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Seattle to Victoria, British Columbia

pugent

There's more than one Washington in America! Most foreigners think only of Washington, DC, the nation's capital and my home, but on the other side of the country sits the beautiful State of Washington. This was the start and end point for my cruise to Alaska, as the ship departed from Puget Sound in Seattle and returned there seven days later after stopping in various Alaskan villages, and a few hours in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia on the last night.

Seattle is known for many things - its large Public Market, the first Starbuck's, the Space Needle and stunning nature outside of the city areas. However, I remember it most fondly as the birthplace of grunge music, Seattle being the native land of bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. These bands produced the soundtrack of my early adult life during my 20's. I listened to them all with passion, though I'm not sure if younger kids today are even aware of these legendary rock bands. In my mind, rock 'n' roll is dead. Replaced with over-synthesized music and untalented pretty faces with auto-tuned voices. But, music is not the focus of this post. Just a few pictures of Seattle and Victoria, British Columbia before telling you about the cruiseship on which I traveled. The cover shot is a view of the Seattle skyline, as our ship was embarking for the weeklong journey through majestic Alaska.

1. I've visited Seattle a few times before, but on this journey I was only there for a few hours on the evening before the cruise departure. Cruise season to Alaska lasts only four months a year, from late May - early September, with most cruises departing out of Seattle, Washington or Vancouver, British Columbia. Thus, the city takes full advantage of the huge tourist inflow during these months and charges exorbitant rates for hotels. Something like a Best Western or Quality Inn, modest American hotel chains that usually cost between $50 - $70 dollars a night, cost $300 in Seattle during this time. So, we stayed only one night before our cruise departure. As the cruise ship departs, there are nice views of the city landscape, including the famous Space Needle in the background. The largest automobile and ferry fleet in America, and third largest in the world - Washington State Ferries - operates in Puget Sound. The ferries carry passengers to San Juan Islands and other small islands located in Washington State.

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2. The main attraction in Seattle is the Public Market. Huge, full of every type of vendor imaginable. Artisans, fresh fruits, cheeses, vegetables and tons of stinky seafood. The market is famous because fishermen throw the fish to each other at various market shops, creating a very entertaining scene. Sometimes, they even toss the fish to tourists who are watching in the crowd, catching them completely off-guard. It's true - in America we like a show. :))

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3. Fish in motion...coming directly from the fishing vessels on which they were caught to the Public Market. Hand-delivered and incredibly fresh. I don't like fish, or any seafood, so I can't comment on the taste of the products sold at the market.

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4. Rows and rows of fresh flowers. Elaborate bouquets for very cheap prices - usually around $10 - $12 USD. If you were to purchase a similar floral arrangement at a professional flower shop in the U.S., with a fancy vase, it could easily cost $50 - $80. I'm a huge flower lover, easiest way to win my heart. I prefer flowers over jewelry or fancy clothes any day of the week!

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5. The largest fruits I've ever seen in my life! You can buy organic if you wish, but in general I'm not overly obsessive about food products. I'll eat almost any fruit or vegetable, with the exception of brussel sprouts.

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6. Grey, cloudy skies common in the Pacific Northwest of America but visually dramatic as you look out over the water.

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7. Photo of the legendary Public Market sign, taken at sunset with my iPhone. This market is definitely worth visiting, but caution should be exercised in the area. Only a block or two away, you will encounter prostitutes, vagrants and a lot of drug addicts sitting on the street begging. It's really quite sad to see so many young junkies, wasting their lives away with drug abuse. Seattle - a lot of young meth heads and heroin addicts. I cannot judge them, because every person fights their own addictions and personal battles in life.

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8.  After Alaska, we began cruising back to Seattle, with a short stop in Canada in the quaint city of Victoria, British Columbia. We were docked there for only four hours, arriving around 5 p.m., with limited daylight hours and really no time to take photos or explore anything. Victoria is the capital of British Columbia, named after Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. It's one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest and so charming! Sitting right on the water, with lots of cafes, street musicians and even upscale shopping for those who are interested.

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10. The area seemed to me to be very wealthy, with a lot of old homes still in immaculate condition. Even the street performers were dressed in nice clothes.

