Europe, North America · 15 Days · 123 Moments · March 2016

Louise's voyage in Alaska

15 March 2016

Finally home to my babies. Someone missed me and I certainly need some sleep after that adventure. Until next time xx
We had a good flight home from Seattle the following day straight into Amsterdam before dashing across the airport for our final plane home to Manchester. The layover was short but due to an hours delay in Seattle was shorter still resulting in our cases having to wait 3 hours for the next flight. On our way home this was actually a bonus as we had a walk to meet the bus to take us back to our car. The cases were delivered home later that evening around 8pm. The final picture you can see is Chris taking pictures of the Northern Lights as we flew over Greenland it was a shame everyone had their window blinds down and we were in the centre isle.

13 March 2016

We had a very early start the following morning as we had a 5/6 hour drive and had to get the car back to the airport by 11am to prevent any further charges. It was also the American night to change the clocks in which case we lost an hour making our early start earlier than first anticipated. We arrived at Anchorage airport with 10 minutes to spare. We had a few hours to wait before our 14.25 departure into Seattle. I managed to find a massage chair to entertain me for half an hour before check in opened. The airport was really quirky and departures and arrivals all happened in the same place. Someone had also left their luggage all over!
We enjoyed a lovely prawn pasta but also whilst in Alaska and been a massive fan of The Deadliest Catch it seemed only right I should try some Alaskan King Crab. It wasn't bad and had quite a nice flaky texture however Chris said it looked similar to Lobster but he felt it wasn't as tasty, I however compared it to crab sticks and said it was ok. I know crab sticks are artificial however I found it very similar to this.
We headed back to the Homer Spot to take some night pictures before heading home for tea.
We managed to watch a beautiful sunset over the bay what a lovely way to spend our last evening here.
The drive back down the hill was complete with 2 Moose crossing infront of us the sight we had hoped to get properly all holiday, you wouldn't want to hit one of these though I'm sure your car would be a write off they are huge! The smoking mountain in the pictures is Mt Redoubt it is a volcano that last erupted in 2009. There are 130 active volcanos in Alaska.

12 March 2016

When we got back to the farm it was time to feed and say good bye to our dogs. The dogs had a great meal of Salmon fillet. The dogs were all so loving, friendly and just wanted hugs and attention.
The hills were beautiful and I loved been sat backwards on the snow mobile it was great fun, I think my driver forgot about the pictures as he kept speeding off down the track leaving the sled in the distance. The dogs run around 10 miles an hour and we were out just over an hour with them.
After been hooked up to the 16 dogs we were on our way. 1 of us sat in the sled and the other rode backwards on snow mobile and took pictures it was brilliant. There were too many dogs to let us ride the sled alone, these little monsters are way too strong in Anchorage we saw 10 people trying to hold 16 dogs back and we actually witnessed a truck move backwards at the tug rug of the dogs eager to run.
First of all we were introduced to all the dogs, 16 of these dogs were currently out running the Iditarod. These that were here hadn't made the final team for one reason or another but many of them had been involved in some sled racing and some of them had also done the Iditarod previously.
Following an hours drive a stop to refuel on an Alaskan breakfast complete with reindeer sausages we set off to drive another hour 18 miles into the Caribou Mountains yes an hour to cover 18 miles the rd was far from perfect and very wintery in condition we then reached the Team Zapper Kennels not far after passing Tinker Rd we had to stop to take that picture. We were going to go mushing on Iditarod sled dogs.
When we woke the following morning we could see the mountains across the bay, another beautiful view. These had been invisible the precious evening so were a lovely surprise.
Whilst out we bought some fresh seafood from the Harbour. We bought prawns and Scollops. We were shocked to find that our prawns were complete with eggs. On looking this up on the internet this is referred to as the roe and is considered a delicacy needless to say it didn't tickle our fancy so they were discarded along with the shells. The Scollops were plentiful and delicious and we had cooked them with garlic, mushrooms and onions. It was decided we would save the prawns and have them the following night.
Following our outing we sat in the hot tub at our lodge whilst it sleeted, it felt really strange as my head was freezing but the water was lovely and hot. Here I am sporting the Alaskan summer wear, swimming cossy, cardigan and snow boots!
Following a walk on the breezy spit we stopped by a traditional fisherman's bar where I thrashed Chris at pool, called the Salty Dawg Saloon. It was really quirky inside there were dollar bills stuck everywhere, the lady behind the bar told us that she estimated around $30,000 dollars but said in the peak season the window a the rings and every thing was covered following the peak season they removed these dollars and gave them to a local charity. And I'm not sure if I mentioned I beat Chris 2-0 at pool here.
We visited the harbour and I was lucky enough to see a few golden eagles which was my reason for wanting to visit this coast. They used to be here in abundance when a lady used to feed them, there was a bylaw in place to say she was the only person in Homer legally allowed to feed the Eagles. Since the last died the numbers of bald Eagles has diminished year on year but it's still fairly certain you will see 1 or 2 if you sit around long enough. During my time on Homer I managed to see 6 in total, 1 of which was nesting and 1 in full flight which was amazing.
After a long drive we reached our final accommodation of Alaska. We were staying at the Denali View lodges. The lodge we were allocate was called Fireweed it was a bungalow with full kitchen and living area. It was lovely and had views of the sea.

