Thursday, July 18, 2013

West Coast Vacation - Seattle Day 1

After being up too late, and trying to deal with our less than perfect hotel room, we ended up sleeping in a bit on our first morning in Seattle.  It was a Saturday, and it was a beautiful sunny day.  We weren't exactly sure how we wanted to spend our day, but soon decided it might be a nice day to check out the Woodland Park Zoo. 

We plugged the address into the GPS.  Our hotel was very close to one of the two main bridges across Lake Washington.  However, the bridge our hotel was near, was the toll bridge.  We decided that we should maybe avoid it this time, so we opted for a route that took us to the south and across the other bridge.

 (When we were driving across the bridge, we saw people running a marathon on the bridge!)

It has been almost a month since our trip, and when I think back to our time in Seattle, I think of the traffic and the crazy freeways.  The freeways are definitely efficient, but I feel like without the GPS it would have been difficult to know where to exit.  There are exits within exits, and roads on top of other roads.  When we were headed to the zoo, we ended up driving through a number of tunnels.  I am not sure if we were underground, but it was kind of freaky for us.  Once we got onto more of a side street, closer to the zoo, the traffic was bumper to bumper and slow moving.  We snuck through an intersection and the guy behind us tried to do the same, and got too close to us and bumped into the back of us.  Thankfully, it was a small bump with minimal damage caused (just a couple of marks on the bumper from the bolts holding on his license plate).  By this point we were not feeling too thrilled about this city that we had been really excited to visit.  But we made it to the zoo, and after circling the very busy parking lot for a good 20-30 minutes we managed to snag a parking spot. 

I did not have really high expectations for the zoo.  I hadn't read a lot about it, but I expected maybe something like Edmonton's zoo (maybe comparable to the Forestry Farm, but more exotic animals).  However, the Woodland Park Zoo was quite impressive.  They have a lot of exotic animals, and their enclosures are very extensive.  Not just cages, more like natural habitats for the animals.  We spent the afternoon there, and even though it was busy, it was quite enjoyable.  I did spent a lot of time pushing Jay and slowing him down, as it was quite a hilly zoo.

(I notice that we started to get a bit lazier with taking photos as the trip progressed.  These were the only pictures we had from the zoo.) 

When we were done at the zoo, we knew we were near a park that Jay had heard about, that we wanted to check out.  So we headed in that direction.  When we got close we started to see crowds of people heading down the sidewalks.  Then eventually we ran into barricades and streets full of people.  There were police directing traffic, so we turned off the road that the GPS had sent us on.  As we drove down this side street all of a sudden I saw a woman, on a bike, and didn't realize until she was a bit closer that she was topless.  I was shocked, until we got a bit closer, and I realized that she was entirely naked!  We were quite shocked.  As we drove, there were probably at least half a dozen more naked men an women on bikes.  Some painted up with body paint.  We thought this was quite a welcome to the city for us, ha!  We realized that we probably wouldn't be able to get through the crowds to get to the park, so we opted to start heading back toward our hotel.  (That evening when we got back to the hotel, I did a bit of searching online, and found out that the people gathered were celebrating a Summer Solstice festival.  Not that, I think that warrants naked bike riding, but it explained the crowds anyway.)

We took the same route back across Lake Washington.  There was this one tunnel that we went through on the way back that was two lanes wide, with no shoulders.  So you have two lanes of traffic, moving at 60 miles/hour and on one side, you have another vehicle going 60 miles/hour, on the other, a concrete wall.  That freaked us right out.  That is when we decided that next time, we would just pay the toll and go that way!

We were feeling indecisive about supper.  Since we had had a disappointing supper the night before, we decided to go check out Trader Joe's (a place that I was curious about, I had read about it online, and wanted to see what it was all about).  We figured we would check it out, then maybe see what restaurants were nearby for supper.  We didn't see any restaurants close by that we were too interested in, so we decided to just pick up some veggies and roasted chicken breast plus some other snacks, and just go back to our hotel room and have a hotel picnic.  We did that, and it was a great, light supper, that we really enjoyed in the midst of a lot of heavy restaurant meals. 

We decided to chill out for the evening, and made plans to go shopping the next day.

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