Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Underground Seattle

The Underground Seattle tour is brilliant. I would have liked small groups and more time underground, but it was still pretty great. :) I love old stuff, and being totally not claustrophobic, I'm quite fond of small, dark, enclosed spaces, so as soon as I heard that there was such a thing as an underground Seattle, and a tour thereof, I put that at the top of my 'to see' list.
It starts out in this old bar/pub with an orientation from a guy, who clearly moonlights at comedy clubs, talking about the history of Seattle and what its initial construction problems were. Mainly that the first settlers were prairie people who didn't know about the ocean and tides, and so they had a bit of an issue with sewage disposal and it washing back in with the returning tide. Let's just say it sounds really gross and leave it at that... Anyway, eventually there was an accident in a shop, and the whole town burnt down. Thankfully no one was killed, and the officials took the opportunity to literally rebuild not just the city, but the ground it was on. They brought down dirt from the cliffs and raised the level of the city, but this took years (7, I think) and while it was going on business rebuilt. But they rebuilt planning to have the bottom storey of the building buried eventually, with the second floor being the new first floor when street level was raised. Does that make sense? Even standing there looking at the evidence myself it was hard to wrap my mind around! It was very cool!
Maybe this interpretive signage will explain it better!
Those glass squares are part of the sidewalk - we walked over them before going into the tunnels!
Lower level of the bank where the vaults were - miners returning from the norther gold rush would store their booty here! There's a ghost story too, of course!
I would definitely go on the tour again if we ever went to Seattle again - I feel that it's a bit like Disney's Jungle Cruise, where your experience is different each time based on the tour guide. They also have a night tour that's just of adults, which might be spooky and fun.
Unfortunately after the tour we encountered a bit of drama. Usually I'm so prepared that I would have already found a place in the vicinity for which we had a coupon from the Entertainment Book, but alas... So we tried to use the coupon book and the GPS to cross-reference a nearby location. We found a place about eight blocks away, which isn't bad in Calgary...but when you're in Seattle and it's uphill both ways, it's a lot of work. Then when we got to where it was supposed to be, the place was closed down and gone. Grrr....I'm one of those people who says cranky things out of hunger, and I know I do it so I try not to, but it was becoming a loosing battle when we stumbled on this little cafe place that had a picture of a burger in the window. And it was a darn good burger, too! I can't remember the name of the place...but it may have saved our lives! :)
Then I realized that while I may not be claustrophobic, I do apparently have a really bad phobia of driving on big hills (and that there's no word to sum up the phobia...yet, anyway). When I was a kid in Halifax, they scared me a bit, and I used to have nightmares about being in a car that was driving sloooowly up a hill, sloooowly loosing traction until it got to the point where the front wheels left the road, and then the back wheels, and then it tumbled slowly, uncontrollably, backwards and forever into nothingness. Even just typing that out I feel queasy and faint...eeeps... So we're trying to get out of Seattle and the hills are even worse then the ones in Halifax and every time Trevor braked I'd jump and whimper, and I swear I left finger dents in the car door. I've never had a reaction like that to anything, ever, but I was starting to hyperventilate by the time we got on flat ground again. So that's why we probably won't go to Seattle again! :P
And after that I needed some time on the water to restore my equilibrium, so we found a waterfront park and headed there...
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