11 March 2016

On our way to Homer our final stop of our Alaskan adventure we stopped by a place called Whittier. During WWll the US Army constructed a military facility here and the port was used for United States soldiers into Alaska. The population of the town is estimated around 217 almost all of whom live in a single building. The town can be reached by ship and is a popular stop for cruise ships however by land there is only 1 way in and 1 way out which is a tunnel through the mountains around 3 miles long and is only 1 way. All transport enters Whittier this way including the Alaskan Railroad. The 1st picture is taken before we entered the tunnel and the last picture was in Whittier notice the difference in Weather we were astounded!
Before leaving the hotel we were aquatinted with some of the regulars.
When we went for breakfast we were greeted with a beautiful view across the lake. The sights were stunning and we would have liked to have stayed longer to enjoy but we were up early and wanted to carry on our journey South.
Following the long journey we decided to get takeout rather than eat out. The best thing about America is that any restaurant with do take away. We found a Greek Italian restaurant. Chris had pasta marinara and I ordered a moussaka and it wasn't long after this I was snoring. You can see how tired Chris was in this pictures but he was still keen to go out looking for the Aurora I however was snoring in my bed. Zzzzzzz
We arrived at our overnight stop in Wasilla, the hotel looked lovely but dusk was starting so we were unable to see the views fully.
I some how spotted this at the side of the road. I'm so pleased I was looking forward to seeing a moose we tried really hard to find one from the Cessna and all we managed were tracks
We started another long journey this time around 623 miles long we planned to break it 350 miles into the trip at a place called Wasilla which is where the Iditarod have their headquarters. Unfortunately we didn't quite manage to visit so I think we should plan to go back again next year!
On our way South we stopped at the pipeline visitor centre to see the Pipeline. This pipeline carries oil 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay in the far North of Alaska to Valdez in the south. The pipe itself is 48 inches in diameter and crosses 3 mountain ranges and more than 500 rivers and streams. The pipe cost more than $8 billion to build in 1977 and was the largest privately funded construction project at the time. The project started on the 27th March 1975 and ended 31st May 1977. The first oil ran through the pipe on the 20th June 1977. I have been trying to get in touch with the construction company to recommend they come and finish the M62!
The following morning before setting off North towards Homer we popped into Santa's house again and this little fella jumped in the car so we have stowed him with us and plan to sneak him on the airplane home.

