Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Seattle Trip Day 2006 Day 1 Friday July 28

This is the 1st of a series of posts recalling my first annual trip to Seattle. Unlike later Seattle reports, the hostel I was staying at charged for Internet use so I wrote the reports from notes I’d written after returning home.  I’ve made minor corrections to these reports. Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of five years later or to add further clarification; I “NOW” to denote such cases.Note that I had in fact been to Seattle as a kid, but only on the north end and most of memories are of an aunt and uncle's place.  My real memories of Seattle began with this trip.

Well, the adventure began at Customs.  The Customs officer was a bit suspicious of me.  Seems that the group ahead of me were also named Nystrom, and he was dubious that I was really travelling alone.  He let me through anyway.

The ferry arrived in Port Angeles the earliest the Coho Ferry ever has since I've used it, so I went to a book store that opens before 8 and took a peak around before heading to Sequim by Clallum Transit.  I did a small bit of shopping there before taking a Jefferson Transit bus to Port Townsend.  Next bus was also Jefferson Transit so I grabbed a bus schedule.  Good thing I did because the next bus left 15 minutes earlier than I expected, and the next bus after that is four hours later.  So I did a shorter than planned look at Port Townsend before returning to the Park and Ride to head to Poulsbo.

[NOW: The book store in Port Angeles is Port News and Books; it’s not always open before 8. The bus to Sequim is the 30 Commuter bus. I can’t recall if my misconception of the bus to Poulsbo was the result of an online check or if I had previously read an older bus schedule; I had visited Port Townsend in the past so the latter’s certainly possible. The bus from Sequim to Port Townsend is the number 8.]

[UPDATE November 30, 2012: The Coho ferry is Black Ball Transport.]
I took a quick peak at the shopping centre by Poulsbo Transit Center before taking a Kitsap Transit bus to Bainbridge Ferry Terminal.  Ferry was free to Seattle and bigger than I expected.  But a cheeseburger (no extras) was $6 US so decided to wait to Seattle to eat.  Excellent view of the city approaching.  That's when I really felt like the trip was really working to its destination.  You could easily see the Space Needle and the large downtown buildings most of the journey.

[NOW: The bus from Port Townsend to Poulsbo is the number 7 and from Poulsbo to Bainbridge is the number 90. The shopping centre above is the Poulsbo Village Shopping Center. I now take a different route to Seattle from Port Townsend because the 11:40 or so run got cancelled and the next one’s not until around 3.  I do miss the view of Seattle approaching. I originally thought that my doing the trip would hit me upon turning off from Four Corners on the number 7, as that was where the trip was new for me, but as noted it was actually on the ferry when I could see the Space Needle.]

[UPDATE November 30, 2012:  The ferry to Seattle is Washington State Ferries.]

The ferry was a little east of where I thought it was going to be.  A woman offering directions to the hostel suggested I head a few blocks us to catch a bus, which was free downtown, but since I'd be heading right back down to the same street I was on once I made it west a few blocks, that seemed like a bad idea, and it wasn't really that far.  I checked into the hostel before exploring downtown, which was accessible by a staircase up to the next street.

[NOW: That hostel was the then Seattle branch of Youth Hostel International on Union St. It closed down after my visit, though the VHI now has a branch in the International District.]

Had lunch at a Subway and visited the Pike Street Market to see the famous fish tossing (can't remember in which order).  Rode a couple of free transit buses (thus visiting the Elliott Bay Book Company, an interesting old fashioned looking multistory store) and got off on a westbound route. 

[NOW: Only two floors actually. It moved to a large one-story place in Capitol Hill, though they no longer sell used books, just new.]

Walked a little further until my way was blocked by police tape, due to a shooting at a Jewish mosque (only learned the details later; one woman killed and I think a few others injured).  As this was major news, I got pics of the various news vans of major networks but didn't look over the tape in the correct belief that I might see a body.  Also got pics of a news helicopter.

Visited a comic shop but instead of a back issue bin to flip through people had to use an unwieldy database.  Didn't end up buying comics.

[NOW: This is the downtown Seattle branch of Zanadu Comics; they have another branch in the University District.]

[UPDATE November 30, 2012: There is now only one Zanadu Comics. The University District branch is now a Comic Stop.]
I went to the Space Needle and area.  The 7-11 had beer.  Was tempted to buy one but didn't know where I'd drink it.  Later realized it wasn't even allowed in the hostel.

[NOW: You should understand that I originally wrote this for a primarily Canadian audience; in Canada only “non-alcoholic” beer is for sale in grocery stores. By Space Needle in area I was mainly referring to Seattle Center.]

Didn't go up the Needle but saw the fountain, which sprayed water up to the Needle and higher.  Also saw the KCTS 9 (PBS) HQ and visited the store.  Didn't buy DVDs there but did at the nearby Tower Records.  Back to the Needle and vicinity (Seattle Center) went to Sci-Fi Museum.  A disappointment.  Some nice memorabilia but not long to walk through and no pics allowed.

[NOW: The fountain is called the International Fountain, and it was the first place where I really felt at home in Seattle, where I fell in love with the city. The store at KCTS is of course called the KCTS Store; both the International Fountain and the KCTS 9 Store are at Seattle Center. Tower Records closed down but has been replaced by the very similar Silver Platters. That year you could visit the Sci-Fi Museum separate from Experience Music Project in the same complex, but that is no longer the case.]

[UPDATE November 30, 2012: The KCTS 9 Store is now online only.]
[UPDATE February 2, 2015: Silver Platters has moved, leaving the former Tower Records building empty]

Whew: e-mail crashed on me.  Luckily I only lost a little. Ate at McDonald's and returned downtown.
[NOW: The McDonald’s across from Seattle Center has four clear poles: one with footballs (gridiron), one with baseballs, one with basketballs, one with soccer balls (European football).]

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