But it all turned out well and was a super memorable vacation. The only downside...I felt slightly guilty that we were on a "family" vacation without Rebekah!
Ready for vacation picture palooza?
We flew into Seattle early morning, rented our car and drove straight to the hotel, which was just one block away from the Seattle Space Needle. Even though we were there hours before official check-in time, our room was ready and we were able to get settled before heading out to find some breakfast and start our day's adventures.
We found the famous gum wall. The kids were equal parts fascinated and grossed out. As was appropriate for the occasion. Why has this gum wall become a thing? I mean, I realize that people have been sticking their gum in inappropriate places for years...usually under restaurant tables and school desks. But how did one person stick their gum on a wall in a dark alleyway in Seattle, and others follow suit until it became a tourist attraction? How did that even get started to begin with? Seems a little bizarre. But certainly colorful and interesting. In a very "ewwww" sort of way.
And not that we were really anywhere near close to being done with the awesomeness that is Pikes Place Market, but we decided we needed to give the boys a break so we walked for a few blocks further to Pioneer Square and I convinced everyone that we should go on Bill Speidel's World Famous Underground Tour. The rather humorous tour takes you below the city to see what's left of storefronts and sidewalks that were original to Seattle before the great fire of 1889 when Seattle then rebuilt on top of itself. There's lots of history, lots of ghosts stories and lots of laughing.
The next day we woke up early, walked over to the Space Needle and headed on up. It was super chilly up there. But oh so beautiful! And what a view. We spent quite a few hours on top of the needle. Because not only could you walk all around the observation deck outside, but there was much to see inside as well...lots of interactive displays about the Space Needle specifically and Seattle generally. They also had a little a Starbucks (of course) so we grabbed some hot chocolate to warm us up when we were outside.
The Space Needle is just one attraction in the middle of what is called the Seattle Center, housing multiple museums, playgrounds, grassy areas, fountains and a convention center...just a really neat place for people to gather. When we got down from the Space Needle we discovered that a huge virtual reality gaming competition sort of thing was going on in the convention center. Outside were various activities for spectators. Bryan, Julianne and Brandon got the opportunity to go inside a big tent and try out some virtual reality gaming. Supposedly they were actually inside the game...which meant they could see and react to what was going on, though the actual players were not able to see them, so they weren't interrupting real play.
We took the monorail back down to the waters edge and to the Pikes Place Market for some more shopping and lunch in the afternoon. Brandon discovered the very first Starbucks. And I rediscovered the awesome map store that was one of my very favorite finds of my first trip to Seattle. Have I mentioned that I am a little bit obsessed with maps and globes? And Pikes Place Market? Happy, happy, happy.
A little anecdote: we were walking down a side alley and Julianne was singing, as she is prone to do. Up ahead a girl was packing up her guitar into a case when she heard Julianne. She flipped around and walked right over to her. She was a street musician, she told Julianne. Had Julianne ever considered singing for tips? Because boy howdy, with a voice like hers, she could make lots of money. Julianne said she'd think about it and then the girl went on her way. But it was fun to see the little smile on Julianne's face as we continued down the alley. You could tell she kind of liked the idea.
Up next: Oregon coastline and the Redwood Forest.