The Astro-Tourist’s Guide to Seattle: Cruising the Space Needle

As much as I loved being a hipster in Seattle, it was time to take my tourist-ing to an out-of-this-world level and visit the Space Needle.

I thought that after living in Toronto for years under the shadow of the CN tower would have taken away from the novelty of tall buildings that were tall just for the sake of being tall. However, I still found the Space Needle endlessly exciting.

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The walkway leading up to the tower was filled with blown glass art at the Chihuly Garden and Glass

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Just chillin in a glass garden, ya know!

 

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And then there was a whole “underwater” gallery!

 

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The work was an awesome explosion of life, inspired by Seattle’s Puget Sound

 

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Pretty colours ^_^

 

Oh yeah, there was also this cool tall building

Oh yeah, there was also this cool tall building

...with spiffy binoculars!

…with spiffy binoculars!

...binoculars that looked a little bit like the robot Wall-E to be honest

…binoculars that looked a little bit like the robot Wall-E to be honest

Loving the view!

Loving the view!

Also loving the Space Needle app that inserted animations into photos you took on your smartphone!

Also loving (maybe a bit too much) the Space Needle app that inserted animations into photos you took on your smartphone!

 

A Hungry Hipster’s Guide to Pike Place Market

All of my tourist-ing was working up quite an appetite, but luckily, if there’s one thing Pike Place has a never ending supply of, it’s good food!

My first stop was Beechers Handmade Cheese. As an authentically artisanal cheese shop, Beechers’ cheeses are handcrafted using all-natural local ingredients. The milk is antibiotic-free (no hormones or additives) and is delivered to the shop within hours of milking. As all of the cheese is made directly on sight

...In plain sight, might I add

…In plain sight, might I add

To turn the milk into cheese, it’s first pasturized by being heated to 73C for 24 seconds in order to eliminate harmful bacteria. Then, it is cooled back down to 32C and placed in a Make Vat, where it forms into clumps (“curds”) that when cut and sized spit out gooey liquids (“whey”).

From here, the curds are stacked, squeezed and placed in hoops to get more and more whey out of the way as it ages.

Ending in a delicious result Little Miss Muffet would approve of!

Ending in a delicious result Little Miss Muffet would approve of!

I was now moving on to the birthplace of hipster-ism: the first ever Starbucks! This place got it’s start in 1971, so I’m actually quite impressed it took off so well, considering this was before wifi was a service it could offer its customers!

It might just have had something to do with the delicious drip coffee (I tried my best not to laugh at the employees using a watering can on my coffee)

It might just have had something to do with the delicious drip coffee (I tried my best not to laugh at the employees using a watering can on my coffee)

Personally though, I think the popularity came at least in part from the risk-y logo ;)

Personally though, I think the popularity came at least in part from the risk-y logo ;)

From there, it was time to hit the arcade!

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Because “arcades” are what the market areas are called

 

I literally cried tears of happiness sampling some spicy peppers

I literally cried tears of happiness sampling some spicy peppers

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With a Scoville Heat Unit of 1,001,304, I could feel the ghost pepper extract burning a hole through my tongue. It was AWESOME!!

 

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The guys at Pike Place Fish Co. were having way too much fun throwing their products around!

 

After what seemed like an endless deliberation of consulting every single person I passed that seemed like a Seattle local, I finally decided on lunch at the 3 Sisters.

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Just because there are very few things I love more in life than a restaurant with a funky design

 

…Other than a good sandwich, of course!!

…Other than a good sandwich, of course!!

A Hipster Tourist’s Guide to Seattle: An Introduction to Pike Place

Coming off my last travel rush from getting even 30minutes outside Whistler to Pemberton, I decided it was time to up my game again with a quick international excursion to Seattle. While admittedly I’d already been to the city and am not usually a fan of taking trips to a place I’ve already visited, I’m also less of a fan of saying “no” to any kind of trip at all.

With that, when a friend said, “I need to go to Seattle to renew a visa, wanna come and keep me from getting bored driving?” What I heard was, “I’m going on a sick road trip, wanna come on an adventure?” (Needless to say, I decided to come along.

Now, if there is one thing I should have learned in life by now, it’s that Google maps should not be trusted under ANY circumstance! Looking back, it’s completely laughable that they would quote the driving time from Whistler to Seattle at 4hours and 17minutes. Unless you’re driving in a post-apocalyptic scenario where there are 0 other cars on the road and no one at the border patrol, THIS IS A LIE. If you plan on making the trip, give yourself about twice that amount of time. I mean, all and all, the drive is right up along the west coast and is completely gorgeous anyways!

