Quite nearly sleepless in Seattle

This post picks up at the end of my trip on the Empire Builder.

Sunday

Once I left King Street Station I had about 6 hours to kill before the rest of my eclectic party: Faye, her husband Kirk, their almost 2 year old son, and Kirk’s brother Toby got into town.

Normally, I’d have no problem killing time but I was hindered by my backpack and carry-on. Wheely or not, it was unweildy and instantly drew too much attention. After a swift reconnoiter I headed down by the water figuring to just sit for awhile, have a cold beer (Hey, it was around 1:30 p.m. in Eastern time), and decide on something to do.

I fell instantly in love with Seattle upon encountering the waterfront. Not the touristy shops or the Ferris wheel but the insane blue, blue, blue of the water against a backdrop of snowy mountains. My two favorite landscapes are ocean and mountains and for many years — before ever visiting the west coast — I was unaware of the beautiful combinations of both achieved along the Pacific coastline. I thought I loved the mountains in California. But that was before the mountains in Seattle.

I sat for awhile in the shadow of the Ferris wheel just soaking in the sunshine and fresh air after 48 hours on the train. I watched families of tourists come and go, haphazardly trying to decide where they were and where they were going next. I gave a prayer of silent thanks (as I often do) that I was alone and free to do whatever I chose.

Idly I realized it was baseball season and wondered if there were any Mariners games taking place during the week. Lo and behold there was one starting in about 2 hours. And I had plenty of time to kill. There was, however, the problem of my suitcase and backpack. I did some quick Googling and the best answer I found on a forum was to stash it in a fancy hotel’s luggage drop. I saw there was a Westin decently nearby and set off immediately.

With no idea how utterly hilly Seattle is, I found myself in the Pike Place market area staring up the hill on Virginia Street, cursing my carry-on and wishing fervently I could somehow figure out how to travel with just 46 things in a backpack like one of my male co-workers. Ugh. There was no help for it. (Technically I could have called an Uber but I’m stubborn like that.)

I huffed and puffed my way up the hill, silently swearing at tourists milling about taking pictures, oblivious to the loud chuck, chuck, chuck of my suitcase rolling along toward them. I think I only stopped once for a breather — clutching my suitcase with a death grip, because if it got away from me and rolled downhill I was pretty sure I was going to leave it there. Several sweaty minutes later, the suitcase and I made it to somewhat level ground.

Continuing on in the blazing sunshine (I thought Seattle was cold and rainy?), I eventually rolled into the Westin looking amazing, let me tell you! Sweaty, disgruntled, chest heaving indignantly from my too-many-beers-not-enough-cardio lifestyle … and that didn’t even figure in that I’d been on a train for two days. I’d hoped to tidy up in the restroom but, of course, they had homeless-deterring-key-card locks on them. I opted to sit in the swanky lobby for five minutes instead, letting the AC work its magic while I dabbed my face with a napkin from my backpack, and shifted my valuables, aka laptop, into my suitcase and then locked it.

Pasting on my most confident, “I’m not a bum off the street, I’m actually swanky enough to stay here,” smile, I walked brazenly up to the bag drop attendant and declared, “Hello, two bags please!” He nodded, slapped two tags on them, gave me the stubs and took them off to the back room without a word.

Oh, OK. That was easy. And there I was … free as a bird without my luggage. Bring on your worst hills Seattle!

I now needed to haul ass across town to catch the start of the game so firing up maps I zig-zagged across town, cutting through a cute place called Occidental Park, which I made a note to come back to later. As I neared the park I noticed that my phone was dying, (why do I always do this?!). I had my charger in my purse but there’s nowhere to charge at a stadium. Oh well, I figured I’d deal with it later after the game ended. I could always hop into a coffeeshop and recharge.

I bought a ticket, and got in line with the masses of other people trying to get into the stadium. I get the feeling Seattleites love their sports. While the crowd inched forward, bit by bit, slowed by the security check before tickets were taken, a man in a cardboard sign droned on and on loudly through a megaphone, telling us that we were all basically going to hell. Repent now! You know, because it’s usually on a gorgeous Sunday at a baseball game that you get the urge to drop to your knees and beg for salvation instead of trying your luck at salvation in the form of an ice cold beer and a hot dog.

