Day 2: Exploring the Emerald City

It was a lazy morning when Steve, Tina, Amanda, Emmett, Graham, and I finally got up. Starting the day off right, we ate breakfast at the hotel restaurant, located on a patio overlooking the piers. It was cool but the rare sunshine warmed us up nicely. We then packed up and walked up to Pikes Place Market to meet more family.

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My uncle Randy and aunt Deb live on Whidbey Island, just north of Seattle. They happened to have their kids (Jordan and his wife Chrissy, and Nathan) coming home from school for the weekend, and my aunt Jan staying with them for the summer. Randy, Deb, and Jan had driven down to the airport to pick up their guests then came to meet us. With all that family around, it was a party! (As a side note, a man noticed me taking pictures of our large group and offered to take one of all of us – see photo below. I appreciate the gesture, but he didn’t exactly get everyone on the picture. Oh, well! It shows what a funny collection of family members we had there.)
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Pikes Place Market was crowded and loud but offered a dynamic array of shops and people. In the market, you can find anything from artwork to jewelry, flowers at produce. There are musicians playing, bakeries, and restaurants. And to top it off, the famous fish booths, whose workers throw the fish across the room when bought.
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Near to the market is a rather disgusting tourist attraction, the gum wall. It started off years ago as a wall near a theater that people stuck their gum on. For a while the building owners tried to scrape the gum off but it didn’t stop anyone from putting it there. Finally, they have up when the wall was deemed a tourist attraction. Now, people are loading up the wall on a daily basis. In some places, the gum is over three inches thick. It was both nasty and intriguing, so I added my own gum to the wall. Let it be known that I was there!
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It was just a short walk down the road to the delicious seafood shop, Ivar’s. Located right on a pier, we enjoyed eating our fish and chips and throwing food to the seagulls. They were pretty good at catching whatever we tossed. It was quite impressive.
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Sadly, at this point, Steve, Tina, Amanda, and the boys had to take off. They were driving back to Utah and needed a head start to make it out of Seattle before rush hour traffic hit. We said our goodbyes and parted ways. I stayed with Randy and Deb’s family to explore the city. After exploring the piers, walking through an arts and crafts market, and letting the others go on the Ferris wheel, we drove to the end of the Washington bridge for a mythical encounter.
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Years ago, an artist and his team created a giant troll under the Aurora Bridge. Made of cement, the large troll is shaped as though he is crawling back into his hole after grabbing a VW Beetle from the road above. The artist also intended for people to be able to interact with the Fremont Troll by climbing on him and getting a closer look. We may or may not have picked his nose… Ugh! Troll bogeys!
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Next stop, the Ballard Locks, built in 1917 to connect the Puget Sound with Lake Union and Lake Washington (located just East of Seattle). In order for ships to travel from one body of water to another, all vessels must go through the lock system. Ships pull into a holding area where the level of the water is raised or lowered to match the water level of the direction they are going. There is also a fish ladder located in the locks as to not disturb the migratory cycles of the fish.
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It was getting late and we had a ways to go before getting to where Randy and Deb live. So, we made a pit stop at a delicious Thai restaurant, then drove the rest of the way while munching on croissants we had gotten earlier that day at a bakery in Pikes Place Market (Thanks Randy and Deb!). Sleepy from the long day of exploring, everyone quickly went to bed. I stayed up a bit longer to make sure Kyle’s plane got into Seattle and he made it to his sleeping destination. When he finally did, I was out.
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