One of the benefits of a last-minute, unplanned, and unofficial long-weekend is: you have the option for a quick get-away, as long as the gettin’-away isn’t too far away. There are options within BC, but there are additional benefits for crossing the border, namely Tom gets to stock up on his favourite bourbon; well two bottles at a time anyway. Oh and his favourite cheesy-poofs, both which aren’t sold here. So Seattle, was just the ticket.
When we looked at booking a room at the Hyatt Place near Seattle Center (where we’ve stayed previously) we were surprised to see that there were no rooms available. It wasn’t an official long-weekend, so we wondered what was up. I tweeted to the Seattle Tourism twitter account to ask if there was some kind of, oh festival or something in town. Turns out, it was a convention of Ophthalmologists who would be taking over the city.
We searched for possible alternatives and still hadn’t settled on anything until last-minute. Most of the hotels are downtown and we’re not interested in being there at all. Tom took one more look at our hotel and found they now were showing available rooms. Maybe they were holding a block of rooms just in case? Anyway, they seemed to be gouging, but it was a matter of the devil we know and the fact it was a short trip, so we booked them anyway.
We had no plans, no schedule to keep, and no driving need to visit a particular place. The only thing we did plan, was to take a ferry over to Bainbridge Island and this time, take a bit of a walk around the town instead of jumping right back on the ferry. It is a short trip, 30 minutes each way, but for around $7 return, it is a steal for the killer view of downtown Seattle and a nice boat ride to boot. We decided to leave that for our last day and spent the first couple wandering around the Seattle Center area. We didn’t go up this needle this time, we’re kind of done with that, in fact, we didn’t pay for much touristy stuff this go-round, we mostly just enjoyed the beautiful weather. We had lucked-out in that regard, the temperature was in the 80′s and it was sunshine straight through.
We were also hoping to run into this guy:
The talented busker we had seen on one of our previous trips, but he was nowhere to be seen. In fact, Seattle Center was pretty much busker-free the whole time which seemed strange, as there were plenty of people milling about. Maybe they don’t bother until the Summer months? It was a shame, I love street music.
Well, there was this little fellow near the Space Needle, a Harry Potteresque busker-in-training being applauded by someone I would assume to be his proud father.
Dude even made a little coin.
While Seattle and Vancouver are close in proximity, I think Seattle still sees more rainy days than we do, but the reaction of both cities residents to a hot sunny day is exactly the same: people get outside and enjoy it; we don’t take them for granted. To beat the heat, many people milled about at the water’s edge or enjoyed the cooling spray from the Seattle Center fountain.
We walked around and took pictures of course. Near the EMP we saw a guy who seemed to be channelling Johnny Depp on a photo-shoot, below, center stage fiddling with a scarf.
No idea if he was a model, someone famous (to others obviously) or an actor getting headshots done… but he never seemed to smile. I guess the brooding expression completed the look?
One of my must-do’s at some point this trip though was to ride the Seattle Great Wheel. I had wanted to ever since I saw the announcement it was being built. Now for anyone who has read this blog before, I am not big on heights. Okay, I’m terrified of them, and I do not like Ferris Wheels. The wheel had two things going for it, it was newish and it was enclosed. You would be sitting down encapsulated in your own little glass booth as you rotated around and this seemed a doable fear factor challenge for me. Plus, I really wanted the views. It was definitely lower than the Needle, but hell, even I feel safe up there, the edge is sounded by fencing and wires.
We saw it had been completed the last time we were in town, but because it was so new then, the lines were HUGE. This time the lines were small, definitely doable and moved fairly quickly, it seemed the perfect time.
The cost wasn’t prohibitive either, while $13.00 for three revolutions of the wheel seemed a tad pricey, what the heck, we’d only do it the one time.
Standing in line I got a wee bit nervous, but I was determined to push that aside and try it, despite seeing the warning signs that people who are claustrophobic and afraid of heights should not ride this ride. Ummmm, CHECK, CHECK! In the end though, it was fine. I sat with my back to the water which helped a lot, and only felt a touch of unease when we stopped near the top to let people off/board new riders. The car swayed ever so gently, but after that initial pull in my stomach I just looked around and enjoyed the view from the top. Would I do it again? Sure! If it was free, otherwise, meh, I’ve done it. Still, worth one ride if you’re ever down that way.
We also visited the Olympic Sculpture Park down near the cruise ship terminals. The waterfront walk around the area is nice, and there are some cool sculptures, but I preferred some we found further down by the water’s edge, in particular this reflective one which meant…THIS:
Clearly we can’t help ourselves.
We had dinner at the Sport lounge near the hotel, a favourite place. There I had my second ever aura without a migraine. The first one had hit me a few months back during my first month-long episode while feeding the birds in our local park. I had thought it was related to my issues, but maybe not? Anyway, I was GRATEFUL not to be slammed with a migraine, even if it meant I couldn’t read the menu or see all of Tom’s face for a half-hour or so!
Then came our final day. The ferry ride was beautiful as always.
Bainbridge was, well okay. I mean it is lovely and all, but we didn’t find it a tourist mecca. We tried to find a place that sold a hoodie or a hat or something we could bring back but there was slim-pickins,maybe we were on the wrong end of town? There seemed to be a big divide that separated the eateries from the rest of town, maybe we chose poorly. In any regard we had already done a lot of walking and I was done. This business name gave me a giggle though, considering what they do…heh.
I sure wouldn’t mind living there if that ferry was my commute to downtown. A lot more appealing than spending it on a highway. Oh We did find a pretty awesome ice-cream place called “Mora’s” there, much appreciated on a hot day. We did, however; find it difficult finding a place that sold water that didn’t just take cash (and charge an arm and a leg for a small bottle!) wish the ice-cream place also stocked water! Lots of choices of ice-creams and sorbet though. Well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
After the ride back to the mainland on the ferry, we walked back to our hotel. Normally, I’m the walker, the one with the energy to keep going and going, but this time I will have to give the title to Tom. I’m still weak and the heat seemed to sap what was left of my battery so we took a slow meandering route back. The hardest part of the walk, that first couple of blocks straight up-hill just about did me in. That is so not me. I had even considered passing on going out for dinner that night and I’d been looking forward to trying “The Rock” a pizza place which advertised wood-fired pizza. After a bit of a rest though, I was up for going back out. Glad I was, cos the pizza was pretty darn good. It was attached to a hotel that we’re going to have to consider for next time called the “The Maxwell”, it looked nice!
Very tasty, and worth the walk.
One of the benefits to staying in a central location, we didn’t move the car once during the weekend, a nice change because the traffic in Seattle is no joke.
It will probably be a least another year before we go back, but thanks Seattle, we do love you!