By Charlene Mixa
Everyone loves Seattle! This vibrant city sits on the Pacific Rim with panoramic views of Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands, the Olympic Mountain Range and majestic Mount Rainier. It boasts of coffee, Bill Gates, Boeing, the Space Needle, Pike’s Market and being the nation’s most educated city. While offering its residents a high quality of life the Emerald City provides tourists a memorable visit.
Attempting to see all this exciting city has to offer in less than two days presents a challenge for my husband and I. Arriving in Seattle from the North our first stop is the Boeing Plant. Approaching the plant, we quickly realize there is a union strike and assume it will limit any tours. We are pleasantly surprised there is still plenty to see without the full plant tour.
The Future of Flight showcases the Boeing Company and the various jetliners it manufactures – the 747, 767 and 777. Comparisons between the original jetliners and the newest jetliner the 787 Dreamliner are awesome. A section of the Dreamliner fuselage sits next to an original PanAm fuselage dwarfing it. This new plane comes with all the latest bells and whistles. The 787’s aircraft cabin will be more comfortable with a cabin pressure of 6,500 feet instead of the current 8,500 feet. Our tour guide explains the lower cabin pressure will decreases the “feeling” of jetlag passengers experience. The interior will feature dynamic lighting and electronic window shades that allows passengers to adjust the transparency. Amazing!
The tour includes a bus trip around the plant where we view the largest building in the world by volume (472,000,000 cubic feet). The movie, tour of the flight areas, old war birds and planes is well worth it.
With only a day left to experience the Emerald City we stop by the Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau. Not only do they recommend the Show Me Seattle Tour, the lady makes the reservations on the spot and in less than an hour we are on this 3-hour tour of Seattle. The day is overcast but not raining. Actually, Seattle is not really a “rainy city”; however, it does have cloudy skies 226 days a year and mild temperatures. Our Show Me Tour includes sights in Downtown Seattle of The Pike’s Place Farmers Market, Starbuck’s Coffee Shop and the Fish Markets.
Seattle’s Waterfront is exciting with many of Seattle’s water-based businesses. Our driver explains that most of Alaska’s commercial fishing is actually based out of Seattle. The current television show “Deadliest Catch” portrays the extraordinary challenges of this occupation.
The outstanding views of the Seattle from our stop at Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill showcase the city. Our guide quickly takes photos of each couple with Seattle’s skyline as the background. Even on a cloudy day the city sites of the Space Needle, the downtown skyline, Puget sound and the sports arenas are all visible.
The Ballard Locks has a Salmon Ladder to help salmon swim upstream. The salmon are heading back to spawn and underground windows allow a view the salmon ladder. Watching the salmon fight swimming against the current to reach their spawning grounds is astounding. The Ballard Locks are the second largest locks in the U. S. and the busiest. The locks are closed as we arrive. Boats line up and wait for the water to rise to make the transition from the salt-water of Puget Sound to the fresh water of Lake Washington. The blare of the horn signaling the gates are opening creates a lot of commotion as the spectators on the walkway atop the locks’ scurry off to safety. As the locks slowing open, the waiting boats quickly move through this doorway to Lake Washington.
The Giant Troll Bridge is the next stop on our tour. The Troll is huge sand carved figure with the troll lurking under the Aurora Bridge holding a VW bug in one hand. The Troll serves as the protector and guardian of the Aurora Bridge. The Troll has one silver eye which we recognize as a VW hubcap. Other sites are views of Seattle’s floating homes which are most impressive, including the floating home from “Sleepless in Seattle”.
The tour ends with us being dropped off by Pike’s Market Place. After a lunch of fabulous clam chowder at Pike Place Chowder, we wonder through the Market. Bright booths and stands boasting colorful fresh cut flowers, wonderful vegetables and fruits fill the Market Place. With each step and turn there is another burst colors in this gray city. The Fish Markets are alive with excitement as the employees yell back and forth ‘throwing” the fish for purchase. One market employee throws a fish to a customer who catches it with a panicked look only to find out it is a fake. The market erupts in laughter as everyone enjoys the joke.
A quartet is singing and dancing outside Starbucks. After clapping and singing along with a few songs, we walk around the downtown area seeking some specialty shops. Our day in Seattle ends with a nice quiet dinner near our hotel by the airport. Despite our short stay, the Show Me Seattle Tour gave us terrific insight into this dynamic city.
For more information on the Show Me Seattle Tours and their other tours contact:
Show Me Seattle Tours
206.633-CITY (2489) or www.showmeseattle.com