After all if hell is really hot … and crowded … well, I’d just felt a a drop of sweat run down my spine to unmentionable places and the crowd was causing a claustrophobic feeling to kick in so basically …

Once inside, I joined the masses in line for beer and added an order of garlic fries. What heaven was this?! Seattle garlic fries are like nothing I’ve ever had before. Not garlic flavored or garlic seasoned but actually liberally topped with cheese and bits of garlic. This was the first of many things I would end up putting on my list to return to Seattle for.

The baseball game was the perfect way to enjoy a few hours. With my phone almost dead (literally on 4%) after taking one or two pictures and texting a few people I had to set it aside and just enjoy. The Mariners played terribly but it was a gorgeous day and the people watching was wonderful!

The crowd was filled and I do mean filled with babies and toddlers — I’ve never seen anything like it! None of the parents seemed to be watching the game because they were constantly wrangling their offspring. The family in front of me had four children ranging from a baby in a holster? holder? on the mother’s chest, to a boy that was all of five or six. The dad went off to get food and drink and all hell broke loose. The wife was very happy to see him return I’m sure but no one was as grateful as me. I wanted to beg him to never leave again. Then, they let the kids start wandering and climbing over seats and playing on the stairs and I proceeded to have several mini-heart attacks waiting for inevitable scraped knees, broken bones, split lips, or black eyes that seemed destined to occur. Thankfully none of the preceding happened and as the game ended I joined the masses now spilling out of the stadium. I miraculously had the same 4% remaining on my phone and I pulled up maps, memorized the general directions and headed for the Westin. I knew I’d recognize the building from far away so I just needed to get in the vicinity. I found my way back without a problem despite feeling the effects of several beers on a hot summer day.

At the Westin I reclaimed my bags and sat for a few minutes to charge my phone enough to grab an Uber and meet up with my peeps who were finally in town and en route to the Airbnb.

Tired from traveling, we agreed to find something to eat and drink nearby and call it a night. I’m not usually a very demanding person but I adamantly requested 15 minutes to shower before we went anywhere. The train plus baseball game demanded it of me and I couldn’t imagine anything sweeter that water and soap. (Well, perhaps a beer in the shower.)

We went to Elysian Brewery and had dinner and drinks, stopping on the way back to stock up on more drinks and a few snacks. I tipsily snapped a picture of the refrigerator later that evening, it being a great example of the reason I still travel with Faye even though she has a 2-year old. She’s still cool! The fridge just held beer and milk, the perfect representation of how our lives had changed, and yet stayed the same since college. She and her husband trade off child duties smoothly and since I love hanging out with both of them, we always have a good time. They’re seriously just the coolest.


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Monday

I was working during the week in Seattle so I got up bright and early and started work at 6AM. I prefer to keep to my EST hours out west because, while getting up early is tough — a quick shower and coffee does wonders — I then have the beauty of getting off at 2 p.m. and having the afternoon to sightsee. After work I headed out to meet up with them, starting at Pike Place Market.

We wandered through the market, grateful were were experiencing it on a Monday afternoon rather than dealing with the insane crush that it’s probably under on a weekend. Even so, there was a big line across the street at the original Starbucks and I opted for a quick, semi-far-away photo rather than trying to get closer. The market was filled with arts and crafts booths as well as amazing fresh flower stands. I immediately wanted to live there and stop by on Tuesday mornings (or whatever the slowest day is), wandering in early with my coffee, picking out a bouquet and, after friendly local banter with the woman selling them, heading back to my apartment to start work. Someone not watching where they were going rudely smashed into me, elbow first, and I was brought abruptly out of that little daydream.

We wandered further down to the area filled with the seafood vendors. I do not eat seafood so I peered at the myriad of dead see creatures packed in ice with horrified wonder. Enormous fish over three feet long. Octopus. Squid. Lobster. Many with wide gaping mouths and staring eyes. I was not moved in the least to suddenly begin eating these weird beings. I was disappointed to not see the guys throwing fish like I’ve seen on TV. Apparently, in order to throw the fish they need some to buy the fish, and the only people there on a Monday afternoon appeared to be tourists gawking rather than reaching for their wallets.

After the market I led them down toward the waterfront area I’d been near the day before. We were desperately in need of food and searched for a good place to have a late lunch. We wanted to be on the water but several places weren’t open yet so we found ourselves at Miner’s Landing Food Court. The upstairs had an outdoor balcony and two places to choose from. We ordered and all sat outside below the Ferris wheel in the whipping wind, blue skies, and circling seagulls.

