SEATTLE is a vibrant town; a very interesting city with a population of just over 600,000. It’s easy to get around and quite close to the Canadian border.
Highlights include the Pike Place Market, Space Needle and The Boeing Factory, where you could spend a whole day because the factory is so big it is said to have its own climate.
The hop-on, hop-off bus is always a good way to see the city highlights and like many cities near the coast you can ride the ducks. These amphibian vehicles can tour the city and drive down a boat launching ramp to take you on a water-born experience.
Seattle features a number of homes both floating and on stilts and, of course, the most famous was the home in the movie Sleepless in Seattle starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
The duck takes you right past the floating home used in the movie. It recently sold for some $2M. The river homes both float and are on pylons and some of the newer ones go down two storeys under the water, so you can have dinner while you watch the fish go by through huge round windows.
After some time in Seattle, I decided to travel by train to L.A. It’s called the Starlight Express, a sleeper train that travels along the coast through San Francisco and arriving in L.A. 36 hours later.
The journey is very interesting from Washington. You travel through Oregon and then into California, and as well as great views along the shoreline, there is a huge irrigation area that runs through a massive valley.
They grow just about everything and it’s known as the edible garden of America. It’s so big it took over an hour to travel through the valley.
Buses brought in pickers who worked out in the hot sun harvesting the bounty. The planted area is so big that each bus towed a trailer with portable toilets for the workers. I wondered if these might have been some of the illegal workers who keep the economy going with cheap labour.
Finally we arrived in L.A. It’s been years since I have been here and there is much to experience, but I found myself being drawn to Universal Studios, where they have just opened their latest adventure, the Harry Potter experience.
There were people of all ages wondering around in Harry Potter outfits and many with wands. You are taken to the wand master in front of a huge wall of wands in their boxes that start jumping out at you until a wand selects you. They are interactive and as you walk around the exhibit a wave of your wand can make flowers open, frogs appear, make Quidditch balls rise into air and perform all manner of magical things.
You can spend a whole day there. It’s fun for all ages and so is Disneyland and L.A.’s nightlife, but for me the experience is over and it’s time to catch my Qantas flight and head home. It’s good to be back.
Until next time,