Once all the driving was out of the way, it was time to hit up what is now my favourite place in Seattle: Pike Place Market. Founded in 1907 as a way to help farmers connect with local buyers without having to go through over-inflated mark-ups by “The Man”, the market was the original hang out for hipsters, before doing things before they were cool was cool. Being the always-cool tourist I am, I couldn’t help but check out the sights, which you’re bombarded with as soon as you arrive at the iconic Public Market Center sign, which has been in place since 1937.

There are also about 1,000,000 post cards featuring this sign, it’s crazy

There are also about 1,000,000 post cards featuring this sign, it’s crazy

In an attempt to raise money for Seattle’s child care, food bank, medical clinic and seniors’ centre, Rachel the piggy bank was installed in 1986 in the centre of the market. Since then, she has been raising about $10,000 a year for her causes!

I wish I could make that much just hanging out in Pike Place Market all year!

I wish I could make that much just hanging out in Pike Place Market all year!

Next up was the quirky little Post Alley, home to one of the country’s most un-hygenic attractions, the Seattle gum wall. The wall was born in the 1990’s, when residents decided to create their own version of California’s bubblegum alley. Authorities tried to clean the walls up on several occasions, but eventually gave up and let the street develop into the selfie-worthy attraction it is today.

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Finally, I ended the day off with a quick stroll across the street to Seattle’s waterfront. Now, I haven’t met a waterfront I didn’t like and Seattle and its Great Wheel were certainly no exception!

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West Coasting

While I had a good few months in Toronto, the mountains were calling my name (louder than usual) and I eventually broke down and booked a one-way flight to Vancouver with Tom (an expensive last-minute flight – curse spontaneity). Within less half a week, I’d packed up my life (something I’ve gotten far too much practice at), said my final goodbye to Toronto and spent about 5,000,000hours getting delayed at the airport because (1) my longboard was apparently too big for carry-on (I guess it must have grown since the last time I flew with it) (2) Tom’s suitcase was too heavy (3) his other bag was oversized (4) our baggage attendant was too lazy to process our check-in and after re-packing our bags, we missed the luggage cut-off and had to take a later flight. After that eternity however, I was getting my first glimpse of the mountains and remembered why they were making such a fuss about needing me to come back and visit them.

Reunited with my loves at last!

Reunited with my loves at last!

From there, I checked out the city and Stanley Park and ate amazingly delicious sushi for days on end. However, one of the downsides of the city (and all of British Columbia) is the fact that everything is really expensive. Especially for things like skis and ski gear, which is expensive to begin with and are completely necessary for maximal mountain loving.

Any place with an Inukshuk is automatically awesome

Any place with an Inukshuk is automatically awesome

Silly hipster tree, growing horizontally because vertical growth is too mainstream

Silly hipster tree, growing horizontally because vertical growth is too mainstream

Yeah, I'm a statue!

Yeah, I’m a statue!

Massive trees!

Massive trees!

Pretty trees!

Pretty trees!

With that, it was time for another spontaneous trip: this time, to Seattle. To sum things up, it was an American whirlwind of shopping, football and shouting “Murica!” at fast food chains, overly popular university sports and weird money.

Murica!

Murica!

Go Sports!

Go Sports!

It was so much of a whirlwind, I ended up losing my passport during the day and a half long trip and terrified I wouldn’t be able to get back to my home country, I started desperately researching how long it would take / how much it would cost to get a replacement (15 days – waaaaay more time than I wanted to spend in Seattle and $300), if I could get across the boarder without one (yes, but I needed a birth certificate – which I only had a photocopy of and photo ID) and how I could sneak across the boarder (swim out to freezing international waters, drown and hope to wash up on a Canadian shoreline apparently). After a significant freak-out, I called up Canadian boarder control and explained my situation. As it turns out, Canada wants to let Canadians enter their country and apparently I’d be fine with a photocopy of my birth certificate and photo ID. Even with the re-assurance, I was shaking as I got to the border. In true overly nice Canadian style however, the border control agent didn’t question my lacking passport and I made it back in the country without a hassle. A few days after getting back in the country, I got a message on twitter from a lady saying she found my passport! Apparently she found it at the stadium, Googled my name and found my twitter account! I thanked her about 1,000 times when she said she’d mail it back to me and was even able to give her travel advice for going to Machu Pichuu after she asked me about it because of the stamp in my passport. So to anyone who thinks social media is a waste of time, NO! It’s passport-savingly useful!