Friday, 23 November 2012

Apologies for not posting for a while. Last weekend was spent indoors watching TV and doing homework. It was too rainy to go outside :( I had two exams yesterday, and another one on Tuesday. With three essays due as well, the workload is building up! Tonight I have been given free tickets to see Cirque de Soleil which is very exciting. On Sunday we are all going to Cypress Mountain. It will be my first time in snow, and I am going to attempt skiing! It's nearly a week until Paul arrives, so concentrating on uni work has been a bit difficult haha. I have to move from here to the other Red Cedar student home, where there is room for both of us. So amid all my study, I also have to pack everything up here and move house! Preparations are well under way for our trip to the US in late December. We are flying to New York where we will spend 2 weeks (including Christmas and New Year). Then off to San Diego where we are hiring a car and making our way up the coast to San Francisco. From here we fly back to Vancouver for a couple of nights, then make the long journey home to Perth!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


This past weekend four of us went to Seattle for three days. We caught the Greyhound bus from Vancouver at 6am Friday, arriving at Everett late morning. Everett is about an hour north of Seattle. From the bus station, we took a further two buses to finally arrive at the Seattle Premium Outlets. The outlets have the following shops Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Burberry, Coach and Nike just to name a few! We spent most of the day here and then caught the bus into Seattle. By this time it was dark, so we could see all the city lights as we drove in, very pretty! Our hostel was located in the International District, which is pretty much Chinatown. It was very basic and cosy (four of us in one small room, two bunks), however it is all we needed. That night we walked into downtown and  had dinner at a Thai restaurant. The weather was freezing however!!

Downtown at night
Pike Place Market at night.
The hostel provided a breakfast the next morning which was nice, and then we set off for our first day in the city. We first explore Pike Place Market, an iconic Seattle location. In this area is the first ever Starbucks which still operates today. In the afternoon walked to Seattle centre where the Space needle and EMP Museum are located. Although the weather was very cold, the days were sunny which was nice.

The first Starbucks! Notice the logo is slightly different.
A massive line outside the original Starbucks, and some greyhounds looking for adoption.
Fish at the market

Fresh pasta
Mushrooms anyone? 

View from outside market

Traditional musicians at Seattle Centre
Space Needle
Outside of EMP museum
 We then took the bus to the next hostel where we spent Saturday night. It was located in the University District. This area is basically comprised of the University of Washington campus, student housing and a main street with shops, bars and restaurants. Our room was much more luxurious than the first hostel. We stayed at "The College Inn" which was more like a hotel than a hostel. We had dinner at a pub on the main street and shared nachos. Breakfast was also included here which was good.

The price! Just kidding, I wish.
The exterior of the College Inn

We then set off to the neighbourhood of Capital Hill via bus. This area was full of really nice houses and had a main street also consisting of shops and cafes. However as we were there on a Sunday morning, many places were closed. This area reminded me of the suburb Toorak in Melbourne.

A set of holiday apartments in Capital Hill, very cute!
From here we took a bus downtown and went to the EMP museum. The EMP museum displays music, sci-fi and popular culture and had an excellent display on Nirvana (they originated not far from Seattle).

Original Nirvana photos and posters
The guitar Kurt Cobain played the first time "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
was played in public, and for many shows after that. 
There was also an exhibition of Leather Jackets.
This outfit was worn by Fergie (from Black Eyed Peas) in 2010.
How are those hot pants?!
More intricate leather jackets from history

Me being a biker

A wall of what music means to people.

Alice and Ziyad rocking out in the Jam Room

Charlotte on drums!

Large photo of Kurt Cobain as long as the stairs.

There was a horror exhibition also,
this photo was taken in the scream booth.
From here, we walked about 15 minutes to the ferry dock and took a ferry across to Bainbridge Island. It was about a 30 minute ride and got a great view of the city from the water. We didn't get off an Bainbridge Island (not sure if there is much to see there) and got the ferry straight back to Seattle. Although it was only 4pm, the days are very short here so as we arrived back to the dock in Seattle it was nearly dark and we had a view of the city lights. It was raining pretty heavy by the time we got off the ferry and started our walk towards the Pioneer Square area and Little Italy. A Seattle Seahawk's (American Football) game had just finished at the stadium nearby so the streets were littered with fans in their team colours. We arrived at Pioneer Square ready for the 5pm Underground City tour.

Old directional sign

 This tour was very interesting and explained how when Seattle was originally built, the pioneers didn't realize they were located on tide flats. Which meant the city got flooded every afternoon!! To add to this, their system for sewage was less than sophisticated, so you can imagine the results; sewage flows to the sea, the sea comes back in and floods the city daily! Gross!! Then occurred the Great Seattle Fire which burnt the city to the ground in less than 12 hours, a blessing in disguise as it meant they could start over. The city councillors had an 8-10 year plan to raise the entire city above sea level. However, the merchants needed to continue trading so they built shops back at existing sea level. As a result, the shops were at sea level, so were the sidewalks, but the streets were between eight to thirty feet above! Which meant to reach the sidewalk you had to go down a ladder off the edge of the street. Eventually after a few too many drunken falls and deaths, the city councillors built wooden 'bridges' at street level, which were the new sidewalks above the existing old ones below. The gap between the old and the new sidewalks had never been filled in and therefore resulted in the 'tunnel' systems below Pioneer Square today.

Nowadays they are used as storage for the shops above, or in some cases businesses have leased the space off the council and are used for small bars below their restaurants. Similar to a basement, yet in an underground sidewalk!!  

 Early in the city's history the tunnels became rampant with disease from rats arriving on ships with fleas. In an effort to stop the problem, the city council condemned the underground tunnels. As a result, everything and anything that was illegal found it's home underground. The city didn't mind; out of sight, out of mind. Filled with drug dealing, speak easy's and brothels.

I found the tour very interesting and the guide said there are similar tunnels in Vancouver under Gastown, however are not open to the public. After the tour we had a meal at a very authentic Italian restaurant and then walked back to the Greyhound station to catch the bus home. We left Seattle at 9pm and arrived home in Vancouver at 1am. Overall, a very interesting and exhausting weekend!! 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Deep Cove

Today we went to Deep Cove, which took about an hour by bus. It is just east of the neighbourhood North Vancouver. The settlement of Deep Cove is very cute, and some are the houses are quite extravagant. Most of the houses are built into the mountain side overlooking the cove. In the summer months Deep Cove is popular for water sports; canoeing, kayaking etc. however there was nothing but rain today. I didn't mind it though, the colours of the landscape with mist covered mountains was quite spectacular. We walked around the streets a little, and walked the first bit of a hiking trail. However at 43km, we were well unprepared to complete the whole thing!! After exploring we went to the Honey cafe, which is famous for their homemade donuts. They were definitely the best donuts I have ever tasted which could be dangerous if I lived in Deep Cove!!

View from the town settlement

Mist over the mountains


More rain!
This house is built into the side of the mountain. To the left is a stream which leads from the waterfall above to the bay below. Very interesting house design!

Suburban Deep Cove street

Bit gloomy and mysterious. I can only imagine how nice it would be in Summer!

More houses on the mountain side
Start of the hike trail
The waterfall 

The town centre


Perfect for rainy weather; tea and homemade donuts!

This last photo isn't of Deep Cove, it's the view from our house at 5pm in the afternoon. Last night the clocks were turned back an hour marking the end of daylight savings. It will now get dark very early which is sad.