Visiting Seattle relatives and friends to Apr 1

Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
Trip End Mar 15, 2007

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Friday, March 31, 2006

Took the 9am ferry (Bremerton to Seattle). It is primarily a vehicle ferry with a bit of a lounge above the vehicle deck for passengers. The crossing went pretty quickly. It was a lovely sunny day as I drove up to see my cousins. They have a lovely home. It was built in the late 20's early 30's and, like all the other houses on the street is made of brick and lead paned windows all over the place. There were two of the loveliest old Magnolia trees on the block not quite in flower.. The second floors were finished by all the other residents but not their house. The lovely old wooden stairs went up into an attic space which initially led no where. So they have been fixing it up over the last few years. The rest of the house has wooden floors, wide doorframes, tiled floors, wonderful little knick-knacks cupboards, etc.

After a delicious lunch and conversation with their son who is just finishing school in a wonderful sounding work study program, we went out for a gorgeous walk around Green Park which took about 2 hours. It has something for everyone - grass for lying about on, birds to ID (more coots than I've seen in a while - some eating the seeds actually on the grass - large ungainly creatures), running paths (actually the path was separated into "feet and wheels noted on the pavement), flowering plants, a huge variety of big old tall trees, and even an aquatic pool (where people used to put on shows for water aerobics I think it was) etc. I think the park was originally owned by someone who turned it over to the city. One of the things we saw were what I would call "mixed" ducks. Looks like a mallard or a black duck mated with a goose - huge long necks on both the male and female. And they were travelling about with a white domestic goose.

Home again for some lovely tea and a cookie. Then we went out for dinner at a delicious restaurant called Jalisco Mexican Restaurants & Taqueria with some friends of theirs. A very nice evening had by all as most of us have done a fair amount of traveling and so had lots to talk about.

Saturday, April 1, 2006
It was a nasty wet day; however, I headed off to find my way to one of my online friends - Susan in Seattle. Managed to do some "exploring" meaning getting lost on my way as I turned left instead of right and wound up all twisted about in lovely large houses and little winding stream beds. Eventually found my way to Susan and her husband's. They live in a very lovely home in the, I think it is called, Pontiac Bay area of Seattle. We settled in with coffee and lunch (borscht, salad, corned beef and lovely cheese with various breads and crackers) chatted about family history, neighborhoods, cameras, art, and even books, travel and almost anything you can imagine. How absolutely delightful it was to meet her and her family. They are a wonderfully interesting family and we were never at a loss for a topic of discussion in our free ranging conversations. Her husband found enough additional stops for me (wine stops in California, ancient aboriginal sites around the Four Corners area of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona that I must make before leaving the US for Europe) that I may never leave the US.

After lunch, since the rain had abated, although it remained cloudy and threatening, we went for a tour. We circumnavigated the top of Queen Anne Hill for the quintessential Seattle view: Space Needle, downtown, harbor, and if the weather had been better, Mount Rainier. Someone was shooting a video at that location but they finally left and let us peacefully watch a four-masted sailing ship (could have been a barque or a sloop) and a ferry passing.

The majority of the afternoon we spent at the Hiram Chittenden locks (called the Ballard locks by Seattleites). The two locks allow passage between the fresh-water Lake Washington and the (6- to 26-foot lower depending on tides) salt water of Puget Sound and we observed every kind of boat from a large weather-beaten Australian catamaran and towering crab boat to 21-foot sailboats. We also visited the viewing port of the fish ladder (empty of fish) and the gardens and saw cormorants and hummingbirds. We pondered the survival of pine on the western side of the mountains, and discussed the geological underpinnings of the landscape. They have a book at home which fleshed some of that out.

We continued to drive along Puget Sound to Golden Gardens (too early for the best sunset views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains) and after a brief stop at a Scandinavian store to pick up dessert for dinner (Verdens Beste) we headed for a favorite coffee shop, Diva Espresso. Biscotti and much better coffee than Starbucks revived us.

I happened to mention that I had never had a Krispy Kreme donut. It was practically on our way home to stop and see my favorite machine that proofs the donuts in individual platforms on a vertical belt that looks like it came from an ancient well, and then flips them in the fat and majestically slides them through a shimmering curtain of white sugar icing. Of course we managed to eat the warm samples they handed us and bought some to sustain me on my southern journey the next day.

We headed home in the gathering darkness for an incredibly delicious spring dinner of barbequed salmon prepared outside, risotto, avocado salad, beans, carrots, and asparagus. Their kitchen is a long wide affair with sufficient space to accommodate at least three food preparers (at least two preparation sinks, a huge 6 burner gas oven in the middle of one side, loads of cutting room) and they work like a well oiled machine - a gentle ballet as they cook, prepare, move about the kitchen not quite getting in each other's way. And the food was magnificent.
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roffatsea on

Krispy Kreme
'Good?,' he asked, droolingly.

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