Fish, Friends and Fireworks

My Independence Day weekend was absolutely fabulous!
After hastily changing all of my lone travel plans and instead getting a lift with some new friends, I headed to Seattle last saturday morning. To give you a minute-by-minute account of all that happened would take far too long, but I hope I can give you some of my personal highlights.
Seattle is a wonderful city, sitting on a huge harbour in a bay, looking out at the Olympic Mountains to the Northwest and South to Mt Rainier. Now I'm a city lover at the best of times, and after the quiet of Richland, I was ready to take in the delights of Seattle to their full value. We bought city passes, giving us free entry to the Space Needle, the Aquarium, the Sci-fi Museum/Experience Music Project, and a free hour-long harbour cruise.

Despite what I had heard about the rain in Seattle, the weather was absolutely beautiful all weekend, and the views from the top of the Space Needle were fantastic. The Space Needle itself is pretty spectacular, though it was difficult to get a really good picture of it until we headed out on the harbour cruise. That cruise was wonderful. The guide was excellent and just being sat out in the glistening harbour in all that sunshine was enough. The guide pointed out Frasier's supposed residence (although the series wasn't really shot there) as well as a tower which was built with a Chinese room on the top floor (the Smith Building). A chair in the Chinese room called the wishing chair is rumoured to bring marriage to the women who sit in it within a year. Sadly, whilst it is free to take the elevator to the top, it is $7 to go back down, and I could not convince the boys (the other girls had gone home by this point) of the wishing chair's worth for this price!

The Aquarium was good fun, though more I suspect because of all of the opportunities to pose and take daft photos with various props and fancy dress in the gift shop. They had a brilliant display entitled "Ocean Oddities" which was basically a fish freak show, including an absurdly huge tube fish, big round fish with smiley faces and teeny tiny seahorses.
As well as seeing fish in the Aquarium, the Pike Place Market on the harbour front featured a huge fish market, in which your fish order is literally thrown from person to person to speed up the selling process. Inspired by so much seafood splendour, I had my first taste of scallops at the fabulous Earth and Ocean restaurant on the first night (verdict: delicious), followed by my first oyster the following evening (verdict: revolting!).

Visiting the Freemont Troll was another highlight of the trip. Under one of the bridges that crosses Seattle's lake, someone has carved a huge troll from the rock. Before we visited, I was shocked to learn that some of our gang weren't familiar with the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff (and thus, I reasoned, couldn't properly appreciate the troll under the bridge), so I related it to them in my best primary school teacher voice. It's just as well I did too - we saw three metal goats at the bottom of the hill below the troll!
The weekend was finished off on Monday evening with a 4th of July firework display. We headed to GasWorks Park, where we ate fried chicken and waffle fries and waited for the sun to set. Just before the fireworks began, the American National Anthem was played through enormous speakers. For me, standing in the dark evening on the edge of a lake, surrounded by hundreds of people all standing in silence or singing along with the Star-Spangled Banner was one of the best moments from the whole trip. That, and forty minutes of the best fireworks I have ever seen finished off a truly unforgettable weekend.


  1. I don't think you need the help of a chair to "ensnare" a husband :-p


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