I feel stupid and contagious, here we are now entertain us

Nirvana.

Going back through the weeks when in Seattle we visited the EMP museum, which is near the base of the space needle. This museum is about popular culture but its main focus is music. It was one of the places we wanted to visit and is also maybe not a mainstream tourist mecca, like the space needle, which has a base made from souvenir shops and even a busking pan flute band with ponchos and CDs.

The EMP was quite enjoyable – if you have any interest in that kind of thing. As well as permanent exhibits, they rotate through exhibits. Current exhibits for our visit were all great: Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, the lure of Horror movies, icons of Science Fiction and worlds of Myths and Fantasy. Something for everyone – the music diehards or those interested in two people/band that changed music; and the horror, science fiction and fantasy nerds. And you should have seen the sic-fi and fantasy nerds – they were literally wetting themselves and some were even disputing the fact that some dagger from Lord of the Rings was the actual one.

We started off going through the history of guitars – the music is very much guitar orientated. This was good, especially if you have any interest in guitars. We used the iPods they give you to listen to the displays and music but gave up after a while otherwise we’d probably still be in the history of guitars hall. Great to see the old guitars. Then moved on to the two key exhibits: Nirvana (excellent) and Jimi Hendrix (maybe not as good but still great).

Then we hit nerdsville – starting off with sic-fi and what I said about some people wetting themselves was not far from the truth. These people knew everything about the weapons on display, the costumes on display, the dalek on display, anything that was on display. This moved into horror, which I am a bit more a fan of and for things like Jason’s mask from Friday 13th, or the Alien and Terminator, and clips from films where they discuss why the films were as good as they were, like the Exorcist – made me kinda want to wet myself.

Then the myths and fantasy and as I mentioned above, there was a group there that knew more about the exhibits than the museum displaying them.

This was a really interesting museum, with a good cafe and some good merchandise. Very interesting architecture as well.

Here’s a few snaps and also some of the space needle. That’s kind of interesting but we didn’t waste money going to the top as the fog would have meant nothing more than an expensive ride in a lift. If you go to Seattle, go to a club to listen to the music, go on a ferry, visit the Pike Place market, see the eye and if interested go to the EMP. However, we have rated that maybe Seattle is not high on the revisit list but we are pleased we did visit.

And still plenty posts to come …

More Beer

Change of subject … beer from Seattle. And what a good subject too. Seattle is moving into beer territory so to keep up with the tasting, I tried a few different and we even picked up a couple of six packs.

Audible AleI’ll start with the first of the six-packs – can’t remember how much it was but much cheaper than here (less than $2 a stubby). But the beer was okay. Most beer is okay, but this one was an Audible Ale from RedHook Brewery out of brooklyn. I went for this one as it was described as the ultimate craft beer for watching sports: plenty of flavor and aroma, and crushable enough to make you want another — without making you sloppy by halftime. Now, isn’t that enough to say “drink me”.

So, that was not even from Seattle but what was from Seattle. Well, there were a few special beers on offer due to the end of Octoberfest and the impending Halloween, which meant pumpkin flavoured beer. What! You might say, pumpkin flavoured beer. Well, let me tell you there is nothing wrong with it, in fact it’s a pity we don’t have pumpkin flavoured beer. There’s kind of a hint of spice and the flavour of sweet pumpkin, like a pumpkin pie. On offer at the Steelhead Diner (there was a steelhead diner everywhere we went, not a chain, just all named after the fish) they had several specials on the board so I settled on a Flyers Proctoberfest and followed up with a Laurelwood Stingy Jack Pumpkin Ale. I had to have the two beers, remember from an earlier blog this was the place where Caroline enjoyed a bowl of brussel sprouts.

CrocodileI think I mentioned before we went to a gig at the Crocodile Club where I tried the Local 360 Lager which I think comes from the Local 360 cafe but I could be wrong – this was a good gig beer, out of a plastic cup and at about a third the price you’d pay in Melbourne. We went back there for pizza as the Crocodile bar is known for its wood fired pizza and we weren’t let down. My pepperoni was complemented very nicely with a Rainier.

The Pike flight

The Pike flight

And to finish Seattle, how could I not have the flight at the Pike Place Brewery. Well, I could have said no but flights are a great way to sample many of the beers. Some you will like, some you will not. But a small glass of something not to your fancy is so much better than a pint. I was going to write down what the beers were but I took a photo instead – cheers!Pike Flight

And before we leave Seattle, we made a visit to Whole Foods and picked up a mixed six pack that would last us a while. More to come of these as we go. But on the first night this is what I tried, and for all those back at work have a look at what I ate with it – it was getting close to Halloween and I was feeling like a member of PCU – cheers, again!

Dinner Vaporizer

The owls were flying

Okay, back to the holiday – or should I say vacation. I mentioned we picked up our car in Seattle for the drive over to Spokane and then from Spokane, driving on down to Portland.

We have a Nissan Altima with Oregon plates, which helps in fitting in with the crowd. It’s not bad to drive but there is some terrible glare through the windscreen, i.e. bouncing off the rather large dash. The radio is okay and does well at selecting all kinds of music in this area – country or christian. Although we did find one that was original rock, think AC/DC et al.

Staying on the right is not a problem, just those damn windscreen wipers being where the indicator should be.

The first drive was about 4 hours which was very scenic as we drive through the forested mountains but then flattened out to not very much as we got closer to Spokane.

