After a slow morning in we headed back towards Seattle Centre where Liz wanted to visit the Music and Science Fiction Museum. Since I wasn’t too interested in this, I planned to find the nearest Starbucks (pretty easy in Seattle) to do some much needed catch up on my blog. Waving goodbye to Lizzie by the Space Needle, I hurried off through the rain in search of the Food Court which HAD to have a Starbucks. That was the easy part, the difficult part was finding somewhere with electricity so I could use the computer. Eventually I ended up pulling a chair over to a corner by the information desk and balancing the computer on my knees – classy. Classy it may not have been, but it was certainly productive and I finally managed to finish writing and posting about our time in LA as well as a brief Skype chat with my dad. Lizzie came to find me at about 3ish and while I read my book, she took advantage of the speedy internet to get some blogging time in. After a while we returned the laptop to the car before catching the monorail towards the Downtown area. Our first stop was the first ever Starbucks, opened as a small independent coffee shop 40 years ago.

First Ever Starbucks!!! (Take 2)

Today we actually managed to end up in the right one! It doesn’t have any seating, which is probably so they can fit more people in because it was pretty busy. We also had a rather surreal experience; just after walking in the door Liz points out one of the baristas to me and we both recognise her fromSt Andrews, so we go over to say hi.

...and again.

She recognised us too and we chatted briefly, but she was working so couldn’t chat for longer. Drinks in hand we went outside to take some pictures before going to find the underground tunnel with the free bus in it. This was a little more difficult than expected, but we eventually found the right bus and got on. Pioneer Place was only a couple of stops away and we (just) managed to make the 6pm Underground Tour.

Some underground stuff

After the great Seattle fire in 1889 they decided to raise the level of the streets be several feet, approximately equivalent to one storey of a building. However, this would take time and the businesses wanted to start rebuilding straight away, so they did both at once; building up the centre of the streets, but leaving the sidewalks at the original level for several years until they built the new sidewalks over the top, leaving tunnels underneath where the original sidewalks ran.

More underground stuff.

The tour took us through part of this underground world that still exists, with the most enthusiastic (and somewhat annoying) tour guide in the world. The history aspect of the tour was interesting, but much of the stuff that we saw was a little disappointing, since most of the passages were in various stages of decay and disrepair, so we were essentially just walking through them. We did find out that some of these passages were used to store bootleg liquor for speakeasies during the prohibition. Another favourite subject of our tour guide was “crappers”, she explained how early sewage systems led down to the sea, but when the tide was in and you lived in the middle of town, flushing your “crapper” could lead to you being shot 4 feet into the air by sewage… lovely! The tour finished, as all tours do, in the gift shop, which was rather overpriced, so we quickly escaped back up to street level in search of something to eat. The tour had taken us past a cheese shop, but it turned out to be an expensive sandwich shop, so we gave it a miss and bought some chocolate instead.

In the chocolate shop.

We caught the train (free bus time had expired while we were on the tour) and the monorail back to the car and headed home via the supermarket to buy some dinner. Rachel and Matt were out for the evening, but arrived home just after we did since we got in so late. They sat with us while we ate our bread and cheese (while feeling slightly guilty for vegan torture) and not long later we all headed to bed, saying goodbye to Matt since he would be leaving really early in the morning.

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