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Journey Through Smoky Haze – Part 2

Transportation in Seattle is very convenient. We arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport around noon and took the Link light rail toward University of Washington Station getting of at Westlake Station. We then took the Seattle Monorail from Westlake Centre to Seattle Centre arriving at downtown Seattle where the world-famous Space Needle located.

Upon arrival in the city, the first thing we noticed was the smoky haze. This summer has seen two major wildfires on opposite sides of the border. One in California and one British Columbia with the haze converging above Seattle causing air pollution and poor visibility and making authorities recommend people to stay inside. As visitors, however, we had to get out and explore.

Accommodation-wise, we were blessed with a prime location at Hyatt House Seattle right across from the Space Needle. We spent the first two days recovering from the long flight and exploring the neighbouring downtown area.

We were told that the best time to visit the Space Needle is at dawn when the slight of the darkness will cover the construction sites in the city. We didn’t manage to do it on the first day. That didn’t bother us, however, since we knew that we were going to be back in Seattle, allowing us to visit the Needle as well as other sightseeing places, at the end of our Western swing.

After two days in the city, we picked up a rental car from an AVIS rental station conveniently located a few blocks from our hotel. 

After six hours of driving, including a border crossing into Canada, we arrived in Kamloops and The Thompson Hotel & Conference Centre where we were welcomed by a very friendly Punjabi-Canadian staff. In fact, it was our  impression that hotel staff north of the border is more relaxed and friendly than in the U.S. Perhaps, Canadian soil improves the mood of locals.

Even in Kamloops, several hours northwest of Seattle, the haze was still very visible. Apart from the unusual air pollution, however, we enjoyed being in a smaller, quiet city.

For early dinner we went to a Japanese-Korean restaurant before strolling along Victoria Street, the city’s main artery. We also went to Riverside Park and the Kamloops Heritage Railway.

We stayed over night in Kamloops before continuing towards Banff on a six-hour drive. The longest drive of our Canadian Rockies trip.

To be continued…

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