Home » The owls were flying » Seattle to Spokane
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The second trip, well that was the opposite, although at one stage we drove through a dust storm – very windy, very dusty. Especially in one place – Connell – that had a prison and trailer park; and dust and a not so clean rest-stop but when you gotta stop you gotta stop as there aren’t many opportunities and it does add to the fun(?) of the trip. Although we did a detour to stops for lunch at Bacon & Eggs in a place called Walla Walla, which is a bit of a wine area and fantastic food.

And I almost forgot, the trip was that much more exciting as Mr Garmin sent us on Washington side of the river to the older state highway, rather than the Oregon side on the newer interstate – still got to the same place just a different view.

Home » The owls were flying » Spokane to Portland
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Excuse some of the photos as not easy using a camera while driving and there are the customary bugs on the screen. I’ll stick a map in here when I can remember how to do it … and I remembered

 

That gum you like is going to come back in style

A lot of catching up to do. The dog conference is like going to school everyday and as you know, early nights on school days. I still have a few days of conference to post but I also have a few more photos and tales from our travels. And first off, is some shots from Seattle.

I mentioned earlier that Seattle is built on one hell of a hill, so there was no using the bikes on offer at the hotel, and when walking, we eventually found a way that avoided most of the hill. The bonus, all this hill climbing meant more beer and food drinking.

Did I say beer drinking – some blogs coming on that – just hang in there, for instance up to date I have had in excess of 20 different beers and out of that 20 have disliked none. And the best, tap beers come in pints and only once (from a faded memory) have we paid over $5 – the best was in Spokane (which I will get to later) where Sunday was happy hour all day and we paid $2.50 a pint – yes, $2.50 a pint. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – woo-hoo!

Anyways, back to Seattle. We ventured down to the famous Pike Market, which was kind of over about four different levels due to being built on the side of a hill (it was that much of a hill that in one area not far from the market, and we are talking about downtown, someone was keeping a herd of mountain goats that you could hire out -those crazy Americans).

There were the same arty stalls that you’d find at any market and food, which was so colourful and fresh but our Melbourne Market is much, much bigger in size. But this Pike Market is full of character, I liked the age of the building and the downstairs areas that were a bit like walking into history (no photos down there, sorry).

There were plenty of buskers, plenty of locals, plenty of tourists and it really is worth walking around and buying some cheap food. And if you like, some great looking seafood – we didn’t buy a whole salmon and neither did anyone else so we never saw the salmon catching.

I mentioned before about the first Starbucks being at Pike Market and you should had have seen the queues outside and the people (like us) taking photos. Seattle is the home of Starbucks and we went on a ferry cruise where the guide mentioned that within a 5 mile radius of the ferry terminal there are 136 Starbucks stores (and more than half of that 5 mile is water).

The harbour area has a world renowned aquarium but we gave that one a miss, as we also gave the famous Crab Pot a miss too, as we had already eaten our seafood feast (and the Crab Post is very, very touristy).

We liked Seattle, not as much as Vancouver, but it was worth the trip and there is so much more to do – for instance, it was so damn foggy we never went up the space needle or went into the blown-glass gardens. Actually the fog, never really lifted except on our first day. Oh well, even though it was cold, it wasn’t really cold, except on that ferry.

For your delight, here are some pictures from the ferry ride and another album of shots around the market (there are more shots coming of the EMP Museum – music-sci fi-horror). And like my other posts, I haven’t bothered to title the photos so if you want to know what anything is, shoot me a message or comment.

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I’d never heard of a man who murdered by the rules

Did I tell you about the vagrants in Vancouver and Seattle? These cities have a myriad of homeless who live on a bed of cardboard under a blanket or whatever else they can find and spend their day pushing a trolley with all their belongings or hanging around where the tourists do holding a sign or waving an empty cup looking for change.

They aren’t aggressive but in Vancouver they seemed to be everywhere but as soon as you didn’t hand over any money they politely said, “God bless you,” or “Have a nice day” or some other nice thought. In Seattle they were more of the sign holder with some story of why they needed money.

I never handed over any money except in Vancouver on our last night when I gave the last of my Canadian coins to the guy who was outside the 7-11 next to our hotel every night – it appears they have corners, a bit like buskers or drug dealers.

In Seattle we went to a part of town known as the Pioneer Square neighbourhood. This used to be very run-down but they moved in the artists and have done a lot to make it more “people-friendly” if you like. It was a pretty place (if pretty is the right word – maybe intriguing or interesting is better) and they have excellent tours of what they call the underground. This area of Seattle was the hive of activity when first settled but the early settlers also built on the tide plain and when a fire burnt a lot of the city to the ground (happens a lot to cities over here) they rebuilt but the orders were to build on top of the existing buildings.

It really was an interesting piece of history and a recommended area to visit and tour (although our tour guide did say to avoid any further than a block or two from where we went). It was also extra interesting because the food kitchen was out serving breakfast and the park was full of the homeless but no-one bothered us, not even one I saw who might have been a bit of a Fagan as he was counting out a roll of dollar bills with a small group around him watching and waiting?

We had some coffee here at a great bakery and I knew we were safe when I checked for a wi-fi and came across the following:

FBI

And here are a few more photos from this area –

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Skylights in the pavement to the underground space
The Central
Underground
Underground
Underground
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Pioneer Square
Pioneer Square
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Pioneer Square