Sunday, August 7, 2011

Poulsbo & Seattle

We wanted to see the city of Seattle, but didn't want to camp in an urban environment. So, we settled in at Kitsap Memorial State Park in Poulsbo, Washington, just across Puget Sound from the city. This small, quiet park and campground was perfect for our excursion into Seattle, but as a bonus, the nearby town of Poulsbo was fun to visit, as was the tiny picturesque hamlet of Port Gamble, and the enormous and excellent trail network that occupied all of the high ground between the two.

Poulsbo is a town with a strong Norwegian background, and this heritage is embraced and emphasized in the old town center. Colorful pastel houses in alternating shades surround the busy main street, where the flags of Norway flutter amongst lush overflowing flowerpots. Scandinavian goods are common in the stores, as well as the work of local artisans. You can pick up a souvenir plastic Viking helmet as well. Well, you can. I already had one :)

For our foray into Seattle we loaded our bikes into Gigantor and drove down to the ferry terminal on Bainbridge Island. The 30 minute crossing is free to pedestrians and cyclists, and offered a great view of the skyline. It was a gray day, but perhaps this is what the citizens of this city are accustomed to:

On our bikes it was a quick ride along the waterfront and up an elevator to famous Pike's Place Market:

This bustling farmer's/public market hosted vendors of an amazing array of goods, most notably the fresh seafood...

...and endless selection of flower bouquets:

Crowds gathered to watch the fishmongers hurl customer's orders from the displays to the packagers, chanting the items and preparations in unison like a navy drill team. Here a dungenous crab takes flight:

Another busy area was around the world's first Starbucks store, coffee lovers mecca:

In between our exploration of the populous places we made several trips into the trails where Toby enjoyed time off leash. Kinsey rides in her stroller most of the time these days. I had two excellent mountain bike rides on this extensive trail network, tearing down trails with names like Mordor, Mirkwood, Derailer, Bobsled and Skunkworks. A great time on Puget Sound.

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