On the 22nd Day of the PapiBlogger Family Road Trip, the Ruiz clan was joined at this point of the journey by the kids’ aunt from Texas, they visited Pike’s Place Fish Market and they also went to the top of Seattle’s famous Space Needle.
TIA MELISSA JOINS THE JOURNEY
My sister-in-law Melissa flew in from Austin last night and would you believe it: our PapiMobile, the 2010 Chevrolet Traverse, still had room for a sixth person? Melissa will be with us from Seattle through Buffalo. The best news of all is that she’ll help us with the driving load and a rare night out.
WORLD CUP AND COFFEE CUPS
In the morning, all three kids and I stayed at the hotel to watch the extremely boring World Cup finale while my coffee-loving wife took a much-needed break from driving and the kids to go with Melissa to the Seattle By Foot “Coffee Crawl” ($22 per person). The Coffee Crawl is a two-hour walking tour where you learn about the history of coffee in Seattle and visit some of the popular local coffee houses.
Starting the tour at Seattle’s Best Coffee (owned by Starbucks), Angela and Melissa traveled through Pike Place Market to visit the oldest standing Starbucks (actually the fourth one), which still uses the R-rated topless mermaid logo. While learning more about coffee in Seattle, the group was soon introduced to “third-wave” coffee houses, such as Seattle Coffee Works and Trebant. “Third-wave” describes coffee houses where the owners have a personal relationship with the coffee bean farmers, and a strong knowledge of the region – both agriculturally and economically. The caffeine-fueled tour ended with a final sample of Clover-brewed coffee, a machine that retails for $50,000 and is also owned by Starbucks. Can you say monopoly?
After nearly falling asleep watching Spain win, the whole gang and I went to Pike’s Place Fish Market. The market is not only well known for the terrific fish you can buy there but because of the way that the enthusiastic fish order takers/throwers who work there make a show out of every order they take.
For example, when a customer orders Alaskan Salmon, a fish thrower takes your order and announces it loudly to the rest of the fish servers who repeat the same order in a fun, heckling way. On demand, the fish throwers will take large slabs of freshly killed fish and begin to make heckling sounds as they acrobatically toss large slabs of fish to each other across distances of more than 15 feet. (Their stunt has been featured on TV many times). The fish throwing takes place daily but only until 5 p.m., when the market shuts down.
THE SPACE NEEDLE
In hindsight, our final destination of the day, the world famous Space Needle, should have been our first because it’s a great launch point for getting to know Seattle.
The Space Needle is a must-see because it offers the most spectacular view of Seattle and the surrounding Cascade Mountains. The Space Needle features an observation deck at 520 feet and a gift shop with the rotating SkyCity restaurant at 500 feet that we didn’t get to eat at.
The strategic part about going to the Space Needle is also that it’s literally next door to several other quality family attractions. At the base of the Space Needle is a year round fair with rides that skew well for kids up to 15 years. On the other side is the funky Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum that was built to look like one of Seattle native Jimmy Hendrix’s banged up guitars. Melissa attended this museum and says it was great fun because kids could learn about music in a fresh, practical way not seen anywhere else in the country.
Just a couple feet off the Space Needle is also Seattle’s version of the Duck Tours. The funny thing is that we regret not taking it because these types of tours, while often tacky, are generally very family friendly and give you excellent overview of what to see or do in a particular city. Maybe next time we’ll do it in Seattle. We’ll definitely be doing these tours with our family in other cities and if we don’t like them, we’ll tell you so.
SPRINT NEXTEL ROAD TRIP TIP OF THE DAY
If you’re family road trip entails any kind of hotel stays it will serve you well to follow our family’s Triple Check Rule. This means that we never leave a hotel room without designating somebody to double check we didn’t leave anything behind. To be triple sure, a second person is usually responsible for doing a quick triple check of the room we’re about to abandon.
The other day our good habit saved our DVD collection from staying in the hotel room. By accident we had put a food tray on top of the DVD collection book we store the movies in.