Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A day in Seattle with relatives

Woke up today to this sight from my room window, overviewing the harbor across my hotel. I have been here in the U.S.A. since February 9 primarily for a trip to attend company conferences and trainings which ended yesterday. The view outside is a good start for my extended trip as I will be on leave for a week. 
Hastily, I went outside to check out the scene.
For a couple of weeks already, I've been jumping hotels in the state as I attended different sessions from different places (and cities too), which started in Courtyard Seattle Bellevue/Downtown (Bellevue), then Red Lion Hotel Fifth Avenue and until today staying here in Seattle Marriott Waterfront.
The entrance to the hotel is very inviting to guests staying at this hotel. Very cozy and comfortable amidst the cold weather outside the hotel.
lobby area
As breakfast wasn't part of the rate (USD149++/night for 2 Double Bed Guest Room), I always have my breakfast at a coffee shop near Pike Place Market (Tully's Coffee), a well known coffee chain based here in Seattle, Washington.
Near Pike Place Market, I was surprised to see the same dog at the driver side of the same truck 3 years ago.
I have some relatives who relocated in a city just outside Seattle (Everett) less than a year back. My mom arrived here in the city yesterday for a vacation (with me) and both of us were picked up by them earlier today (after we checked out early) so they can tour us around, although admittedly they told us they weren't that familiar with Seattle as Everett, where they live, is roughly around 27 miles away. Our first stop was at Seattle Center, just to roam around the area while waiting our tour later in the morning.
Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church
The main piece is the Space Needle, a tower built during 1962 World Fair. It is today an iconic landmark of the city.
me and my cousin Hannah
We bought tickets for an 11:00AM tour of Ride the Ducks (USD25 each). Minutes before the said time, we crossed the street to get to its starting point, which is just across Seattle Center.
The 1.5 hours tour riding an amphibious vehicle (advertised as 1 hour on land, 30 minutes over water) was driven by a very eager tour guide and the tour is supposed to be a fun one and not serious as their guides are supposed to be very comedic.
The first part is a drive around the city, including the following points of interest:
Cruise Terminal
Our guide was very engaging. He kept changing hats to prove his point (and mood) and requests for participation from his audience.
old buildings
Qwest Field
old Washington State Ferries ad 
around Seattle
Smith Tower. built in 1914
Pioneer Building in Pioneer Square
Seattle Arts Museum
Then we went to a dock which will be the jump off point for our water tour. As an amphibious vehicle, our ride easily made it (and waded through) the water.
luxury ships 
house boats, lots of them here in Seattle!
Gas Works Park
Aurora Bridge
more houseboats!
houseboat used when filiming "Sleepless in Seattle" movie
Seattle skyline
the iconic Space needle as viewed from the cruise
Seattle buildings as viewed from the cruise
still more houseboats!
parking area?
for sale, care to buy?
The tour ended where we started (near Seattle Center). By that time, we were very hungry already and were looking for lunch. On the way, we passed by the currently under construction Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation building.
We had our (late) lunch at Genki Sushi. The place is Kaiten style or where the sushi plates are placed on conveyor belts.
The chef prepares the sushi fresh and places it on the conveyor belt.
And these were the items we munched on!!
sashimi paste
noodle soup
After lunch, our last stop was at the University of Washington (or they call it as UDub). The university was established in 1861 and among the best in west coast.
What I like about the campus is its old charm and serenity. It feels so quiet and peaceful and seems to me very conducive for learning (and extra-curricular activities).
After this, we were dropped off at a bus station en-route to our next journey. See you again soon tita Grace and Hannah in a few days!

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