Trip Start Oct 04, 2004
102Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
We arrived in Seattle and made our way to our hostel, which for a change was actually quite nice, plenty of showers (very rare) and a free breakfast (never happens!!) It would have been perfect if not for 2 of the loudest snorers we had ever encountered! If environmental health were around i'm sure the hostel would have been fined for noise pollution. Luckily i had ear plugs, Dan on the other wasn't so luck and spent most of the night with the pillow stuck over his head with a finger in each ear
We awoke earlier than normal as we had only given us a day in Seattle before we caught a bus to Vancouver, Canada. I suppose it was an omen, but the first thing that we got to was closed. This was the mono-rail, famous for being built in the sixties to ship all the people of Seattle to the new Science Centre built for the World Trade Fair. With much cursing under our breath we walked back down the 6 flights of stairs to the entrance, where we said our goodbyes to the security guard that let us in - why he couldn't have just told us it was closed we do not know!! Back to the reliable buses then!
From what we have been told by people/friends/info centres etc. there aren't actually too many things to do in Seattle. By the looks of it you have the mono-rail (closed) which would have taken us to the science centre where we could have gone to the Science Fiction Museum (closed) a music museum set up by the founder of Apple computers (closed) an Imax cinema (closed) and the Space needle (hurrah it was open!!)(webcam - http://www.spaceneedle.com/. Then out of the science centre you had Market Place, which is an old fish market, oh, you can also take a tram ride along their seafront if you have nothing better to do.
We later found out that everything closes on Monday's so we really had picked a crap day to come
Although pretty impressive, we were starting to get a bit bored going up these towers. Yes Seattle did look like a nice city, but when you have seen one city from the sky you have seen them all! (Well apart from New York i imagine.) We tried to stay up there as long as possible to make the day go a little longer, but after an hour we were pulling our hair out with boredom. There are only so many 'interesting facts' you can read before you have had enough!
Well that was 1 out of the 3 attractions done, now onto our 2nd! Market Place. As i said earlier it had once be a very famous fish market that had been running for over a 100 years and although there were some fish stalls left, the market had lost most of its charm. Now it resembled more like a Spanish market with traders selling anything from cheap t-shirts to paintings.
After a quick ride on the tram we found ourselves back at the hostel and it was only 12! We had managed to do 'all' of Seattle in 2 hours?! I'm sure on another day we would have had a much better time, but we were just fed up and couldn't wait until we were on the bus and onto Vancouver, Canada... Our second country!
Joke of the day:
A honeymoon couple is in the Watergate Hotel in Washington
He looks behind the drapes, behind the pictures, under the rug "AHA!" Under the rug was a disc with four screws. He gets his Swiss army knife, unscrews the screws, throws them and the disc out the window.
The next morning, the hotel manager asks the newlyweds "How was your room? How was the service? How was your stay at the Watergate Hotel?"
The groom says, "Why are you asking me all of these questions?"
The hotel manager says, "Well, the room under you complained of the chandelier falling on them!"
Space Needle History if you are interested!
In 1959, an unlikely artist inspired by the Stuttgart Tower in Germany was sketching his vision of a dominant central structure for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair on a placemat in a coffee house.
The artist was Edward E. Carlson, then president of Western International Hotels. His space-age image was to be the focus of the futuristic World's Fair in Seattle, whose theme would be Century 21. Carlson penciled the shape that would become the internationally known symbol for Seattle, the Space Needle.
However, Carlson and his supporters soon found moving the symbol from the placemat to the drawing board to the construction phase was not an easy process. The first obstacle was the structure's design. Carlson's initial sketch underwent many transformations. One drawing resembled a tethered balloon and another was a balloon-shaped top house on a central column anchored by cables. Architect John Graham, fresh from his success in designing the world's first shopping mall (Seattle's Northgate), turned the balloon design into a flying saucer. A dozen architects on Graham's team worked on sketches and ideas before a final compromise was reached just a year and a half before the fair was to open.
The next hurdles were location and financing. Since the Space Needle was to be privately financed, it had to be situated on land which could be acquired for public use but built within the fairgrounds. Early investigations indicated such a plot of land did not exist. However, just before the search was abandoned, a suitable 120-foot-by-120-foot piece of land was found and sold to investors for $75,000 in 1961, just 13 months before the World's Fair opening.
Construction, managed by the Howard S. Wright Construction Company, progressed quickly. An underground foundation was poured into a hole 30 feet deep and 120 feet across. It took 467 cement trucks an entire day to fill the hole, the largest continuous concrete pour ever attempted in the West. Once completed, the foundation weighed as much as the Space Needle itself, establishing the center of gravity just above ground.
The five level top house dome was completed with special attention paid to the revolving restaurant level and Observation Deck. The top house was balanced so perfectly that the restaurant rotated with just a one horsepower electric motor. In keeping with the Century 21 theme, the final coats of paint were dubbed Astronaut White for the legs, Orbital Olive for the core, Re-entry Red for the halo and Galaxy Gold for the sunburst and pagoda roof. The 605-foot tall Space Needle was completed in December 1961 and officially opened a mere four months later on the first day of the World's Fair, April 21, 1962.
The Space Needle's elevators were the last pieces to arrive before the opening, the last one just one day before the fair opened. New, computerized elevators were installed in 1993. The elevators travel 10 mph, 14 feet per second, 800 feet per minute, or as fast as a raindrop falls to earth. In fact, a snowflake falls at 3 mph, so in an elevator during a snowstorm it appears to be snowing up.
Storms occasionally force closure of the Space Needle, as they did for the Columbus Day storm of 1962 and the "Inauguration Day?storm of 1993 when winds reached 90 miles per hour. The Needle is built to withstand a wind velocity of 200 miles per hour. The Space Needle has withstood several tremors, too, including a 2001 earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale. The tallest building west of the Mississippi River when it was built, the Space Needle has double the 1962 building code requirements, enabling the structure to withstand even greater jolts.
The Space Needle was built for just $4.5 million, and has had its share of milestones, including numerous weddings and a jump by six parachutists. During the World's Fair, nearly 20,000 people a day traveled to the top. The Space Needle hosted over 2.3 million visitors during the Fair and is still, nearly 40 years later, Seattle's number one tourist destination.
In 2000, the Space Needle completed a $20 million revitalization. The year long project included construction of the Pavilion Level, SpaceBase retail store, SkyCity restaurant, O Deck overhaul, exterior lighting additions, Legacy Light installations, exterior painting and more.