After a great night`s sleep (gotta love a new bed) we woke up refreshed, relaxed and ready to take on another day exploring the city. During my research on touristy things to do in Seattle I found out that a great alternative to one of those harbour tours (and considerably cheaper) was to take the ferry to Bainbridge Island. The ferry docks were maybe a half hour or so walk from our hotel so easily done AND we were already going to be walking in that direction to take in the Pike Place Market.
We opted to not eat the continental (with optional hot items from a fixed menu) and instead find a local eatery somewhere between the hotel and the waterfront. Thanks to the internet we found a place (darn if the name of it doesn`t escape me at the moment) which had the typical breakfast fare but the staff were friendly and the environment pleasant. The bonus was it WASN`T full of hotel guests fighting for a space to eat in the small dining area or the various seating areas in the lobby.
There were plenty of tourists milling about and the touristy shops were doing a brisk business already. I was amused to see that even several years after the Frasier show was off the air the stores were still capitalizing on it. I suppose they wouldn`t be if there wasn`t a market for it.
One of the options for touring the city is the “duck tours”. They are these amphibious vehicles that are driven by ‘wacky drivers’ and after driving you around to various Seattle sites would drive you straight into the water. I`m sorry but the drivers would drive me straight into insane myself so no thanks! I guess they are pretty popular though as we always saw TONS of them and they were always full.
We found the ferry dock and the next ferry to Bainbridge was a little more than half hour`s wait so we bought our tickets and settled down to wait.
See, $6.90 was all it was going to cost for a half hour each way (RETURN) ferry ride that would give us a panoramic view of the city. Excellent deal! Not to mention it wasn`t a small boat crammed to the gills with tourists. There was plenty of elbow room and plenty of outdoor seating (indoor for those that like that too).
The terminal is old and certainly not fancy but the ferries run pretty often so it isn`t like you have to sit in there for hours on end. There was quite a number of people waiting to get on. Across from us was a Nanny with a small child in her care. She was recognised by I would assume the neighbour of the child`s parents and they were chatting so I couldn`t help but overhear. So the Nanny was over on the mainland with the kid to go the aquarium and was taking the kid back to the Island which was home. I was already jealous of the fact the kid`s parents lived on the island and was even more so once I saw the gorgeous homes ON the island. I`m guessing if the parents can afford to live there AND have a Nanny they owned one of those nice homes.
We were still sitting when a ton of people started to form a line to get through the turnstiles. I never get why people are so anxious to get in line to get on a plane or boat when there is either reserved seating or plenty of seating. I mean I get it if it is festival seating at a concert or something but in this case EVERYONE is going to get a seat somewhere. Meh whatever. So we waited until the line cleared and made our way on board. There were still cars making their way onto the car decks so there was a bit of time to walk around and check out the decks before we settled near the back to get a good view of the city as we pulled away.
I love the ferry ride to Vancouver Island don’t get me wrong, (it is certainly longer than the ride to Bainbridge) but you do not get the amazing view like the ferry from Seattle. First of all our ferry docks are not right smack in the middle of the city, they are in suburbs kind of off the beaten track. But wow, Seattle? Gorgeous!! Seriously, if you’re ever there DO THIS!
The ride goes by pretty quickly and before you know it you’re gliding into the dock on the other end. The captain docked beautifully, nary a bump.
The terminal on the other end is even smaller (of course) than the other end. We were debating if we would explore the island or just head back as we had plans to check out the Pike Place Market. We opted to leave Bainbridge for another time (we hadn’t really researched it much and had no real idea where to go anyway) and just hop that same ferry back to the mainland. They require all passengers to disembark so you need to go into the terminal before getting back on. This gave us time to hit the washroom and miss the line of the the people standing to get on the return trip. By the time we made our way back to the boat the line had cleared and we still had plenty of time to board.
Here is a view of the city from the island… not bad eh?
Oh and see what I mean about the homes?
Okay we will take two!
We spent the entire ride outside and I spent most of it looking through my hair. I would have killed for a hair band or a pony-tail holder, it made it really hard to take pictures.
For the ride back we spent some of the time in the sheltered area which while I love being blasted by the sea wind it was nice to be able to see a little more of the sites!
After we docked once again on the Seattle mainland we took the walkway that led to the main drag and walked back towards Pike Place. Of course we had to grab a shot or two of the sign.
Nobody BOUGHT a fish while we were there, everyone was waiting for someone to throw a fish but no fish was thrown. We couldn’t stand the fishy smell any longer and who knows how long it would have taken so we left and walked into the market.
Personally I found the place didn’t live up to the hype. Sure the produce and fish and whatnot may be good if you’re a local but it was full of stores I had no interest in checking out and it was insanely crowded. I guess some people may find it fun but it really wasn’t our scene so we didn’t stay there long.
We walked for a ways checking out downtown and then made our way to a monorail station in the mall to grab that back to the Space Needle (had to ride it at least once!)
When we got back to the Space Needle we saw that our decision to pay for the extra trip up the day we arrived was the smartest EVER. Remember how I said we just walked on the day before. Um… different story this day. This would be HOURS of waiting….
We went back to the hotel to relax for a bit and then headed out to dinner at Maggianos. I don’t have any pictures of it cos we were sat kind of in the middle of the restaurant where the waiters flew back and forth (my one beef about it) and it was really kind of dark in there. The food however was first-rate. I have a new favourite now, the four cheese ravioli oh serious yummmm.
After dinner we had our in-room wine and watched one of the movies I had on my netbook cos the TV selection was terrible. Tom had his laptop which had a bigger screen so we copied the movie over there and snuggled up to his 15 inch screen on the foot-stool. A bit of a downgrade from the big screen TV but it did nicely.