Sleepless in Seattle

Trip Start May 31, 2010
Trip End Jul 11, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Saturday, June 5, 2010

Saturday June 5th is comparably my favorite day of this road trip so far. We woke up at 8:30 and got ready for a day that was sure to be exciting.  First stop on the agenda: Pikes Place Market.  We parked a couple blocks away and every step that brought us closer to the market also brought smells of fresh seafood and foods from around the world that began to dance into my nose.  Like a kid on his way to Disneyland, I was getting more and more excited by the second.  Finally, we arrived and the sight of fresh fish, purveyors hollering for your business and street vendors with fresh baked goods brought a tear to my eye.  I was in food heaven.  We walked through Pike Street and immediately were hit with the smell of fresh baked peroshkys.  A few steps down, fresh French baguettes filled the air.  After that, it was cinnamon rolls.  That was followed by the sweet and sour smells of the Philippines.  Up ahead a crowd gathered around a vendor, so naturally we had to see what the excitement was all about.  It was a relatively small monk fish hanging over the side of a fish stand, that when curious patrons approached would jump out of the ice (via a string being pulled by one of the merchants).  After a few laughs, we made our way left and came across a small donut stand that reminded me of my favorite donut stand on Pier 39, Trish's donuts.  I had to have a taste, just to compare.  Although they were crispy, warm and covered in sweet confections, they nothing can compare to Trish’s.  As we wandered through Pikes Place and observed the fresh produce and seafood, it looked more like art than a market.  The flower arrangements at $10 bucks a pop would easily sell for upwards of $30 back home.  We decided to check out the lower levels of the market, which appeared to be older than the rest of the building and less busy.  The shops mostly consisted of movie memorabilia and handmade toys, which didn’t strike much interest in us, so we quickly moved on.  We made our way to a little Italian delicatessen and bought ourselves a snack of an Italian rustic loaf and French semi-soft cheese.  We found a nook in the market and ate while we watched the passerbys. 

We made our way out of the crowded market and onto the streets of Seattle where we explored different cafés, restaurants and coffee shops along 1st Street.  After Alyssa talked me out of buying a feast from the Philippines, we made our way down to the water and the piers.  Here, we of course had to stop for souvenirs.  Next-door was an oyster bar where we sat for another snack of oysters and clam chowder.  This was Alyssa’s first oyster experience and one that you had to have been there to really appreciate the humor.  After 5 failed attempts, she finally managed to put the slippery bivalve up to her mouth and let him slide "grossly" (as she put it) down her throat.  I couldn’t have been more proud.  The clam chowder was much better than the one in Oregon, in my opinion.  We quickly finished snack #3 and continued on to the ferry terminal. 

We caught the next boat to Bainbridge Island.  After a 35 minute boat ride and scenic view of the city skyline, we arrived in the quaint little town and began exploring.  We walked through the downtown area where there were shops of handmade soaps, antiques and candy.  A little of the beaten path, we found a small harbor where sailboats, yachts and a 70’s style James Bond-esque speed boat docked.  Our real quest was to find the ice cream that so many passerby’s had.  We decided that the docked boats was not the place to look and headed back into downtown.  We stopped at a little candy shop and bought sea salt and caramel milk chocolate fudge along the way.  But our sweet tooth was not satisfied, and the quest continued.  We finally found the ice cream shop, nestled in the back of an alley behind the downtown area.  It was colored in pastel pink and there was no ice cream in sight, just a stainless steel table with little knobs coming out of it. Behind the counter there were three girls, one to take our order and the other two to scoop the ice cream.  After sampling flavors like chocolate with cognac, sabayon, and many others, I opted for the Italian Chocolate (chocolate ice cream with walnuts and cognac) and Alyssa got strawberry.  We sat at a table outside and enjoyed our frozen creamy concoctions.

It was time to head back into the city and check out the world famous Space Needle.  We took a nap on the boat ride back in order to recharge our batteries – the day was only half way over.  After docking we headed back to the car and GPS-ed our way to the Seattle Center.  The Needle was a spectacular sight to see indeed.  At nearly 20 bucks a person to ride the elevator to the top, we opted not to do so and checked out the gift shop on the ground level instead.  Thoughts of eating at the restaurant at the top began to dance around my head, until I saw the $80 entrees on the menu. It might have been cheaper to pay with my soul.  After lots of cheesy, Asian-tourist style pictures, we walked around the Fun Forest at the site of the World Fair. 

