Seattle The first thing that happened when we arrived in Seattle was that the taxi driver wanted to take us for a guided tour. No extra cost, just a free tour. Mostly he complained about all the construction being done. No doubt it will be fantastic if it ever finishes. It rained. Manchester in the UK has nothing on Seattle. But it makes some very green parks and open spaces. Seattle is a great place to visit once. It’s not huge and most places are in walking distance. There’s an extensive public transport network too, including great trams. You can go out on a boat trip for a day, visit the Space Needle, go to one of the few genuine Cinerama cinemas left in the world or just enjoy a great cup of coffee. The locals can be lovely, very chatty and welcoming. You will find many street sleepers and people begging (or trying to sell you things, like olive oil). We saw so many people, mostly Japanese as it happened, taking selfies that it got really annoying. There’s a great pay-what-you-can art gallery, and we were lucky enough to get to a concert too. Great value for money. Did not see any bear shops though… Do have a trip on the monorail, but don’t bother to look for the first ever Starbucks. You can see the effects of sponsorship by the big local companies, like Starbucks, Amazon, Boeing and Microsoft. It is for the benefit of all who live there and visitors.

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