9 March 2016

We continued the theme of eyes bigger than belly and this large piece of Mississippi mud pie was served before been put in a take out box to be eaten on our journey North the following day.
Santa suggested a place 30 minutes drive called The Turtle Club that was in a place called Fox. I was in need of some real food we had eaten a lot of pizza / fast food and burgers whilst been away and I was craving some fresh food. Santa chose well, the Turtle club only offered 2 choices prime rib or seafood perfect! They had a salad bar you could help yourself to which was lovely, the bread was served in a mini load and was served to the table hot. For starters Chris had Mozzarella sticks with a Marinara sauce and I had coconut Shrimp- they were lovely by at this point already we were wandering if we may have overdone it with the starter. Belly bigger than eyes syndrome or in my case chin disease .... It's growing and it needs to eat. The prime rib was a foxy portion as you can see its for light appetites I am so out of my league here as I struggled to finish and Chris couldn't believe I was contemplating the medium size.
We had a little drive through town and got a couple more pictures before heading back to the hotel and deciding where to go to dinner. Guess who was just leaving the hotel as we arrived!!!!!!!!! He even came back so we could have a picture taken with him and then recommended somewhere for dinner. How can you not take a recommendation from Santa, he even took a picture of us on his iPhone.
I was very disappointed to learn that Santa had gone on vacation and didn't intent to return until May. I did get to sit in his seat and see a couple of his reindeers who had been left behind for the winter.
Following the ice sculptures we headed back to the North Pole to see the big man himself and take a wander round his house. It was very very festive.
Chris managed to get us media passes that allowed us into the area where people were still working on their sculptures. There were 48 different countries competing in the event. These pictures show the multi block sculptures. We spoke to one of the artists and their piece was using 10 blocks of ice weighing approx 30tonnes. The ice was cut from rivers last year and stored before been brought to Fairbanks from all over Alaska.
Following breakfast we went to the Ice Sculpting World Championships based in Fairbanks. The sculptures were amazing and the pictures don't really do them justice. We had a great day and I had the most memorable lunch of the trip. Chicken and rice soup it's the future and I plan to try and make this when I get home.

8 March 2016

We had arrived at the North Pole fairly late but after travelling most of the day we decided it would be nice to have a walk through the town. All the lamp posts were red and white candy canes, Christmas trees were scattered around and there were some ice sculptures around the town making it feel very festive. We even passed the post office that deals with all the letters to to Santa from children all over the world.
The Hotel was lovely, we were hoping for a little more festivity but it was very nicely done and was close enough to the town that we could walk.
We continues our journey which had taken us 371 miles North of Anchorage and eventually reached the town of North Pole. The town had been called this when it was first established in the hopes it would attract a toy manufacturer. Unfortunately it didn't but now the towns people celebrate Christmas 365 day a year and you can even visit Santa's house.
We eventually stumbled on somewhere to eat as we started to descend down the mountain. I'm not sure how business' can survive with so little people around. Some of the towns we passed through only had populations of under 100 people. The little cafe we found did a lovely vegetable soup perfect to warn us up on a cold chilly day.
So we headed off on our 5/6 hours journey north to the town of North Pole 20 miles south east of Fairbanks. In order to get there we had to cross the Denali Mountain range, the views were stunning. There were lots of view points and stops along the way, unfortunately Alaska mustn't expect tourists this time of year as everything was closed for the winter. The season appears to be May - Sept and speaking to the local people the tourist routes and National Parks are a hive of activity. We could drive for miles this time of year without even passing another car.
This was the best breakfast I have ever had and I plan to recreate this when I get home. Eggs Benedict mmmmm never had this before but could become a weekend regular