After lunch, we wandered around the interior of the place, checking out a silent unmoving carousel and several shops interspersed with various musical statues. We decided to ride the Ferris wheel because it was right there. We got in line but as we got closer and closer to buying tickets I chickened out and offered to stay with the stroller. I’ve never been on a Ferris wheel and the closer we got, the more I stared at the little glass pods and felt my claustrophobia closing in. I didn’t think I’d mind the height so much as the stopping, starting and swaying in the wind as they loaded and unloaded people. I also started sideways glances at Kirk and his brother Toby. They’re both big guys, 6’3” or 6’4,” and while rationally I know they wouldn’t let us overweigh the pod, I wasn’t so excited about packing all 5 of us into the pod. Ferris wheels don’t greatly appeal to me. I’ll ride the London Eye someday. Maybe even the one at Navy Pier in Chicago. Maybe even this one someday. But I wasn’t feeling it at the moment so took the good natured teasing and bowed out. I know my limits. I sat with the stroller and all of our stuff and took in the beautiful water and mountain view and got some good shots of them.

CityPASS and the Aquarium

I’d passed several signs advertising the Seattle CityPASS the day before and after talking it over during lunch we all agreed to get one. For $79 you get admission to 5 of the major tourist attractions. The Seattle Aquarium, Space Needle and an Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour are the first three. Then you can choose from either the Chihuly Gardens and Glass OR the Pacific Science Center, and the Museum of Pop Culture OR the Woodland Park Zoo. After the Ferris wheel we bought passes at the Argosy Cruise center and since there was a time gap before the next cruise we decided to do the Aquarium.

I haven’t been to an aquarium … maybe ever? Immediately upon walking in we were greeted with this massive tank that took up entire wall. Faye’s son wanted nothing to do with being near it but was watching intently from a distance, safe in the arms of daddy. I didn’t blame him. I was super creeped out yet fascinated. I wanted to get close but not too close, tentatively expecting something scary to jump from the depths up to the glass and scare the living shit out of me. Two enormous weird fish floated around with giant sunken cavities where their eyes should have been. We couldn’t figure out if they were made that way and really did have eyes that we couldn’t see or if they had some sort of weird eye-eating disease. I mean, one fish, OK, look he has no eyeballs. Two fish? WTF?

Not being a sea creature aficionado I enjoyed the aquarium more than I thought I would. I mean I wouldn’t go to another one for awhile and I staunchly refused to touch the starfish, sea anemones, or anything else in the aquarium version of a “petting zoo.” But I did enjoy (in a completely sick fascinated way) watching the octopus ooze around his glass tank, smashing himself up against the glass and, one suctioned tentacle at a time, slithering his way up the glass slowly, horrifically, hypnotizing all who stood around watching.

I later heard (after exiting the aquarium thankfully) that octopuses are extremely smart and years ago the acquarium used to have an octopus that would sneak out of his tank at night, cross the carpeted floor to an open topped fish tank, eat the fish inside and then go back to his tank awaiting the morning light like nothing ever happened. If the current octopus had placed even the tip of one tentacle over the top of the glass on his enclosure I would’ve run out of that place screaming bloody murder. It gives me the heebie jeebies even now.

Immediately after that creepy sighting, I walked over to the jellyfish tank. This was a cool circular tank where you could stand underneath and watch the jelly fish flow up and overhead. A light changed different colors illuminating the translucent jelly fish into a variety of colors. Not as creepy as the octopus, it was instead cool to see them pulsing eerily weightless time after time as they floated by, just inches away, yet safely behind glass.

We had fun poking through the various fish exhibits, pointing and exclaiming at some of the uber weird looking fish, and of course, when we found Nemo! The aquarium had a cool section housing swimming Puffin birds and it was cool to watch them dive and dart around under water. They also had sea lions and otters and seals — all of which made for amused watching as they zipped around playing, fighting, or in the case of two adorable otters, sleeping in the sun on each other.

Just as we felt we had probably seen enough of everything, we realized we could make the Harbor Cruise if we hurried. So hurry we did, rushing out of the aquarium and over to exchange our city pass pages for tickets. At the last minute Faye realized it’d be a good idea to grab milk for the baby so he could nap. Kirk made a heroic emergency run to the Starbucks next door and while we feared he’d would never make it back, he showed up with a full 2 minutes to spare and a snack for himself to Faye’s worried exasperation!

Argosy harbor cruise

We found a sunny nook on the back deck and after drinking his milk and having the shade cover pulled over him, baby went right to sleep, with his father soon following, curling his large frame into a plastic deck chair as best he could.

