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Seattle Update

Last chance before we board the cruise

19 °C
View 2010 Around the World on greynomadm's travel map.

Wednesday 22 September

Homewood Suites Seattle Downtown gets even better. As I said in my previous post, the suite was most impressive, but quite beyond expectation, the service continues to improve. One of my priorities was to get my Travel Insurance form printed off and returned to the insurer.  I took my PDF file on my thumb drive down to the front desk and asked if they could print it for me.  "No problem, but you are welcome to use our Business Center, it is complementary". Found a very smart Dell computer and a small laser printer, plug in the thumb drive and direct it to print the form, nothing happens, no paper in the printer, look around the room, no paper there either.  OK back to the front desk, explain my problem, profuse apologies and I'm handed half a ream of paper - no charge. Compare that to other hotels where they charge you by the page for printing.

Having printed the form and filled it in, I need to fax it back.  Down to Lloyd at the front desk, some confusion on my part regarding the fax number.  He tries three or four combinations without success.  I asked him if he could scan it onto my thumb drive, sorry, the hotel doesn't have a scanner. Bugger!!  Lloyd is not beaten, "If you like, I could take this document home and scan it for you.  Can I have your email address ??"  He apologises that there may be a delay of some hours as he still has a few hours left on his shift. We retire to suite and flick though the numerous TV channels and generally sort of plans for the the next two days.

There is no bar or restaurant in the hotel, plenty of those in the area. We were advised to head down to the dinning room where 'Management" provides a "Happy Hour" with complementary hot entree, beer and wine available for purchase.  The entree consists of a mini pizza, salad greens, dressings and fruit juices. This Happy Hour is provided Monday to Thursday !!!  How good is that ??  I forgot to mention, hot coffee and brew your own tea available all day as well.  Back at the suite there is an email from Lloyd with the scanned page attached I detach it and then forward it to the Insurer, within minutes there's a response from them thanking me for my prompt (?) action and hopes we continue to enjoy our holiday. A long day over and we head back to the suite.

Thursday 23 September

A great way to start the day, a hearty breakfast in the dinning room.  We head off to find the Hop On, Hop Off (HOHO) bus stop at the Space Needle, Seattle has turned on a grey wet day so we wear our rain-coats.  The park surrounding the Space Needle has some very impressive buildings scattered over a four block by four block area.  Decided to leave the trip to the observation desk until the next day.  Ask the security guy where the HOHO Bus stops ?? "I'll show you" he says and heads out the door and along a path and points out the HOHO bus at its stop. He attracts the attention of the driver and the bus waits patiently for us to turn up. I don't know where they find them, but the lass providing the commentary has a great sense of humour and a wealth of stories to keep us informed and amused.  We get off at the Pioneer Square with the recommendation that we do the Underground Tour.  We enjoyed almost two hours on this most amazing, informative and amusing tour amongst the foundations of the current buildings.  A quick late lunch and we pick up the HOHO Bus again and get off at the Pike Place Markets where we wander around for about an hour.  Most impressive array of flowers, fresh fruit and vege and at least three huge fish stalls. Back on the HOHO Bus and walk 'home' from the Space Needle stop. Spend some quiet time and sort out plans for tomorrow then down to the Happy Hour.  Spicy beef and chicken with rice, vegetables and salad greens, what a great way to end the day.

Friday 24 September

The famous Space Needle is first stop today. Located at the Seattle Center, it was built for the 1962 World's Fair, during which time nearly 20,000 people a day used the elevators, with over 2.3 million visitors in all for the World Fair. The Space Needle is 605 feet (184 m) high at its highest point and 138 feet (42 m) wide at its widest point and weighs 9,550 tons. When it was completed it was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River. It is built to withstand winds of up to 200 mph (320 km/h) and earthquakes of up to 9.1 magnitude, which would protect the structure against an earthquake as powerful as the 1700 Cascadia earthquake. The tower also has 25 lightning rods on its roof to prevent lightning damage.

The Space Needle features an observation deck at 520 feet (160 m), and a gift shop with the rotating SkyCity restaurant at 500 feet (152 m). From the top of the Needle, one can see not only the Downtown Seattle skyline, but also the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, Elliott Bay and surrounding islands. Photographs of the Seattle skyline often show the Space Needle in a prominent position, even appearing to tower above the rest of the city's skyscrapers, as well as Mount Rainier in the background. This occurs because the tower, which is equivalent in height to a 60-story building, stands roughly four-fifths of a mile (1.3 km) north-west of most downtown skyscrapers. (Lifted from Wikipedia).

The weather wasn't great but we managed to take a few photographs anyway. Used the HOHO Bus to get us down to the wharf area and bought two ferry tickets to Bainbridge Island for a total of US$6.90, yes, both of us and a round trip. The ferry trip is about 35 minutes and the vessel carries up to 200 vehicles plus about 2000 passengers. It has the feel of a cruise ship with ample seating and an extensive restaurant. We got off at Bainbridge Island and walked to the town centre, a pretty little town and apparently a magnet for young, active people interested in outdoor activities. We were there for just the hour and headed back to Seattle on the next service. Had a hot lunch aboard the ferry which was quite good value. All in all a very efficient and professional service run by the State.
Back to the start point on the HOHO Bus and back to the Hotel. Time to do some laundry and a light dinner. Tomorrow we check out and start the cruise on the Norwegian Star.

Catch up with you from Vancouver.

Posted by greynomadm 18:40 Archived in USA

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Comments

Sounds like you guys are having a blast! I thought miserable weather in Seattle was normal? :-)

Love to you both from all of us here.

by DrTard

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