7 March 2016

Meet Paco he lived at the Denali View and was the boss of the place. His snoring was on par with mine when he slept so we had something in common.
We spent the night staying at the Denali View, the house was located up a forest track and had outstanding views of the Denali mountain range. There was a hot tub in the garden but unfortunately due to time we didn't manage to enjoy it this time round.
We headed to the plane again to set off home on our journey back to Talkeetna Airport. I was the co-pilot sat in the front. I had to hold on so I wasn't tempted to press one of the many buttons flashing in front of me. I enjoyed been sat in the front although I would say the view from the back seat was best. We had a magical day that I will remember forever!
The sleeping dogs were beautiful taking the opportunity to rest before they set off on their way. The mushers spread straw out for them to sleep and they look so peaceful and unit rested in the people awwwing over them.
This was the most gorgeous sight I saw. This musher pulled in and out of the sled popped this little head shortly followed by the second. According to the musher they were just having a rest. They were soon hooked up to the sled and on their way.
It was a wonderful sight watching the dogs come over the hill towards the pass. Once they reach the checkpoint the dogs are counted to ensure the same amount are entering the checkpoint that left the other. They are. He led by the vets and then the musher collects their own food and decides to rest or carry on.
Other people had headed out to the pass to see the race leaders coming through. It was a beautiful day with the sun shining bright.
This is all the food lined up ready for the mushers coming in. All the food is packages up and shipped out weeks before the rain starts to ensure everything is in place.
There were a few buildings here that were used in summer as camps for climbers. Even in the summer the only was to reach rainy pass is by plane. It was a stunning place. The little building Chris is peeping over the door at is the toilet, thankfully someone had thoughtfully used polystyrene as a seat to make it a little more pleasant for the ladies!
We finally landed at the Rainy Pass checkpoint. 1 team had already arrived and their dogs were sleeping in the hay. The scenery was breathtaking we were surrounded by snow covered mountains. There were a handful of people who had made the same journey and all had either arrived by plane or snow mobile.
As part of the flight we followed part of the route of the Iditarod to see if we could see any mushers. We managed to see a few they looked like tiny little dots crossing frozen lakes. We also passed over a couple of the earlier checkpoints and we could see where the straw had been laid out for the dogs and also teams who were still resting.
The flight took around 40 minutes to our destination and we flew at 120knots which is approx 130mph. This picture is if the last Rd we saw leaving the airport. This was approx 5/10 minutes into the flight. There were no other roads between this one and our destination just forests, lakes and mountains. We also saw lots of moose tracks but unfortunately no moose.
The scenery was amazing we flew at a height of around 900ft above ground level. The mountains we flew over were 300ft and were part of the Denali mountain range. I was expecting air traffic control but no once up you were on your own and it was down to the pilot to keep an eye out for passing planes. I have to admit this was quite difficult so Holly was really useful to have as an extra pair of eyes. The traffic in the sky seemed relatively busy but then most of the country can't be reached without a plane.
We arrived at the air field and met our pilot David and his navigator/wife Holly who would be accompanying us on our flight. The plane we flew in was a Cessna 185. The back row of seats had been removed to allow enough room for a rucksack. The plane itself was very cosy and 4 people could just about fit (6 with the back row goodness knows how). I was feeling a little bit nervous mainly due to the flight distance but also a little worried about turbulence.
The next morning we headed another hour north to a town called Talkeetna. At Talkeetna airport we would meet our pilot to fly out to the Rainy Pass check point to meet some of the early race leaders.

6 March 2016

That night we visited the only pub and restaurant in the area. One of Alaska's most popular folk singers was on, his name was Hobo Jim. Most of his songs are around fishing, dog sledding and the Alaskan culture we had a great night.
The B&B we stayed in was called Mooseburry inn. The lady who ran on was originally from Germany but had lived in America years and years, she had lived a long time in New York before. Moving to Alaska and you could here her drawling accent. The B&B was in a beautiful location tucked out of the way overlooking a lake. The lake was currently frozen but the lady told me that in the summer they swim in that lake. It sounds like the temperates in Summer are good it tends to be in the 80's regularly.
We decided we needed refuelling, there was s variety of food stands we opted for cowboy fries. This involved French fries with pulled pork, sweet chilli/ bbq sauce and cheese. It was delicious. Whilst eating our food we got chatting to a gentleman who turned out to be an ex president of the Iditarod. We were telling him about our plans to fly to Talkeetner and it turns out he is also travelling their tomorrow. Small world.
We went to find our spot by the start so we could watch some if the mushers leave. Teams were set off with a 2 minute break in between. Their starting position had been decided at a press dinner where they had drawn their starting positions. Depending on their start position this also determined which bob they would wear.
So the time had come for Kim to get all her dogs ready and on the sled. Each dog has its talent and depending on its strengths depends on where on the sled the dog is positioned. Smoky the dog I have had my pictures with a few days earlier is what they call an Anchor dog. He is out going keeps the rest of his team mates happy as he is an upbeat happy dog. He is also a good pace keeper for this reason he is usually positioned at the last point before the sled. The dogs at the front also known as the lead dogs have to be able to make decisions and have a real passion for running.
This is the location of all the mushers GPs systems before they set off on their journeys. You can clearly see our lake location here.
It was really nice to see people out to enjoy the event from all walks of life. It had a real family feel to it. Families had come for the day and brought chairs and cool boxes with picnics packed up. The start line itself was really busy with people lining the edge of the track trying to get a glimpse of their favoured musher on their way to Nome
We spent the first couple of hours win the dogs and Kim Franklins team the English Musher. All the dogs were resting I think they were basking in the sun just like Storm likes to do. It was a different atmosphere to Anchorage very exciting but you could also feel the air of anticipation and looking at Kim you could certainly see her worry.
It was a beautiful day at Willow lake the sun was shining high in the sky. It was very busy people had come from far and wide to see the start of the big event. All the dog trucks were parked on the lake, one of the officials told us it was 23inch thick.
So we headed North to Willow to see the official restart of the Iditarod. This is the real thing where the 87 mushers would set off across a frozen lake to start their 1049 mile journey to Nome. The further North we headed the more beautiful it became. We managed to get to the hotel before the race so we could drop our bags.

