Seattle - back after 4 years and one month!
Jul 30, 2011
|Summer in Seattle
Friday 29th July 2011
So, breakfast is just the two of us – nice though it is we still get some “chat” from Steve! Then we are off to hand the car back and get to the airport for the 11.10am flight to Anchorage and then a 2 hour wait until we fly to Seattle. As usual we are early for the flight and get to sit our in the sun till it’s time to board.
Now this is a little plane – one seat on each side of the aisle – no toilet and no cabin service – the greeter at the door is in fact the co-pilot – not actually sure if it was a boy or a girl – kind of big tubby, baby faced sort of person!
However, the flight is good and we settle ourselves into the Alaskan Airlines, business class lounge and have a wee drinkie- though there is a polite notice – “No more than three drinks per visit” - So, does that mean that if you are stuck here – you can have three drinks, go back out of the lounge and come in again and have three more – and so on?
Then the three hour flight to Seattle – nice again in Business Class – space to stretch out – but the food is just OK.
We arrive in Seattle at 5.30pm and it’s 85 Deg F – hot for us folks just coming from the “north” – and we get on the courtesy phone to the hotel for a ride – “10 mins says the man” – well 20 mins later the bus mini- coach rolls up – but then it’s a very quick ride to the Ramada Inn – and check in is a breeze – So, we mention that we might need to stay an extra night – “Let us know pronto” he says as we are full tonight!
So, the room is OK – but no view – just the multi-story car park next door and although we have a “kitchenette” it has no hob, no plates or glasses and no cutlery! – But it does have a functioning fridge – so at least the wine will stay cool!
And back at reception we ask to stay the extra night – Oh, he says – all we have left is a 4th floor suite at 50% more than we are paying tonight – Gulp!
So, we have a bit of a good natured discussion about rates and stuff and we get it down a bit. And it is agreed that we, probably can move at 12 noon straight from one room to the other. So, we agree and off we go to find food and drink – yes, it is available in the Ramada – but it’s not that inviting!
So, off we traipse down to the road looking for (a) a booze shop and (b) a suitable place to park ourselves for food. Two gas stations later (both selling wine) we find ourselves in the Hilton Hotel (should we not have been here from the start?) and proceed to order drinks and dinner.
Next to us at the bar is a very tattooed bloke and a girlie – they chat and then argue and of course we try to listen in – It seems that he’s here to work - we think in a band – and she wants to be a tourist and so they have a bit of a disagreement! On the other side of us are more tattooed guys – and after a bit we realise that they are all part of the same group (and Carolyn comments that one of them – in profile – looks just like her first husband – and I know many of you will be asking how many she’s had – so, please email her on email@example.com and find out).
We eventually have a nice dinner – though we only order one meal that does us both. As we have decided to stay another night we ask the barman (who is a little on the older side) what we should do as a day trip tomorrow. So, he suggests we get the Light Rail train into town and get the ferry over to Bainbridge Island – 30 mins on the train and a bit more on the ferry – sounds good!
On the way home we stock up with essential provisions and then settle into our average room.
Saturday 30th July 2011
Another brilliant day dawns and we decide that the Bainbridge trip is a good idea. But we find that we have no hot water to shower, but we discover that it’s the whole hotel with no hot water – a problem with the boiler! So, we pack up and explain at reception that we are checking out – but we will be back later today to check in again into a different room.
Then we tootle off to catch the Light Rail from the airport – we are staying only minutes from there – and the tickets are cheap $2.75 for a one way or $5.50 for an all day pass – and there are no ticket barriers – just the odd roaming Ticket Inspector – though we are not asked to show ours. The trains are frequent – every 10 mins – and clean and mostly travel on elevated flyovers or alongside the road.
The train station in town at Pioneer Square is a wonder too – it’s underground, but shared with the busses and they use the same platforms – it’s pretty new and must have been constructed after all the buildings (some skyscrapers) were built – so, some tunnelling job – but an excellent solution to the traffic problems!
It is only a short walk to the ferry terminal, but we have just missed one and it’s 50 mins till the next –so we wander along the very busy front to kill time. The cost is again reasonable $7.10, but you only pay going westbound – so effectively that’s a round trip cost for us.
Once on board the ferry we find a nice place to sit in the sun and Carolyn goes off to find Neil a beer – fine way to start a Saturday!
At Bainbridge we wander the short main street – not so pretty with the present road works – and then check out 2 bars with decks and sea views. We plump for Doc’s Marina Grill and despite the queue for tables get a seat (without a table) outside in the sun. Drinks go down we order food – eat on our laps – more drink and have a nice time!
The journey home is fine – only a short wait for the train – which is quite busy and then straight back to the hotel.
At reception we check in again and have a heated discussion with the manager about a discount because of the water problem – He offers a 10% discount but we argue that’s not enough and he says 15% is the maximum he’s allowed to give. So, we say Ok – but we’ll have to write to head office and explain our displeasure. Then he gives us the room keys for a 1st floor room – No way pal. 4th Floor you said, top dollar room, the only one you had left – so you said!
So, he changes the keys and we get a nice 4th floor suite with a view! However, as we have to be at the airport by 5.00am we will not manage to make full use of the facilities.
Sunday 31st July 2011
The alarm goes at 4.30am – Shower, yes we have hot water today. Courtesy coach at 5.00am. Priority check in. as it’s Business Class. Security checks are pretty quick. Flying’s not so bad!
Then we try and get access to the Continental Airlines Presidents Lounge – no go – only available if it’s an International flight. Now I think that’s a bit of a swiz – you’ve paid top dollar for the flight and now you are deemed a second class citizen. Bah Humbug!
Still the airport has free Wi-Fi and we sit in the quiet until boarding. When we booked these tickets we could not get two seats together (one’s one row in front), so once on board we ask our fellow passengers to change seats and they agree.
This is a five hour flight across the country and the extra space is most welcome – the food is just so so. We get breakfast and then about an hour before landing we strangely get Milk and Cookies – What! Do they think we are 10 year olds?
With the time change it is now 3.00pm and we collect our hire car from Hertz quickly – no queue. Then we set off for the 2 hour drive to the Fullers in Media, Pennsylvania.
Even though we take a couple of wrong turnings we arrive without major incident or swearing between the driver and navigator!
It is great to see the family again – however Cameron is out working as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in an ambulance – good boy – so he’s not in till late.
More next time
Copyright Neil Tough@2011