Faye, Toby and I got beers and at various intervals wandered around the boat taking pictures, eventually coming back together near the back nook to lean on the railing and enjoy the sun, view, and breeze. The guide chattered on, quite entertainingly, dropping tidbits and facts about Seattle that were, I’m afraid, in one ear and out the other. The fact retaining part of my brain doesn’t appear to work properly and besides I always question the facts I do retain from these sorts of tours. They seem too salacious to be true. Like the octopus story above and one he told about the tallest building in the skyline being shorter than one of the container ships moored out in the distance. Kirk had awoken from his nap and immediately proceeded to set his engineering brain to work, glancing back and forth like a spectator at at a tennis match, between the building and the ship estimating size and distance and trying to determine if that had even a possibility of being true. The rest of us just shrugged and drank more.

Occidental Park

After the cruise we started trekking toward Chinatown. The group (minus me) was in the mood for Chinese but I’m very accommodating to being outnumbered (if I like the group). Besides, I don’t dislike Chinese, it’s just never my go to. I can eat it once every six months and that’s fine with me. Maybe it’s just because I never had it growing up so it just doesn’t cross my radar. I wanted to show them Occidental Park, which I discovered the day before, and since it was on the way we cut through there. Kirk and Toby were instantly attracted to the ping pong tables so we left them to it, spying a watering hole, Zocalo, right there. We drank (her a glass of wine, me a margarita) and talked while the baby slept in his stroller and we smashed some amazing homemade chips and guacamole. Once the baby woke and the boys tired of ping pong, Faye tood the baby out to play with them and they drifted over to the basketball courts, Kirk lifting his son high overhead to help him participate.

Chinatown

After a pleasant hour or so in the park — minus the homeless at every turn — we continued on to Chinatown, wandering around a bit before finding a place to eat. The food was great and the four of us and baby proceeded to make quite a mess between chopsticks, rice, and baby’s spoon. (One of my favorite things about Faye and Kirk though — another reason why I still travel with them — is they always clean up after their kid. Hands and knees, crawling, multiple napkins, whatever it takes, they don’t leave the mess for the waitstaff to clean up, which I often see parents do.

Opening our fortune cookies at the end we proceed to read them aloud, of course adding “in bed” at the end. For some reason I found Kirk’s hilarious and fell into a fit of gasping giggles right there at the table thinking about a friend who fit the description and that I’d send it to afterward. (It could be taken completely the wrong way out of context so I’ll refrain from mentioning it here. Fortune cookies are the best.)

We decided to forego the long walk back and get an Uber. It took a Suburban to fit all of us, and all the stuff that comes with baby, but we made it. Back in the Airbnb, exhausted, we called it a night.

Tuesday

Space Needle

Again, the crew waited for me to do the cool stuff, so after work we headed to the tourist clusterfuck that is the Space Needle. Because of my getting off work at 2 p.m. PST, they kept graciously waiting on me to do lunch and as a result we’d all be starving. The non-helpful girl on the desk at the Space Needle proceeded to tell us that there was no availability at the restaurant, and there was no food up top at the Needle. We gamely, and crankily, agreed amongst ourselves to suck it up, hurry and see the view since we were already there, then go somewhere to get lunch.

We waited in the horribly hot line for the elevator (the AC appears to either not be used, or it can’t keep up with the suns beating down mercilessly through all the glass windows at the bottom of the needle).

Baby, acting out as the rest of us wanted to, began preliminary proceedings for a meltdown, ending only (and strangely) when a friendly, grandmotherly-type in line with us stretched her arms out, and surprising all of us he leaned out of his father’s arms and into hers, then silently stared back at the rest of us with a, “What the fuck do I just do?” stare.

Fortunately while he was still in quiet mode it was our turn and he quietly came back into dad’s arms and we got on the elevator. Then, more people got on, and more people, and more people. I was silently screaming, “Cut it off, that’s enough!” But they packed it quite full and my claustrophobia was trying to act out. I wasn’t sure how I’d handle the elevator. I don’t fear heights really, I’m just wary, and let’s be honest, the Space Needle looks like a strong puff of air could blow it over.

I needn’t have worried. Despite the seemingly overloaded elevator and the height to which we were ascending, the elevator rose smoothly and quickly, but not alarmingly so. In 30 seconds or so we’d made our way to the top and you can only imagine our surprise and delight when we immediately found an open café also serving cold beer. (That girl, ugh!)

