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Wanderlust cured’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 15 Oct 2009

Location: Seattle, USA

MapSeattle: what I thought was just another city has a wonderful underground history

I’ve never been a fan of cities and Seattle held no special pull for me but as they say ‘when in Rome’ I thought we better go see it. J’s interest was an underground tour of Seattle, again I wasn’t that interested so I let him decide and followed along. What was presented was actually a city with some amazing history behind it and a sole man wanting to build it. When it was first built it was right on ocean level, or water table level, so you can imagine the problems they had with boggy roads – also their toilets had many problems with being at sea level and things not flushing out the way they needed to. A big fire hit downtown Seattle and wiped out 8 city blocks, so at the same time they were rebuilding the city they rebuilt their buildings with an extra story on it. What this meant was that when all of the streets were raised above sea level to fix the sewage problem they would have an underground street level where you could get into shops and a street level above ground. Once built, through the Klondike gold rush the city used these passage ways to help support the miners heading up to Yukon & Alaska with all their supplies. After this they became seedy passage ways and downtown Seattle got a bad name and where we were was considered the “rougher area” of town – a place you wouldn’t go at night (2500 prostitutes in an 8 block radius). Now they are locked up to keep out the homeless and you can walk around looking at old buildings and the passages that still remain under the city.

After our colourful underground tour we went to the Pike Market, famous for its fish tossing merchants, to meander and to shop. I bought same amazing prints with painted cats doing yoga with the Seattle Space Needle in the background and look forward to hanging them on my walls when I have walls of my own again  We then caught the monorail to the Seattle Centre to look at the needle and maybe the science fiction museum. Boring. J really enjoyed it, I got a little bit out of the music museum learning more about Jimi Hendrix, but the science fiction stuff really went over my head – J snapped away so many photos...I just waited at the end of the exhibit away from the crazy science fiction people chatting in their klingon or whatever it is  hehe, give me nature any day, at least I can understand it.

Another stroll through Seattle enjoying this varied city, back onto the ferry and currently in the car looking for a camping spot. Pacific Highway tomorrow and I’m excited! Thanks Seattle – we came, we saw, we left.