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The underground and monorail in Seattle

I was in Seattle just over a week ago for a couple days for DevOps Days Seattle 2017. I’ll write about that later, but the early evenings while I was there and my journey back to the airport allowed me some time to explore the city a bit more than I have in the couple times I’ve visited previously.

The first full day I was there I forewent the event social in favor of the Seattle Underground Tour. MJ went on this tour a year ago with some friends when he was spending a lot of time working up in Seattle. He knew I’d enjoy it, a perfect mix of tourist-y and interesting history.

I learned that the area around Pioneer Square in Seattle was risen by a story or two over 100 years ago, following a fire that gave them an opportunity to rebuild. As a result there’s a whole underground that has the former street level buildings, now deteriorating, that were used while the work was being done. The tour guide shared history, puns and anecdotes as we spent an hour traipsing through various sections of the underground, seeing old entrances to hotels and banks, along with early toilets and plumbing systems, and even an old Klondike gold rush era (1897-1899) bank vault.

At one point you’re particularly reminded that you’re walking under the current sidewalk, as we walked through a section that had natural light, coming from fogged glass insets in the sidewalk that we’d just walked on above ground a few minutes before.

Almost everyone going on the tour was from out of town, and the guide made jokes about locals going who were dragged along by visiting friends. But you know me, I do all the tourist things, even in my own town. After the underground tour I took a bit of a walk to the nearby piers, which appear to be there totally for tourists and have a highway spanning nearby above them. I suddenly realized how similar it must be to how the Embarcadero in San Francisco was before they tore down the freeway. Thank goodness for that. The drizzle that had been coming down then switched to a steady pour, so I caught a car back to my hotel, and had dinner at the nearby Crow restaurant that had counter seating, making it slightly less awkward than usual to eat out alone.

More photos from the underground tour, and wandering around Seattle here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/albums/72157680012009863

Since I was staying up near the Space Needle, I had some time to get to the airport at the end of the last day of the conference and Seattle was enjoying a beautiful sunny afternoon, I decided to take the leisurely public transit way. That meant starting with the monorail! I made a point to take the monorail the first time I was in Seattle, during the chilly winter of 2013 when I started at HP. It’s an incredibly short ride, but fun because of all the 1960’s future-view paraphernalia at the stations. From there I caught the Link to the airport, and concluded my Seattle adventure this time. I wish I’d taken time to visit with some folks while I was in town, but I’ve been pretty tired with everything going on, I was glad I at least took time to do the tourist things for a few hours. Next time I hope to be more social!

Upon checking in at the airport learned I could take a slightly earlier flight home than I was expecting. Getting able to meet MJ for dinner and being tucked in at home before midnight was a pleasant surprise and lovely conclusion to this quick trip.