After we had all the fun we could handle, we headed towards the peaceful and serene Kerry Park.  Nestled on a hill in between multi-million dollar houses on the outskirts of the city, it held one of the best views of the Seattle skyline.  It seemed to be a hotspot for professional photographers and prom pictures alike.  We rested there, contemplated life and made plans for our next touristy move.

Since Seattle has such a rich history, we decided to visit the source – Pioneer Square. This district of the city consisted of old buildings reminiscent of the late 1800s. It was the original downtown Seattle, until a fire wiped most of it out and turned it into the country’s first Skid Row.  Recent efforts to restore the historic district has left this area somewhere in between a rough and tumble neighborhood and a destination for the modern culinary aficionado.  We finally settled on a place to eat called Fado, an Irish pub based on Celtic history where friendly banter, good food and hospitality are their motto.  The food was superior quality at an affordable price.  We sat and watched the Seattle vs. NE soccer game before hitting the streets once again to explore the historic area.  After our dinner we were treated to a show of an all out battle between two bums.   A taller gentleman won and they went their separate ways. 

It was getting dark, but the night was just beginning.  I had called an old friend from culinary school who lives and works in Seattle and he informed me that there was a party going on in the “U District” (where the University of Washington is). We ended up at a place called the Ave, where the students hang out, and which is quite similar to Berkeley’s Telegraph Street.  We hung out at a local bar called Big Time Brewery and waited for Brent.  When he arrived, he informed us that plans changed and his ride was going to a house party 30 minutes outside of Seattle.  We were exhausted from the day’s adventures already and had plans to get up early to head to Canada, so we respectfully declined and parted ways.  Unfortunately life doesn’t stop just because we’ve arrived in town.  We finished our beers and headed back to our hotel.  

Alyssa’s Anecdotes:

-I visited Seattle a year and a half ago on my final Spring Break from college with Jane.  I loved the city the first time, and this visit didn’t let me down.  The weather was MUCH better this time around, as it was about 30 degrees warmer than the cold 40 degree temperatures we experienced on our spring break trip.  We really got lucky with the perfect weather this time, it rained all last week and is supposed to start raining again tomorrow, but today it was sunny and 70 out!  Although I saw some of the same attractions on both visits, places like the Public Market are different each time around.  Today there was a flea market type thing/extended market vendors down at the end of the Public Market and a children’s fair going on at the view point.  The huge bouquets made me stop and 'oooh’ and ‘awww’ each time, which I’m sure drove Nate crazy.  After about the 3rd flower stand he just nodded and kept walking, but I guess I can’t blame him.  I’ve also decided that although I still love gerber daisies, peonies may be my new favorite flower. They were so pretty! I am definitely glad I got to visit again. 

-Seattle is one of the few cities outside of California I could see myself living in, if it didn’t rain so dang much. It is a lot like San Francisco actually, with steep roller-coaster like streets, a bay view, tall buildings and many different districts that work together to give the city its diverse and exciting culture.  However, it’s also a lot cleaner and greener than S.F. and doesn’t feel so much like a big city – all things I would love to see in San Francisco (but that’s just me).  Although I’m definitely a California girl through and through, Seattle is by far my favorite U.S. city away from home. 

-For those who are curious (Jane and my mom mostly), I did bring the hair straightener and gave in today. We had a nice big hotel room, easily accessible outlets and a little extra time, so I spent my extra half hour making my hair manageable again.  We also did a load of laundry today for the first time, so I’m feeling clean and refreshed in all sorts of ways. 

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Pam on

Alyssa!!!! (& Nate of course!!)

I am catching up on your travel blog & LOVING it! So very exciting! I can't wait to read more about it & actually talk to you at some point about your adventures too. I was noticing your beautiful, wavy hair (Alyssa...) in the last few posts & was wondering if you had decided to go au natural for the trip, but now I know ;)

Have a blast, love you tons!!!

oaragaintrail on

haha we can hear you! glad your enjoying the BIP (book in progress) keep reading!

oaragaintrail on

haha pammie! i am MOSTLY going au natural, butttt since i had a little bit of time, i gave in. but most of the time i'll be curly! i even have TWO bottles of mousse haha, so i'm prepared. i miss you and will hopefuly call you soon!

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