5 March 2016

Whilst the workers were working hard on clearing the snow I visited numerous bars and pubs in Anchorage chatting to people from all over the world. Needless to say the following morning was a slow start as I had some recovery to do.
Once the ceremony was complete all the snow that had been hauled in had to be hauled out again and the roads returned so they were safely passable. The team worked tirelessly into the night and by the morning all was restored to its former self.
This is Kim Franklin, she is the only British Musher running the Iditarod this year. Kim attempted to do it in 2012 but unfortunately didn't finish. But here she is back with a vengeance she has run 3 300 mile races this year so far and has spent the last 2 winters in Alaska training to Mush. She is a lovely lady who us very personable and had a lot of love for her team of dogs. We wish get well on her challenge and will watch in anticipation of her getting all the way to Nome.
One thing I really enjoyed as well as meeting the dogs was the people watching. People had flocked from not just America but all over the world to see the start of the Iditarod. Everyone we met was so polite and pleased to meet you we had a fabulous day.
I took hundreds of photos of the dogs but here are some of my favourites of the dogs I met in Anchorage.
We arrived early on the Main Street so we could interact with the dogs and the race teams. We were up for around 6am and out on the Street which had been snow covered overnight by 7am. All the snow had been brought to Anchorage by freight train all the way from Fairbanks 300 miles away. Although there had been some degree of snow the day we landed it wasn't enough to allow the mushers a safe ride through the streets. We spent the first part of the morning interacting with the dog teams and speaking to people in the main Mushers area. We were expecting to be moved on but out VIP badges gave us the authority to stay.
So here we are the big event today is the Ceremonial start in Anchorage and we had managed to get ourselves some VIP passes which would get us access to all the same places the mushers could go. The ceremony started at 10am and each musher would set off through the streets of Anchorage 2 minutes between one another there are 87 mushers in total all of which have had to complete 3 300 mile races in order to qualify for the Iditarod.

