On our last day with Steve and Marie, we took both their minivan and our van across Puget Sound to Seattle on the Kingston to Edmonds ferry. Then we left our van at Trader Joe’s in Lynnwood and all rode in their car down to Seattle, which was a good idea, since our van would not fit in the parking garages downtown.
We began our tour at Kerry Park, where we got the classic view out over the city from this mountainside park. The Space Needle, the skyscrapers, and the port were all laid out before us. What we didn’t see was Mt. Rainier, because the weather was cloudy and drizzly, in other words, a typical Seattle day. However, that didn’t stop us as we continued up and down the steep streets until we arrived near the waterfront and parked near Pike’s Place, the famous waterfront market, which sits on the side of a hill and has three or more levels, some shops inside and some outdoors.
As we walked past hundreds of shops, and the original Starbucks, we were reminded briefly of the crowded marketplace streets of Old Jerusalem. There were shops for everything imaginable, from flowers in huge bouquets for a very low price, to all varieties of ethnic food and wares, jewelry, paintings, postcards, and of course, the fish! We looked a lot and bought very little. We did, however, share a cannoli and bought some postcards. We had decided to visit some spots from “Sleepless in Seattle,” and the first was at Pike’s Place, where we saw the restaurant where Rob Reiner and Tom Hanks discuss dating in the 90s. There are even plaques marking their stools.
After leaving Pike’s Place, we went across the street to the aquarium, didn’t go in, but looked at a display of local sea creatures in a tank along the outside wall. Then it was off to Alki Beach to see more scenes from the movie, and then on to Lake Union to see the houseboats, including the one used in the movie. After that we went to see a troll under a bridge, then headed back to where our van was, said goodbye to Steve and Marie, and headed on north toward Vancouver before stopping for the night.
Reflecting on our time in this beautiful, lovely, and diverse city, we could see why so many people love living there, despite the inconveniences that are always part of living in a big city. We could see that we had only scratched the surface of this diverse metropolis, and that we could walk its streets for many months and still not know the city. We could meet people of many languages and cultures, eat in a different ethnic restaurant every day, and take more colorful photos than we would know what to do with (actually, we did that already). We saw impressive, lovely neighborhoods with multi-million dollar homes, and also aging cities on the outskirts, where life is not easy and the despair of hopelessness and meaninglessness is more obvious. Even so, it’s one of those places where you wish you could live for six months at least, just to become acquainted with it.