Contrary to expectations
I'd been looking forward to Seattle for a long time. I remembered Seattle especially well from my last visit in 2005. At that time I was staying in Hillsboro for 6 weeks and made a day trip with my host family to the biggest city of Washington.
All the more I am disappointed how we found the city today ... Places like the Pike Market and the Space Needle are bursting at the seams and can hardly handle the crowds of tourists. In the middle of downtown, real tent cities have been created by homeless people. At every corner we are mobbed and sometimes we are begged for money in a cheeky way that we have not even experienced in Africa. There we are stopped by young, handsome, healthy boys who are convinced that they no longer have to work, because they can unfold to their free destiny and must of course be financed by donations in a justified way. Crowdfunding reloaded! If one politely denies a donation, one is insulted as antisocial and stingy *wurgling*. The city doesn't care about these obvious grievances. And the worst thing: These scroungers can live well on their "job", it looks like. The people here push notes over, what the stuff holds. Someone once told us that the pros among these high-end rip-offs make over $100,000 a year - tax-free. I don't know if that's true ... but we wouldn't be surprised anymore.
Nevertheless, we also found nice and quiet places. When we leave the city with the ferry in the evening and look back at the skyline glittering in the evening light, we again make peace with Seattle.
3 in 1
The mentioned ferry takes us over to the Olympic Peninsula, more precisely to Bainbridge Island. There we spend a night on the parking lot of the 7 Cedars Casino before we set off for the Olympic National Park the next day. This national park extends more or less over the whole Olympic Peninsula and is unique, as there are three different ecosystems in the park - coast, rainforest and mountains.
First we drive to Hurricane Ridge in the mountains. During a ranger talk we learn that the Olympic Mountains were once the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, which not so long ago was catapulted into airy heights by plate tectonics. For this reason and also because the Peninsula was once a real island - isolated by surrounding water and ice - 23 endemic species live here, such as the Olympic Marmot.
After the mountains we continue along Lake Crescent into the rainforest. Yes, there is rainforest here in the north of the USA. But not a tropical rainforest, as one could imagine, but a temperate rainforest. Anyway, this spot is the rainiest point of the USA, if you leave out Alaska and Hawaii. Since some roads are closed because of landslides, we only visit the Sol Duc Falls, small waterfalls that don't tear us from our stools.
The last point of the program is the coast. The rough sea, the circling seagulls above us and the wild beach we like very much again. The special thing is that the rainforest reaches directly to the sea. We haven't seen it like this yet.
On our way further south we happen to stop in the village "Forks" for a coffee. While all Twilight enthusiasts ring the alarm bells when they see the sign of this small commune, we pass it unsuspectingly. Only later do we learn that the vampire saga around Bella and Edward is set here and that the town has experienced an enormous economic boom since the publication of the novel series.
But we don't have time for a tour through the city, which shows us the film locations, because we have an appointment in Astoria. But more about that in the next report.