4 March 2016

So in the afternoon of our first day in Alaska we had arranged to meet with Kim Franklin. Kim is the only British musher this year. Chris had contacted her on the Internet and had agreed to take some pictures for her to support with publicity. We met 3 of her dogs, the first been Anima. He is one of her leaders and will hopefully lead her sled all the way to Nome. We also met Smoky he was such s happy friendly boy, Smoky is an Anchor dog which mean he will go to the back in the dogs nearer the sled. He's not wise enough yet to be a leader but he has good stamina and is a happy boy which helps keeps the spirits of all the dogs up. The 3rd dog we met was Erman, she is one of the few lady dogs and she is the only blues eyes Husky Kim has. Kim jokes that she calls Erman, Erman the German as she doesn't always listen. Kim will ask her to go left and she will go right, so the joke is she must speak German as she simply ignore s her and usually try's to go the opposite way
So we have finally found the hotel and had a little wander round Anchorage. The hotel is in a fabulous location it's around 4 blocks from the start of the Iditarod but the race actually passes right outside the door. The hotel itself is very basic but really happy with the location and free 24hr coffee facilities.
The journey to the hotel was around 20 minutes it was a little hairy in places and our 4x4 was spinning on the snow but looking around do were the locals. For some strange reason they don't winter proof their cars and use all season tyres! How crazy.
I took these pictures passing through the airport. Everywhere you look in Alaska people are proud of their culture. The wildlife the natives and their art work. The Huskies and of course the moose which I'm yet to see but still hopeful. I recon if you had landed here and didn't really know where you were you could make an educated guess.
Here we are landing in Alaska the terrain looks very similar to Iceland and on landing it was snowing which is great news I'm sure the people of Anchorage will agree snow will help the ceremonial start run smoother.
Starting as I mean to go in, I could get used to this its a shame I'm listed as a driver in Alaska.
So we had a very early start today we took our little hire car back to the rental company knowing the next one will be much bigger (4x4) and less economical, whilst in Seattle we covered around 140 miles and it cost us £8 to fill the tank again before dropping off. We had enough time to have a little mooch around the airport and I managed to grab some breakfast. Chris wasn't hungry but that's because he had finished last nights pizza at 4am this morning (we had a microwave in the room). The glass tiles you can see were in the toilet at the airport and the glass work on the Windows was in the departure lounge, Seattle is famous for its glass work. The escalators I have taken a picture of is the car rental building I told you about when we first landed at Seattle it really is a monster. Anyway see you at the last Frontier the 49th State. Lx

3 March 2016

Following our day out we headed back to the hotel and went to the hotel restaurant that advertised wood fired oven pizza, by 9pm I was yawning again and retired to bed. We had an early start alarm clock was set for 3.30am ready to catch our flight to Anchorage.
And yes you've guessed it of course I insisted we stop by the Ale house. I had 1/2 of Blonde Beer and Chris my driver and photographer stuck to the non alcoholic root beer and monkey nuts. The bar was just like Santa Fe used to be in Florida each table had monkey nuts and the shells were just tossed on the floor.
I can't remember the last time I saw a duke box in a bar it's such a shame out pubs are dying out.
We were lucky enough to catch the sunset we had a wander round. It was a very small place it had 1 hotel a couple of shops, a seafood fast food place and an Ale house.
Following our Boeing your we continued up the coast to Mulkilteo Lighthouse Park. There's a ferry crossing here that takes people across the water to Clinton.
This is the mural across the front of the Boeing factory this is listed in the Guinness world records as the worlds largest Mural and the building is the largest in the world by volume.
***GEEK ALERT*** Peter this is for you but I hope everyone enjoys! This is a Trent engine and here are some interesting facts. This type of engine is used in the Dreamliner. 1) At take off each fan blade bears the load of 1000 tonnes equivalent to a freight train hanging off each blade. 2) A Trent Engine has around 18,000 individual components. 3) each blade produces over 800bhp at take off 4) the blades in the engines high pressure system rotate at 13,500rpm with top speeds of 1200mph. 5) The Trent engine has accumulated 63 million service hours and equivalent to 160 trips to the sun and back. 6) The highest temp inside the engine is nearly half as hot as the surface of the sun. 8) 4 Trent engines provide enough static thrust to power the space shuttle. 9) Trent engine takes in around 2,500lb of air every second, 70tonnes of air per min. Equivalent to 60,000 people breathing out at the same time. 10) the average weight of a Trent engine is 5.5 tonne equivalent to 3 family sized cars.
So we attended the tour at the Boeing Factory it was a shame as it felt a little rushed and herded. Really glad we paid a visit but been in much better tours.
So today we are headed to the Boeing discovery centre to see the production lines of assembly for the 787 (Dreamliner) along with others. To start the day we headed out towards Mukilteo and found a quirky cafe where we feasted on Omelette and home made hash browns.

