Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

My Darling B and I on the ferry across Puget Sound to BremertonFirst thing in the morning we did after cleaning up and dressing was head down to the lobby for some waffles and a steaming hot cuppa joe at the coffee shop next to the lobby. Wake me up! I had waffles slathered with Nutella and maple syrup; how decadent is that?

Besides breakfast, the first touristy thing we did today was take the ferry to Bremerton to see Seattle and the surrounding cities from Puget Sound. Also, to visit Puget Sound Navy Yard because lately I’ve been reading a lot about my favorite aircraft carrier, Saratoga, (What? You don’t have a favorite aircraft carrier?) and she spent a lot of time there, so I just kinda wanted to be one of the places she’s been.

(My dream vacation, believe it or not, would be a week in the South Pacific so I could spend at least a day, maybe two, diving to Saratoga’s final resting place, often described as one of the best wreck dives anywhere. I’m getting a little long in the tooth for that kind of thing now, so it’ll probably always be a dream. But what a dream.)

(A visit to San Diego, Saratoga’s home port, would be a close second. That might actually happen. Watch this space.)

To make it easier for foot traffic to reach the pier where the ferry docks, there’s a bridge over the highway that cuts off the waterfront from the city (they’re going to replace that with a tunnel and knock it down soon). For safety’s sake because it’s way up in the air, the bridge has a low chain-link fence on either side, and along one short stretch of it there are maybe a hundred padlocks hanging from it. We weren’t sure what was going on here until we noticed the names. Each of the padlocks has a name engraved or written on it. Some of them have the names of couples, some have just one (shipped?) name. Thanks, humanity! Much more heartwarming than smooshing your bubblegum on the wall.

Seattle WA padlocks on fence

On to Bremerton! We had beautiful weather for the crossing, clear, sunny skies but just a little chilly. I wanted to stand on the deck and got to do that most of the trip, but on the way over we were going into the wind and the ferry was hustling along at maybe thirty or forty miles per hour, so it was a pretty stiff wind and my jacket wasn’t thick enough to keep me warm. On the way back, not so bad, so I spent more time outside watching the water go by and Seattle get bigger in front of us.

B got pooped on by a pigeon in Pioneer Square! This is the third or fourth time she’s been pooped on! The woman’s a poop magnet! She seems to think this is my fault. It does seem to happen mostly when she’s in my company, but I don’t think that’s a defence that would hold up in court.

We were in Pioneer Square to buy tickets for the tour of Seattle’s underground. After most of Seattle’s business district burned down in 1889, the city’s administrators convinced businessmen to let them rebuild the city with elevated streets that would eventually be connected to second-floor entrances of all the downtown buildings, to take care of a problem the city had with incoming tides pushing sewage back into the streets. Yuck! The tour goes through the underground spaces that still lie between the streets and the buildings.

It was three o’clock when B got pooped on and the tour didn’t start until four, so we had some time to kill, and what better way to kill it than to visit a cafe for an afternoon pick-me-up? We went just around the corner to the Cherry Street Coffee House where I sipped an espresso while B enjoyed a chai latte at a streetside table. After we finished our refreshments, we ambled down First Street to look at the old buildings that date back to the reconstruction of the city after the fire.

tour of Seattle Underground

Clay was our guide for the tour. A natural born story-teller, he explained all about the fires and floods and sewers as he led us on a good long tramp through the dank spaces beneath three or four city blocks with maybe forty people in tow.

After the tour, I heard Clay tell another couple that one of the best views in the city is from the top of Smith Tower. Of course we went, and of course we got there only to arrive just in time for the observation deck to close. Bummer.

So I guess it’s time for a beer then, eh? We headed back to First Street, taking a short cut through Occidental Park. Nothing much to see there; if that was one of the places on your itinerary to Seattle, I’d say skip it. Down on the far end of First Street, long past the businesses that were still open, we finally came to the Elysium Fields brewpub. This is where they brewed the beer that we enjoyed at the Elysium bar earlier in our visit.

We stayed for just one beer at Elysium Fields before crossing a vast empty parking lot behind the train stn to get to the International Market in a dark corner of the city. B wanted to see it because it was supposed to have one of the best Japanese book stores around. I never seriously studied Japanese, so I didn’t get into it as much as she did, but I was just as impressed by the Japanese grocery store and the Japanese noodle shops tucked away inside the same mall. It was almost like being in Japan again. B managed to find her favorite snack food in the grocery store, something called kah kee no tay nay: rice crackers with peanuts. She went home a happy camper.

pacnw day 6 | 6:32 am CST
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