Seattle is known for a few things. This is what I knew about it prior to making an unexpected trip there on May 25th:
1. It's where Starbucks started (I have a coffee addiction and had to start rationing my trips to Starbies at home when the staff at in the Piccadilly Gardens branch started saying "Oh hi again! Same as usual?")
2. It's where Frasier was set
3. It's where grunge music is from
4. It rains a lot
My knowledge, as you can tell, was a bit limited. I listened to some Pearl Jam and Nirvana on the way in a bid to swot up, but to no avail. As it happened, on my Virgin Atlantic flight the woman next to me started doing the usual American thing of striking up a conversation out of nowhere and being utterly lovely for no apparent reason. Non-British readers - this doesn't happen at home. You either scowl at someone or don't look at them at all. If someone in a shop or public place is overly nice to you, it's usually because they are a) delusional or b) one of those WACKY AND CRAZY people who accost you on your lunch break and ask you to donate AS LITTLE AS £49.95 PER MONTH to charity JUST BY HANDING OVER YOUR BANK DETAILS TO A STRANGER. I always remember when my sister Fi was approached by one who was like "HIIIIII! WHAT'S YOUR NAME?!?!?!" and she just said "yeah wouldn't you like to know". Sidenote - I already give to charity so I'm not being snide, they genuinely are very annoying.
I keep digressing. Turns out the woman on the plane was making a documentary on swing dancing (!) and going to Seattle for research. I have no idea what Seattle has to do with swing dancing, so it's possible she was delusional too (I.e. like the mean people in the UK, not me. I don't think I'm delusional. Hang on, that's what crazy people actually say, isn't it? Shit.) The woman sat on the other side was wearing a trilby (because a comedy hat is totally necessary on a plane) and reading a book called Performance Points, while writing motivational, encouraging words such as LIVELY, ENERGETIC, SELF-AWARE and BEAUTIFUL in a tiny notebook. It's possible she'd been in LA too long.
Back to the original subject: Seattle. We took a little walk around and ate in a great yet casual restaurant - the name of which escapes me - and I had possibly the best steak ever, which was described by the waitress as "very thin" but was actually close to a baby cow in size. The city is pretty nice, closer to reality than LA, New York or Miami, in that it has actual people who seem to be doing normal things like going to work and struggling with their shopping bags. There is weather too - it rained the whole day, night and next day, which reminded me of home - and a kind of light fog that gives a bit of energy and atmosphere to the place.
I've put some pictures below of Pike Place Market (a farmers' market dating back over a century) and surrounding area, to give you an idea of how it contrasts in weather, colour and texture to some of the other US cities I've so far visited.
I obviously had to take one of the first ever Starbucks:
And here is an awesome building I later found out was the library!
I didn't even stay in Seattle for 24 hours so I didn't get to see anything else but maybe I will get to do so one day! It seemed like a great place.