As one, our moods lifted and we changed from, “Let’s hurry up here and go get something to eat,” to “Let’s just stay here forever!” The AC was blasting in contrast to below, and we ordered beers, food for baby and … well, I don’t really know what anyone else got because I got garlic fries and promptly lost the ability to accept any other sensory inputs. They were as good as the ones at the baseball game and I ate like someone was coming to take them away!

Only after our hunger and thirst was satisfied did we venture further out onto the deck to take in the spectacular view and get pictures. Every angle provides an amazing panorama and Mt. Rainier hovered in the sky like an illusionist’s ultimate trick of the eye. We had fun looking through the powerful binoculars, eventually finding an apartment rooftop and totally creeping on the couple of dudes grilling out and drinking beers, likely completely unaware that tourists at the Space Needle could see them well enough to identify the labels on their Corona bottles. Granted these dudes weren’t doing anything weird … but I sorta get why people have telescopes in their city apartments. It’s oddly fascinating, albeit creepy, I admit.

Chihuly Gardens and Glass

Faye wanted to see the Chihuly Gardens and Glass so we used that option on our ticket. I’m glad she did because I didn’t pay much attention to what it was and probably wouldn’t have opted to go there on my own. I would’ve missed out on an amazing experience! From the very beginning all of us were hushed and amazed by the amazing glass sculptures — even baby, who sat quietly in his stroller, accepting his fate as if even he understood that he would not be allowed out in this incredibly exquisite and delicate environment. The exhibits are indoor as well as outdoor, hence the gardens aspect. In the shadow of the Space Needle towering far above, the exhibits hold their own demanding attention and awe and in some cases, mingling with the Space Needle for fantastic photos.

MoPoP

We were ripping through through our CityPASS attractions at a record pace and decided to stop into the Museum of Pop Culture around 4 p.m. even though it closed soon. It was right there. They gave us a sticker allowing us to return the following day also since it was so close to closing time.

We sped through a bunch of exhibits: Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad, 1966-1970, Indie Game Revolution, Guitar Gallery: The Quest for Volume, and Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film before realizing we definitely should return again as there was way more to see than we thought.

I’ll save you the suspense and let you know that we did not return. Having gone fast and furious style over the first few days we settled into the languorous, “Oh well, can’t see it all” attitude, opting for a lot more slow meandering and beer drinking over the next few days.

Leaving MoPoP, we wandered over to Old Stove Brewing, a very cute little place and grabbed beers and sandwiches on the patio. The temperature was dropping abruptly. It had been sunny and hot all day but by the time we finished eating the sky had been overrun with gray clouds and the wind was whipping. We walked back — an inadvisable choice — as we didn’t realize quite how far away we were. They were ready to stay in and chill and drink at home the rest of the night but I still had more in the tank.

On the train I’d met a Seattle local and he kindly offered up some of the can’t miss places in Seattle, as well as his number. We arranged to meet up for a drink at a little bar in Capitol Hill. Just my kind of place, comfortable, simple, and not a lot of people. We arrived within minutes of each other and spent a couple hours laughing and talking, at the end of the night agreeing to try and meet up again. Headed home after closing the bar down I tried not to think of work, a scant 3.5 hours away. I was basically lying down for a nap.

Wednesday

The next day wasn’t too bad. When traveling I usually have a few days where I can run on low sleep before it catches up. Coffee and showers do wonders in the early morning hours and the rest of the crew was dragging even after their 9ish hours of sleep compared to my just over 3. We’d been wanting to check out a pinball arcade nearby, and the group was in the mood for sushi. We made reservations for the sushi around 4 p.m. and headed to the arcade in the afternoon to kill an hour or so beforehand.

The arcade was an awesome little place and once we tired of pinball we turned to card games like Apples to Apples and Sushi Go. They had several options for beer and a hot plate capable of making a few things, including a grilled cheese for baby, so we thoroughly enjoyed our time there. Well, minus Kirks spilling an entire beer all over the table, and Toby and I — although, actually that was pretty funny and no one cellphones was harmed in the incident so I guess that was enjoyable too and gave us something to tease him about.

All too soon it was time to leave in order to make our reservation so we headed over to Momiji. I don’t eat sushi but was able to find several other options as the menu was huge. The beautiful little garden courtyard was closed but we were able to sit right next to it. The food came out quickly and was delicious though the use of cilantro versus no cilantro in some of the sushi rolls sparked some debate.