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11. Due to some maritime law, all U.S. cruiseships sailing to Alaska must make a mandatory stop in Canada for at least four hours. So, most of the major U.S. cruise lines stop in either Victoria or Vancouver. The limited time in the city leaves very little options for exploration, so my parents and I boarded one of these red buses to get an overall feel of what the city looks like. It was a great orientation, and a chance to hear more about the history and locals, which we would have never been able to discover if we had simply stayed in city center and walked around on our own. People here are very friendly and welcoming. Solid tourist infrastructure makes the city easy to navigate.

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12. View of the port from my cruiseship balcony, right before we docked.

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13. Cute little water taxis are available at various docks in the city.

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14. The Parliament building in Victoria is beautiful! Sorry for the blurry picture, but it's difficult to snap a shot in darkness, esp. on a moving bus.

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15.  I would definitely come back to Victoria and explore further. Wonderful scenery, clean, fresh air and an overall quaint and pleasant atmosphere. I wish I could show you the colorful homes outside of city center, but I have no clear shots from the bus.

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16. Glorious sunset as we drove back to board the cruiseship, for our final night onboard.

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17. Our transport from Seattle to Alaska - the Celebrity Solstice cruiseship. Home for a week, but limited time is spent on the ship. Primarily in the evenings, enroute to the next Alaskan city. We spent full days in four Alaskan towns, on average about ten hours in each city.

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18. My dinner on the final night, or at least the main course. Chicken with a delicious wine sauce, potatoes and vegetables.

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19. Our sommelier during the entire cruise. Btw, "sommelier" - a fancy word for a wine expert. I had never heard of this word until the cruise.  It's not my personality or desire to eat at expensive, fancy restaurants where sommeliers are usually present but on the cruiseship it's just par for the course. People waiting to serve you at every corner, with pleasant attitudes and smiles at all times.

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I'll explain more about the cruiseship, food and wonderful ship workers in the next post. This was my first cruise, and I think it's an excellent way to visit Alaska!

Have your ever been to the Pacific Northwest? I really want to take a drive along the coast, and explore the States of Washington and Oregon. Someday...

Comments

( 85 comments — Leave a comment )
fesma94
Nov. 17th, 2014 04:30 pm (UTC)
the first Starbuck's (с)

I would not be proud about it if I would local ))))
peacetraveler22
Nov. 17th, 2014 04:33 pm (UTC)
I rarely go to Starbuck's. I prefer to support the small, cozy and independently owned coffee shops. It's a pity that so many of these have been forced to shut down because Starbuck's is now on almost every corner in major cities.
(no subject) - fesma94 - Nov. 17th, 2014 05:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 17th, 2014 05:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Nov. 17th, 2014 05:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 17th, 2014 05:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Nov. 17th, 2014 05:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 17th, 2014 05:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
sineglazzka2301
Nov. 17th, 2014 04:33 pm (UTC)
Cool:)
What is your general impression: is there any difference between people's way of life in main USA, Canada and Alaska? Behaviour, habits, food, accent, etc?
Btw, you do unjustice to our knowledge of American geography: anyone under 30 knows where Washington state is located, thanks to Stephenie Meyer:)))
Is it your Dad in the last photo?
peacetraveler22
Nov. 17th, 2014 05:22 pm (UTC)
Hello! I didn't mean to imply that readers would not know Washington State, only that it's not as popular with foreigners as Washington, DC. DC is a main tourist city in the U.S. Stephanie Meyer! Are you Team Jacob, or Team Edward? Personally, I liked Jacob. :)) Yes, it's my father in the last photo. The trip to Alaska was a gift for my parents, to thank them for all of their sacrifices and support throughout my life.

Victoria, Canada was not much different than the USA, but it's the only Canadian city I've visited so I don't know much about Canadians, or their habits. Alaska - it's like another planet. :) You will see when I write my posts.
(no subject) - sineglazzka2301 - Nov. 17th, 2014 05:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 17th, 2014 05:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - sineglazzka2301 - Nov. 17th, 2014 05:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
andrey_kaminsky
Nov. 17th, 2014 05:05 pm (UTC)
Новый, прогрессивный сервис
This smiling sommelier emptied half the bottle he offers you! This is only way to be sure of the liquor's quality:)
peacetraveler22
Nov. 17th, 2014 05:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Новый, прогрессивный сервис
On this cruise, they only had good stuff. No squirrel vodka. :) This was a luxury cruise line.
qi_tronic
Nov. 17th, 2014 05:30 pm (UTC)
I see Seattle Waterfront looks pretty the same as it was 10 years ago :)
This penis-shaped white building on the right on the 1st photo is the oldest skyscraper on the West.
It was built in 1914 or so.

