We live in a world where the economy is as fragile as a Hanson’s fan’s heart (say that fast). So, being the generous souls we are, Liz and I made our way (in the early hours) to the 7 Eleven sat lovingly around the corner from the Clarion. We added 99c to America’s economy via a Big Gulp and felt we had done our bit to boost it. You can thank us later.

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Between the drunken mumblings from the night before, myself, Liz, Adam and Stacey had agreed to meet in the morning for a day trip to Seattle. Due to jet lag, we were up earlier than our scheduled meeting time, so we met Adam and Stacey in the lobby for 9am. This would be the first and last time that me and Liz were punctual for a meeting.

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Getting from the Clarion to Downtown Seattle is not only incredibly easy, but the sights along the way are pleasant and make for an enjoyable jaunt. It costs just $6 for a day pass, which takes you from the airport to Westlake. We were given a recommendation of getting off at Westlake as it’s pretty central and very close to Pike Place Market.

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There was no concrete plan for the day. We did have select areas in mind that we wanted to visit, such as the Space Needle, Capitol Hill and Pike Place, but we didn’t rush nor stress and simply let Seattle guide us wherever it wanted us to go. We also kept the plans loosey goosey because we considered the fact that other Trekkers may well like to join us.

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After Liz bumped into some guy selling eternal hope bracelets, we gently strolled towards Pike Place Market. With the glorious sun trying to scratch a burn into my neck (good luck, factor 50 has my back) we took shaded shelter inside the market. It was so beautiful. A bright palette of colours and a hefty variety of fruit and fantastic food was visible from the get go. There were countless fish stalls, flower stalls, food stalls and odd bits in-between. It was delightful. It was busy. It was immense!

We found a quaint yet quirky cafe that overlooked the sea. It was called Sound View Cafe and I decided to eat until I hated myself. This way, I’d only need to purchase one meal to last the best part of the day. Like I said, the economy ain’t great so you’ve got to think economically. Plus… I needed to save as much of my budget for Vegas!

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I ended up eating one brunch plate and three quarters of another. Reason being, I was almost finished with my meal when I discovered that the pancakes weren’t cooked throughout. They were gooey! It wasn’t a major problem, but I had saved those bad boys until last because pancakes. So I told the waitress and they brought out a whole new meal! It would have been rude not to try and stuff my face all over again, so I ate every little bit and immediately regretted it.

Our next little stop was at the Starbucks near Pike Place Market. Now, I’ll drink Starbucks, but it isn’t my go-to coffee hangout. However, Starbucks did get me into changing my mind about paying silly money for cups of borrowed coffee, so I wanted to check their store. ESPECIALLY considering they started life in Seattle.

Although we had a day pass to zip around the city, we all decided to take it slow and bask in Seattle’s glorious weather and laid-back vibe. The city reminded me of San Francisco in a way. Both cities carry this sense of safety, intrigue, cute architecture and unbridled optimism. So we walked and talked our way to the Space Needle in hopes of going up the thing.

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Turns out nope. The queue was massive and we’d be waiting a good few hours to get to the top. I wasn’t entirely bothered about this and happily snapped pictures of the Needle from the ground.

With Adam on comms with Josefine, a bold Danish gal we hoped to meet today, we decided to relax on the grass near the Needle before tackling the ridiculously steep roads that led to Capitol Hill. This was another reason why I felt Seattle was similar to San Fran – those bloody hills! Hill detest aside, we confirmed a meeting point with Jo, slapped on more sun cream and powered on.

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Capitol Hill is a welcoming and diverse area of Seattle. Its proud pride agenda is visible everywhere you look – it’s such a refreshing thing to see! Rainbow flags make up for the best part of the colour scheme for the area, and there was even a kind message displayed on the church on Broadway. Another delightful thing (which thoroughly entertained me) was the feet markers on the sidewalks that show you different dance styles and how to perform them.

We met Jo near the north end of Broadway and then turned back to find a restaurant to relax. Graham, Trekker number five, was also planning on meeting us at Capitol Hill, so it made sense for us to stay put and for me to get five cans of PBR. IT MADE SENSE.

Graham joined us and we spent some time having a few drinks and still figuring out how far we could set the bar. A few sailors came into the restaurant and Stacey managed to get a snap with them!

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Before we came to Seattle, Liz and I had heard of the pride crosswalks dotted around the city. We desperately wanted to find one, so we googled a location and headed there after our quick tipple. The crosswalk is such a great idea and it looks absolutely great!

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Our final major stop for the day was the Seattle Waterfront. Located here are restaurants, bars, stunning views and the Seattle Great Wheel. We popped into Fishermans Restaurant that was positioned directly under the Great Wheel. As day waved away and night-time came, the Great Wheel displayed a magnificent carousel of colours which repeated for hours on end. It was stunning.

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After a few ales to top up the PBRs, Dean was getting giggly. It was around nine when most of the guys decided to head back to the hotel to prep for the 7.30am Trek meeting in the Clarion lobby. Being the bad influences we are, Liz, Jo and I decided to stay out and enjoy every last minute of Seattle. We wouldn’t have time to explore the place tomorrow (down to the fact that we had a huge drive to Yellowstone on the cards) so it made even more sense to stay out late. MORE SENSE THAN ME DRINKING 5 PBRs AT 3PM.

Okay, so I’ll warn you. A lot of these journal entries might end the same. By that I mean, things get fuzzy and blurry and I can’t explain how certain events unfold. So, on this glorious Seattle night, Liz, Jo and I managed to (somehow) navigate the streets of Seattle to Jo’s hostel. We then (somehow) carried her incredibly large backpack/tank/house/country to the train station where we (somehow) made the last train. We then (somehow) made it to the Clarion and (somehow) we didn’t vomit.

And that, my friends, is what I call a (somehow) successful night.

Written by Dean