooden shacks seemingly miles from anywhere display their wares for visitors to buy. Eventually the driver will pull into Seattle, but not before pointing out the wonderful views of the pacific coast, with its rocky shores and assorted sized islands half submerged in the calm waters. Little ferries, speedboats and fishing vessels, all leaving trails as they go about their business, to and fro to the harbour and docks.As the coach reaches the centre of town the vista changes dramatically, street after street built in straight rows, full of modern chain stores, shopping malls, and designer office buildings. Skyscrapers where ever you look, spire into the skyline in dramatic shapes and colours.
For the benefit of those who have not yet managed a visit to the States the streets in the main towns in the U.S. are usually built on a very large grid system. Row after row of roads heading North, South, East or West, hence the names are prefixed with N.W. or N.E. and S.W. or S.E. The numbers on the buildings can also be confusing, with as many as five figures to each one. You can find yourself walking miles to reach the number you want. So be warned! It is very different in the towns for first timers. Having said that can you imagine how an America arriving here for the first time might feel, faced with the strange winding streets we have in some of our times.But I digress, back now to Seattle, and the Tortoise is now parked up in the coach station in the centre of town. Walking down through the super stores with all their wonderful designer clothing is a real change from the drive through the forest of trees.
However there is more, Look overhead and you will see or hear the Seattle World's Fair Monorail, winding, yes winding along on its track above the streets, between the high rise skyscrapers. Travelling the 1.2 miles of the route in just 96 seconds. The View really does have to be seen to believed. The whole town flashes before your eyes taking in the pacific coastline and little islands in profusion floating in the waters down below. A ride that is a must before you leave, unless of course
the fear of heights prevent you.
The shops on the floor above are modern designer shops, Woollen Indian Clothing and Rugs are abundant. Everything you would expect for a Mall catering for residents and visitors alike. My favourite store is the sweet store. A very clever sweet maker. ( what else can I call him,). Performs his magic to entertain the shoppers and produce, after turning, throwing, twisting and winding the hot sugar substance, creates a perfect confection for you to purchase.Now it is time to move on. The Old part of town is calling, waiting to be seen. Starting of course with the market. A wonderful old building with many little shops selling jewelry, made mostly of American Indian Silver and the world famous Torquoise. Indian Ponchos, and the most beautiful wooden carvings of wild animals, such as bears, bald eagles and fish, plus many more too difficult to resist.
Enough now of shopping and markets. It is time to walk down the back stairs, onto the pavements below leading down to the ocean. First it is time for a rest and where better than the green on the banks, where plants surround the grass, but the best surprise of all is sighting those wonderful tall, colourfully painted, intricately carved American Indian Totem Poles. Displayed along the edges in all their glory. Probably some of the most photographed objects in Seattle.Take off your shoes, buy one of those glorious Ice-creams, cool down and relax in the sun, that is of course if the sun is shining, Seattle can be famous for its rain. It's Emblem is not the Slug for nothing.
Finally the last but not least of the sight seeing , not to be missed, is the old town shops, a long street of really old buildings half buried under the street surface, with all the new high rise sky scrapers built directly on top of them, such a strange sight. The actually have tours down into the old shops that are still retained in the ancient décor, which must have been a hundred or more years ago.If you still have time on your trip to the North West, Far side. A drive or coach ride north up to the border and over into Canada would be well worth while. Vancouver and Vancouver island are a picture, with gardens full of blooms, but don't forget to take your camera.
Before I finish this review I must just explain the reason for my title.
Yes I was really Sleepless and Penniless in Seattle. On the penultimate day of my stay, I looked for and found a card machine, only to discover that my cheque had not been transferred through to my account. I had used my last dollar earlier. I was hungry tired and had nowhere to sleep, until I caught the Green Tortoise at 10 am the following morning. I had gratefully taken tubs of yoghurt from the teenagers handing out samples of a new taste. These had sustained me, but now that wasn't enough. I was also very tired. The Youth Hostel didn't take cheques.
My faith in the friendliness of the America people firmly established in my mind.I hope I have convinced a few of you that Seattle would be a wonderful place to spend a different and interesting holiday there.
Best wishes to you all.Elinor.
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