2 March 2016

The Sky Needle by night.
Wow what an amazing night at the Sky Restaurant. We were taken 640ft up to the observation deck where we spent 30 minutes whilst our table was being prepared. The majority of the time we spent on the outside observation area it was very cold but the views across Seattle were beautiful. We were instructed to attend the restaurant at 8pm as per our booking. We were allocated a window seat after a little gentle persuasion it was really strange as the restaurant spins. We thought the full building spin but it was simply the floor to the restaurant the outer structure was completely still. We were rotated using a 1.5bhp engine which was an upgrade from 1. It took a full 47 minutes for the restaurant to do a full circle. The food was lovely we both started with crab cakes, Chris has pork chop for his main followed by white chocolate bread pudding and I had half of roast chicken followed by mini dipping doughnuts. We washed all the lovely food with Espresso Martini's.
So after all that hard work with the Hammering Man there was nothing else to it but to have a pint at the pike place brewery. I had a Pike Naughty Nellie it was named for the Madam of the La Salle Hotel where Pike was founded. It was described a light curvy session beer with sex appeal. I also tasted another one called Pike Pale the Heirloom amber Ale which was the first ale they made. The bar itself had a lovely atmosphere and was a great place to stop off for a leg rest.
The scavenger hunt took us to meet the hammering Man outside of the art museum. The hammering man is said to depict the worker in all walks of life, the coal miner, the farmer the office worker. This particular version is the second largest of the sculptures the largest of which is in Germany Frankfurt and stands at 21m tall it was built for the Frankfurt Trade fair in 1990
Enough to put you off your dinner, the chewing gum wall where people had stuck their part chewed gum to the wall sometimes in a very creative fashion. Apparently the gum wall was removed in November 2015 however it has been started again if this is the result of only 3/4 months of gum art I dread to think what the other one looked like.
Some nice shots around Pike Place Market you can see the industry meet the tourist.
The fish was plentiful and we were lucky enough to see them chanting and catching the fish as they threw it to each other across the stall. I expected this to be more prevalent, it may have been the time of day but it was great to watch. I did a training course at work about the fish philosophy which is based on the fish stall at Pike Place Market.
The fruits and vegetables looked gorgeous and there were many I hadn't seen before like sunset potatoes.
Pike Place Market was a treat for the eyes so much colour and lots of different things to see. It's such a shame that this type of market is a rarity.
Following the pastry shop we were guided to the first ever Starbucks. Cake and coffee would have been great but the pastry didn't make it the 200yds down the street.
First stop at Pike Place was a Russian pastry shop Piroshky Piroshky as part of the scavenger hunt I had to identify a savoury and a sweet pastry. The menu didn't give me any clues so I had to cue and ask the lady at the counter to help. As she was so helpful it would have been rude for me not to support her business so I bought 2 pastries, a Moscow roll and a Lemon Swirl. Mmmmm they were delicious.
First view of Pike Place Market on the horizon and I was also amazed that the floor was smoking here just like in the movies. I received a few funny looks from the locals as I was getting excited and photographing the grid in the Rd lol
So here we are in Downtown Seattle. There were park areas dotted around the city with play areas for the children and games for the adults. There were people playing table tennis out in the street it was really nice. It's such a shame but things like this wouldn't last at home as people wouldn't respect them.
We were then guided to a monorail which would take us downtown. The city is very clean and people have been very friendly not as brash as Florida but really lovely.
So when we eventually got ourselves back on track we were guided to the Seattle Centre ( which was where the confusion started in the first place as I thought this meant the city lol) at the Seattle centre we saw the Sculpture garden, Chihuly Gardens and Glass, the science centre and the bases of the space needle.
So we set off on our scavenger hunt. We had ordered this online before travelling and it promised to show us the sights of Seattle whilst showing us a few bits and pieces we wouldn't of normally seen. Got off to a terrible start as I walked Chris around 1.5 miles in the wrong direction.
For breakfast we headed to a cafe called Citizen about 4 blocks down from our hotel. I had a traditional American breakfast whilst Chris feasted on pulled pork taco's. The food and coffee was both really good.
I took some more photos around the hotel to show you. It's very quirky and a little garish but it works really well.
I liked this but I thought the purple shrub could have been purple sprouting broccoli what do you think?
The first place we visited this morning was a park area called Kerry Park. We had been told it was a great place to get views across the city. As you can see from the 1st picture the roads here are very steep in places it's like I would imagine San Francisco to be, complete with trolley buses. I was also please we took the car ha ha
So here we are its Wednesday morning it's currently 9am here I feel refreshed following a good nights sleep. Today we are investigating Seattle. We have downloaded a scavenger hunt which should take us to all the best bits to visit. Pike place Market. Space Needle, and the first Starbucks. I will keep you posted. L X