I'm not surprised that grunge music started there.
Seattle has one of the highest suicide rate in the US because of the climate, I think.
Almost always cloudy or rainy.
But the trees are very big and green because of that :)
I love these mountains with huge spruces, pines, cedars.

But overall this climate have too much Yin (cold, water) in it.
Down there in Oregon it's more balanced.
Just 3 hours drive South and you see the difference in landscapes and weather.
More Yang (fire), less trees, apricots growing.
This reminds me the difference between Russia and Ukraine (only nature, no politics here :) ).
peacetraveler22
Nov. 17th, 2014 05:40 pm (UTC)
I don't mind this gloomy, grey weather but the rain would grow tiresome. I have never really explored Washington outside of Seattle, but I have friends living there and they post a lot of photos of the beautiful nature and mountains. I think the next big road trip I take in the U.S. will be to the Pacific NW. It's so expensive to fly there from the East Coast. :( Our plane tickets from DC were around $560.
(no subject) - sineglazzka2301 - Nov. 17th, 2014 05:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 17th, 2014 05:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sineglazzka2301 - Nov. 17th, 2014 06:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
yarowind
Nov. 17th, 2014 05:58 pm (UTC)
I'm never been on cruise. Maybe in 10-15 years?:)
peacetraveler22
Nov. 17th, 2014 05:59 pm (UTC)
It's the only way to see some of the Alaskan towns. They're only accessible via boat or plane. :) I don't think I would like a cruise for other destinations, but for Alaska it's perfect!
(no subject) - yarowind - Nov. 18th, 2014 06:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
a_nimaida
Nov. 17th, 2014 06:58 pm (UTC)
nice photo reportage
Thank you!
peacetraveler22
Nov. 17th, 2014 07:00 pm (UTC)
Hi, you're welcome! :)
(no subject) - a_nimaida - Nov. 17th, 2014 08:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 17th, 2014 08:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_nimaida - Nov. 17th, 2014 08:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 17th, 2014 08:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_nimaida - Nov. 17th, 2014 08:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
maryasha_b
Nov. 17th, 2014 08:49 pm (UTC)
We moved to Seattle recently (my husband got a job at the UW). Seattle is developing very fast, amazing city.
And the Pacific NW nature makes me feel lucky to be here.
peacetraveler22
Nov. 17th, 2014 08:55 pm (UTC)
I like this city also! But it seems the number of druggies and homeless has increased in certain parts of the city, at least since my last visit a few years ago. :( Have you visited the Public Market?
(no subject) - maryasha_b - Nov. 17th, 2014 09:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 17th, 2014 09:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - maryasha_b - Nov. 17th, 2014 09:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 17th, 2014 09:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
rider3099
Nov. 17th, 2014 09:14 pm (UTC)
Someday we’ll go there ) It’s our dream to explore Oregon and Washington States
peacetraveler22
Nov. 17th, 2014 09:15 pm (UTC)
You are much closer than me! At least you are on the West Coast. It's a very long drive to the Pacific Northwest from Virginia. :))
(no subject) - rider3099 - Nov. 17th, 2014 09:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
notabler
Nov. 17th, 2014 11:02 pm (UTC)
Just amazing journey! I would be so happy to follow you. In Vancouver lives my niece, I haven't seen her for ages. I;m looking forward to your next post
peacetraveler22
Nov. 17th, 2014 11:18 pm (UTC)
Based on my limited time there, British Columbia looks beautiful. I'd like to take a road trip through the Canadian Rockies sometime. I believe the nature in Canada is at the same level as America, very diverse and accessible due to great tourist infrastructure. Pity that Russia is lacking in this regard, but maybe tourism efforts will become more widespread in the future and more foreigners will visit.
jenden_bm
Nov. 17th, 2014 11:52 pm (UTC)
That's why almost never call DC Washington.
DC is where government located. Washington is home of Seahawks.
peacetraveler22
Nov. 17th, 2014 11:56 pm (UTC)
Seahawks? You're an American football fan? :)) Unfortunately, I'm a lifelong fan of my hometown team the Washington Redskins. But they are truly pathetic this year, the worst season in recent memory. Only a few years ago, we were playing the Seahawks in a big playoff game, which I watched from the stadium.
(no subject) - jenden_bm - Nov. 18th, 2014 12:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 18th, 2014 12:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jenden_bm - Nov. 18th, 2014 01:24 am (UTC) - Expand
burfoerste
Nov. 18th, 2014 03:30 am (UTC)
Don't forget Jimi Hendrix!
I've just got Canadian visa! I'm planning to go on december in Vancouver for a half year. I look forvard to see Beautiful British Columbia and can't resist my emotions.
peacetraveler22
Nov. 18th, 2014 02:39 pm (UTC)
I didn't know he was from Seattle! He is a different generation of music, but legendary. And my dad's favorite musician. :) Congrats on the Canadian visa!! Are you going to British Columbia for work or studies, or just to visit?
(no subject) - burfoerste - Nov. 18th, 2014 03:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 18th, 2014 03:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 18th, 2014 04:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - burfoerste - Nov. 18th, 2014 04:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
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skvorets1989
Nov. 19th, 2014 10:05 am (UTC)
People waiting to serve you at every corner, with pleasant attitudes and smiles at all times.

