When planning our visit to the city of Seattle, we decided that we didn't want to drive into the city because driving into a downtown area of any city tends to be stressful. After some investigation, we figured we'd take the Central Link (light-rail transit) from the Tukwila parking lot to downtown Seattle. Here again, we were lucky: this link had opened on Monday, and this was Wednesday: we were riding on the third day of operation. It was great! They had very friendly people there helping everyone get tickets.
One thing I especially liked about this ride was that there was a lot of art along the whole line. In the Tukwila station there was a hanging milk drop splashing into water and molecular-type structure with short phrases about what people liked about the area. Apparently there were 33 or 35 pieces of art along the whole line. It was cool.
We'd done quite a lot over the last two days and wanted to take it easier this day. So our plan was to take the Underground Tour, then wander through Pike's Market, and finally go to the Science Fiction Museum including the Experience Music Project.
We highly recommend the Underground Tour: it only costs $15, leaves every hour on the hour, and takes about 90 minutes. We very much enjoyed it and thought it was well worth the time and money. That part of the city was originally built on tidal mudflats with additional buildings atop a huge cliff. A huge fire cleared out the area so they elected to rebuild, but this time, they wanted to have better sanitation with a better grade, and to not have problems with the tide and mudflats. So what they wanted to do was take the dirt from the big cliff and make a lovely graded hill.
The business people didn't want to wait for them to do that, so they went ahead and built buildings knowing full well that the first floor (at least) would be hidden after the grading was complete. Those first floors are what make up the Underground. Some businesses use their Underground spaces but not all of them, and some had been rediscovered. The tour includes some history about the kinds of business that there were as well as construction techniques and whatnot. It was awesome.
Once the tour was over, we had a bite and then walked down to Pike's Place Market. Apparently one of the "things to see" there are fish being flung, but we didn't see that. It was very busy and kind of interesting, like any market. We saw the original Starbucks there and a bunch of vendors and stuff but we didn't buy anything.
From there, we wandered down to the Science Fiction museum next to the Space Needle. We didn't see the needle because we have the CN Tower in Toronto and we've both been up that. Anyways, the Science Fiction museum building was designed by Frank Gehry; personally, I loved the way the building looks but apparently many people think that it's ugly.
The museum was awesome. The museum is divided up into different sections according to idea, or subject, I guess, so there's a "what if?" section, an "armor" section, a "weapons" section, and so on. In each section are books, comics, posters, and movie and television artifacts like scripts. There were also interactive exhibits and stuff.
The very best part of the museum was the Jim Henson exhibit. It was awesome! There were walls covered with muppet fur, and sketches, and storyboards, and even some of the commercials that he'd done in his early career. So you could see the actual storyboards or sketches for the different commercials, and that was really neat. There was one sketch that showed what Jim Henson wanted for Bert and Ernie - it was one page with some scribbles. So you could see that the puppet-makers had as much to do with the final product as Jim Henson's ideas.
There was also an Experience Music Project at the museum which looked interesting, but unfortunately we were exhausted by that point so we didn't go through there. So we went back to the car and went out to eat. After that, I had a little ... breakdown? temper tantrum? I don't know the right name for it. I was exhausted and just wanted to stop moving but we weren't able to stop just then. You see, we knew that we'd be better off the next day if we drove that night, even if it meant me pushing myself even further that night.
So we did that, but I kind of wish we hadn't because I was already so exhausted and pushing myself further didn't help that. I'd been having a hard time getting to a new place late each night and then getting up and going, going, going all the next day. I felt like I wasn't getting enough chances to relax and regroup making me feel emotionally overwhelmed. And I was in pain. I'd way, way, way overdone it the two days before and that day so my hips, back, and knees were in agony.
Don't get me wrong: I was having a great time and I enjoyed seeing what I did (and I wanted to see more!), but I'd definitely pushed myself too far. I think I might have been better off if we had had a "home base" for more than one night at a time, as had been my original plan, or if we'd done less each day. Of course it's hard to do less because when you're on vacation somewhere you want to experience as much as you possibly can. So I think I should have planned to see fewer sites in the first place. Live and learn.
Fortunately, a big cry, a hot bath, and a good night's sleep did me a world of good that night and I was ok for the next day... which I'll talk about in my next trip post. I don't have pictures of that stuff ready yet. :)
We did take a number of pictures while we were in Seattle, and they're available here for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy