Visiting Seattle: Crossing The US Border By Ferry

Seattle was somewhere I wanted to visit, but the journey here was also necessary to enable me to activate a working holiday visa.

Due to delays and confusion with the application, my visa was not actually granted until a month into my trip. And in order to validate it, I was required to leave and re-enter Canada to obtain the stamp of approval at Canadian customs.

Initially I planned on taking the train or bus down the coast to Seattle from Vancouver. Then I realised how easy it was to travel here from Victoria, Vancouver Island, by ferry.

So, on a whim, I took the three-hour journey aboard the Victoria Clipper.

Some people travelling here solely to activate their visa just stop over for a night and hop straight back on the ferry to Canada the following morning. However, I wanted to see what Seattle had to offer and booked myself into the award-winning Green Tortoise hostel for a week.

And what a week it was…

After feeling relatively safe wandering around Vancouver and Victoria by myself at night, Seattle felt a lot more edgy and dangerous.

Yet it had an electric vibe and air of excitement that I enjoyed embracing.  There was that feeling that something was going on all of the time and it truly felt like a city that never sleeps.

Somehow I managed to sleep through the constant shouting and blaring traffic that never seemed to dwindle in the streets below; the sounds were constant and comforting to the point that they were almost as ubiquitous as silence.

Of course, the hostel was located right next to the Pike Place Market, a constant hub of activity right in the centre of town.

Walking around this market was an experience in itself. I enjoyed interacting with the friendly traders and getting plenty of free fruit samples as I passed by.

Just look at those beautiful strawberries. This fruit was top-notch and you paid the price for it. My jaw nearly dropped when I paid nearly six dollars for a few apples, but they had to be amongst the juiciest and tastiest apples ever.

Probably the star attraction at the market is the antics that take place at Pike Place Fish Co. People gather in their droves to watch energetic traders partake in what appears to be a performance as they go about their work. Expect fish throwing and plenty of lively chatter and banter.

I have a sweet tooth and was in heaven visiting a Russian bakery along Pike Place called Piroshky Piroshky. There is a tantalising selection of both sweet and savoury treats that make your mouth water.

The smell is enough to entice even the hardiest healthy eater into the grasps of its deliciousness. If you are visiting Seattle, it is not fun to be on a diet. There is too much tasty food to be enjoyed.

Walking and drinking coffee

I did a lot of walking and was surprised by how hilly Seattle was. I am not talking about little hills, there were really steep climbs. It was fantastic exercise, but also extremely tiring; especially as I often carried my laptop around with me, just in case I felt like popping into Starbucks to do some work.

As I am sure most people know, Seattle was the birthplace of Starbucks. It was therefore no surprise that they were absolutely everywhere.

The Pike Place branch pictured above was the first one opened in 1971 and displays the original logo, which has gradually become more and more streamlined over the years, due to the initial depiction of a two-tailed mermaid/siren, breasts revealed, being considered by some to be too sexualized.

What Seattle sights did I visit?

There are many great museums to visit, including the Experience Music Project (EMP), that I never made it to. I did make it up the Space Needle twice – once during the day and the other time at night – to take advantage of panoramic views.

Aside from this I walked around the market and ate constantly, visited the Gum Wall in Post Alley, took the Deadman’s Tour to see the Jimi Hendrix Memorial and Kurt Cobain’s old house, had a great night out with an Australian friend I met at the hostel and just hung around in a lot of coffee shops getting some work done.

Seattle is somewhere I am itching to get to know better. Somebody said to me that travelling down the west coast from Washington to California is like “sex for the eyes”.

Maybe a great American road trip is in order…

Have you ever visited Seattle? What were your favourite sights?







  1. June 29, 2012 / 02:26

    Loved the pics and post. I was just in Seattle a couple months back. Loved it all!

    • June 29, 2012 / 03:52

      Thanks Holly, it’s so much fun and there’s loads to do! I can’t wait to get back at some point.

  2. June 30, 2012 / 20:42

    It is always fun to get an outsider’s perspective on the city Kent and I call home. I laughed about your “hill” comment, because we always remark that San Francisco get’s all the attention for hills, but Seattle is almost as vertical.

    As for the Pacific Coast… Sex for the eyes is not hyperbole. While Kent and I have driven large parts of it, we have never done the entire Pacific Coast Highway (101). I think we might tick that off the list next year – it’s a stunner.
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    • July 1, 2012 / 03:19

      It’s great to hear from Seattleites! You guys live in a great city and must be very fit from all of the hill walking ha ha! That drive sounds like a great idea and it’s right on your doorstep to enjoy. I’ve heard San Fran is hilly, but never imagined Seattle would be. It was a real surprise.

  3. July 1, 2012 / 18:48

    Ali and I did Seattle last year for a few days before hitting up Vancouver in the middle of the trip. I really wanted to do the ferry, but the times didn’t work out to get all the way to Vancouver. Hope you have no issues with the border guards in either direction.

    I really liked Seattle. It was a place that made me feel comfortable, though we were only there during the day. Piroshky was the highlight of our quick morning jaunt through Pikes Market before getting our flight home. Glad you had a good time there.
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