I don't like to be served. I prefer when a waitor is throwing dishes to the table in display how this job is not important for him.
peacetraveler22
Nov. 19th, 2014 02:57 pm (UTC)
Then Russia is the perfect country for you. :)) Although I recognize you are probably being sarcastic in your comment.
(no subject) - skvorets1989 - Nov. 19th, 2014 06:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 19th, 2014 06:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 21st, 2014 01:40 am (UTC) - Expand
maadmike
Nov. 19th, 2014 03:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks, wonderful post! When photos show the safe and relaxed atmosphere of Canada, I understand, why so many people want to become the citizens of that country.

«Cute little water taxis are available at various docks in the city.»
It is so charming!

I dreamed to travel on a cruiser until the moment, I had read about the many catastrophes with this type of ships, which took place during last two years. After realizing it is not safe, I decided not try to encounter into it together with my family.
peacetraveler22
Nov. 19th, 2014 04:07 pm (UTC)
What catastrophes? It happens on occasion, but rarely. I felt entirely safe, and would go again but only for certain countries (like Norway for instance). My Alaska posts will be better, whenever I find time to write them.
(no subject) - maadmike - Nov. 20th, 2014 10:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 20th, 2014 02:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
anna_sollanna
Nov. 19th, 2014 03:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the beautiful view of Seattle. Watching Grey's Anatomy I became curious about this city. Little water taxi is really cute, but photo 12 confused me a bit. This area looks like it is uninhabited... And Victoria's parliament building is fascinating! I adore this old architecture with domes and so on. And a funny idea to decorate it with garlands...
peacetraveler22
Nov. 19th, 2014 04:10 pm (UTC)
Victoria isn't a very crowded city, yet another reason why I liked it! :) I can't stand huge crowds of people everywhere you turn or in public places. This is why I strongly dislike Moscow! Peter is better, of course, but still a big city. The Parliament Building is beautiful. I think only the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest compares, at least of the ones I've seen. The Parliament Building in London is architecturally pleasing, but I like lights. Makes it feel like Christmas time all year round. :)
(no subject) - anna_sollanna - Nov. 20th, 2014 02:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 20th, 2014 02:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
k_netalie
Nov. 20th, 2014 09:06 pm (UTC)
Duff McKagan was born in Seattle.
peacetraveler22
Nov. 20th, 2014 10:52 pm (UTC)
Guns 'n' Roses!! :)) I didn't know he was born there, but sometimes on my way to work I play the song "Welcome to the Jungle." Because that's what I feel like each time I enter my law firm - that I'm entering a jungle of madness!! :))
(no subject) - k_netalie - Nov. 21st, 2014 09:14 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 21st, 2014 02:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - k_netalie - Nov. 21st, 2014 07:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
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