We’d passed a cool looking brewpub several times throughout the week so we tried to retrace our steps and eventually found it. It was called Stout and was pretty empty at around 5 p.m. It had a great little lounge area to one side and we took it over as it gave us the ability to keep baby corralled with us.

We didn’t have any card games with us so resorted to a game naming actors and actresses. Someone started with a name and then the next person had to name someone who started with the last letter of the previous person’s name in 20 seconds. So Nicole Kidman > Nicolas Cage > Ewan McGregor > Roger Moore and so forth. The game was a lot harder than it appears as so many people’s names end in the same letters like N, so we’d quickly find ourselves running out of those common letters. If you couldn’t name someone you had to drink. If it went all the way around the four of us and we all got stuck the game ended. We eventually went on through bands and movie titles having more and more fun as time (and the beers) wore on.

After that, I met up with my new Seattle friend and we spent a fun evening checking out the amazing view from Kerry Park near sunset and walking around the beautiful houses in the Queen Anne neighborhood … I loved the gorgeous homes in virtually every style one could imagine, all mishmashed together, and all with gorgeous landscaping. My mother would’ve been in heaven, getting amazing ideas for her own home and exclaiming over the differences in the Seattle flora and fauna. All of the yards seemed to cultivate a barely tamed wildness that was extremely beautiful. Colors burst forth from flowers and trees everywhere, but upon closer examination the careful hand of a gardener was evident — a planned careful wildness that somehow didn’t feel artificial.

We passed a few hours in a nearby dive bar, downing beers and trading stories before returning Kerry park for one last look at the stunning Seattle skyline, now lit up in a blaze of lights.

One the way back to the Airbnb my Uber drive mistook me for a young, newer Seattleite, assuming I was one of the young, tech crowd who’d moved into the area in droves to work for Amazon, Microsoft, or one of the other tech companies that had sprung up in recent years. Too tired and fuzzy to explain my life story I left him to his assumption and listened to him recount the changes that had occurred throughout the city in the last few years through his eyes. Fifteen minutes later I was pouring myself into bed for another “nap” before work. The grind was catching up to me and I was about to be on E.

Thursday

The last day, we were total bums. We’d been maniacal tourists the first few days, zipping through attractions like we had two days instead of a week to enjoy. They were content to lounge around in the morning and take their time getting ready. They left just a little bit before I finished work so I met them at Tom Douglas Rub with Love (Yes! A real name of a place!) for lunch. The slow leisurely pace of the day continued as nobody had anything in particular that we wanted to see so we just meandered. We found our way to Centennial Park, walked around for a little there, and then decided to not force it and just drink our way down 1st Avenue …

Baby was settled in the stroller for his afternoon nap so we passed some time with cold beers on the patio outside at Belltown Pub. The rest of the party was continuing on to Sasquatch Music Festival the next day. They’d invited me to come along but I was running on empty and had decided just that morning to fly back before I ran myself into the ground. They’d purchased a game that was perfect for the festival at the pinball Arcade. It consisted of cards with challenges for you to complete, some nice like: “Pay for a vending machine item for the person behind you.” Some ridiculous like: “Lie down in a public place until someone asks if you’re OK.” Basically a perfect game for them. They debated on and on about how the cards should be divided up fairly and took a good 45 minutes to arrive at a mostly satisfactory outcome that all could agree to. I sipped my beer and laughed at them, at the same time grateful and sad that I was missing out on the hilarity and shenanigans that was sure to ensue.

We kept going and found ourselves down in the Pioneer Square area. We sat on the tiny sidewalk area at the J&M Cafe and Cardroom eating, drinking, people watching, and enjoying the sunshine and sliver of water visible down the street. Seattle provides such an interesting mix of people … as Faye put it, “Sometimes you can’t tell the hipsters from the homeless.” Certainly a unique city and I loved it more than I had any idea I would. In fact, it’s made it onto my list of cities to live in someday — for a few months at least — once I’ve reached my goal of 46ish items in a backpack and freedom to roam. So, hopefully, one day soon. Can’t wait to be back.

Friday

We split up the next morning. They picked up a rental and headed out for the music festival and I stayed at the Airbnb until the afternoon when I headed to the airport to start my 8+ hour journey home. This was absolutely one of the most perfect trips I’ve ever had. I travel alone so often it’s a nice change to be joined by some of my favorite people in the whole world. I wonder where we’ll go next time.