1 March 2016

I have to show you this during one of the breaks at the ice hockey this car was driven to the middle of the ice. People had purchased rubber pucks that had numbers written on them like raffle tickets. On the sound of a horn people threw their pucks from all around the arena trying to get their puck into the open sunroof it was crazy!! I'm not sure they would allow this at home. The other thing they did was when someone scores a hatrick they threw their baseball caps into the ring they had to stop play for people to run in and collect them all up.
So tonight we went to see some Ice Hockey I've never been before but Chris tells me he used to go to See Manchester Storm. We went to the ShoWare centre to see the Hockey and it was the third game between the Seattle Thunderbirds and Tri City. The atmosphere was great lots of loud music, chanting and excitement. We had amazing seats only 3 rows back from the front right in the middle of the pitch so we had a great view of both sides not missing any action. There were lots of sin bins, squabbles broken hockey sticks and penalties. I really enjoyed the hockey but I have to confess my lack of sleep caught up and had a little snooze in the last 20 minutes of course waking to take part in the goal scoring celebrations. The Seattle T-Birds won 7 - 2.
On our way to the Ice Hockey love this graffiti made better by the reflection.
He always has something up his sleeve. This was left in the room for me. I don't think it's for drinking today as I'm too tired but will be lovely. This is the wine we always buy in Florida. As for the chocolate I'm sure that won't last too long.
The hotel we are staying in is called the Maxwell hotel it's very quirky but very nice. I hope he others we have booked are as nice. The logo for the hotel is a pineapple and there seems to be a running theme. There's subtle hints of yellow everywhere and the body gel and hand wash is pineapple flavoured.
We weren't able to check in at the hotel on arrival as it was only lunch time, we did however manage to leave our luggage park the car and we were given directions to a great Pizza place called Pagliacci the food was delicious. Chris had Calzone pizza and I had a foe cheese pasta called Nonna's pasta I'm not sure who Nonna was but her pasta was delicious. Mmmmmmm
Once we had reached arrivals by train we had to find where to collect the rental car from. We had to board an airport bus that took us at least 10 minutes across the airport to reach another building that had only rental companies in it. To give you an idea of size I would have said it was twice the size of Middleton Bus station but then I later found out it was built on 5 floors. The four were below the building and acted as a multi-storey garage for all the cars. As we left the airport we had around a 30minute drive to the hotel we caught our first glimpse of the Seattle skyline.
So we have finally landed in Seattle next stop passport control. It's a massive airport it's very similar to Orlando international because it has a train to take you from passport control to arrivals.
Our first glance at Seattle as we start to descend. The clouds were thick and until we reached around 4000ft you couldn't see anything. Very grey and rainy much like Manchester. If you look on a couple of the pictures you can see the space needle we have a reservation there for a meal on Wednesday night.
It was a really good flight from Amsterdam to Seattle. We flew with Delta airways the staff were really attentive, the food was nice and I managed to get myself a little sleep as you can see from the pictures Chris so kindly took for me.
Not quite sure what kind of live animals have joined us on board think it's too late for Husky,s though.

29 February 2016

Chris carrying his birthday cake round Shiphol Airport - Has cake will travel.
Beautiful sunrise at Schiphol Airport as we landed this morning.
So our very next adventure has finally begun. We decided not to sleep so I currently feel like I've had the longest day ever. I have to say I have never before had a bath at 2am. We arrived in the airport in good time and have now boarded our first flight to Amsterdam. We are due to depart at 05:55 and all seems to be on track. Thanks for following our adventures and we will update you later on our journey L&C