Seattle.

IMG_4194 And now, for a complete change of pace:  The west coast!  Because Europe can grow so tiresome (just kidding).  And because Atlanta this time of year is so bloody hot and humid (not kidding about that).

Either that, or the Pilot had a trip out there and the kids were at camp or at grandmother’s all week, and I got to tag along.

I adore my kids, but even the most dedicated mom among us must get a break every once in a while.  And that is what I got last week:  The chance to relax, or at least relax as much as I can when flying across the country to a vibrant and fascinating city like Seattle.  Truthfully, it wasn’t so relaxing at all, tagging along and flying on every trip that my husband flew.  As it turns out, aircrew work really hard;  who knew it was’t all just glamorous?  But it was a lot of fun!  I can’t just hang around in a hotel room sleeping when I’m in a place like Seattle!!

You see, Seattle has been a favorite of mine for a long time.  Years ago, my husband and I honeymooned out there, not in Seattle, but on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound.  A few times, we came into the city by ferry to have dinner or to shop for food at Pike’s Place market.  Also, later in our marriage, he was stationed at Whidbey Island for 6 months and the kids and I came out and visited for weeks at a time.  While he hurried up and waited through Navy training, we ate raspberries and Rainier cherries and played at the playground in the 70 degree sunshine, and spent hours searching for treasures on the beaches… there are so many treasures on beaches when you are 5 and 7…

This time, however, we were right in downtown Seattle, and I got to experience this city the way that it is best seen:  on foot.

I do love a walking city, and in my opinion, Seattle is one of the best you can find in the US.  Admittedly, it’s been a long time since I’ve been to New York or Boston, and I remember that they are both indeed wonderful places, but there is something almost magical, at least to me, about this city by the water.  It’s almost always cool and misty, which is fine by me since I am a boots/tights/sweaters kind of girl, and you get not only the beauty of the ocean* but the beauty of the mountains as well.  Or, at least, sometimes you get the beauty of the mountains.  One mountain in particular, anyway:  Mt. Rainier.  I got the pleasure of seeing that rather astonishing volcanic mountain in all its glory on the crystal clear day of our arrival in Seattle.  How could you miss it?  It looms over the city, all 14,410 feet of it.

 

Ah, but you can miss it.  In fact, I’d even say that most of the time, you will miss it.  Crystal clear days in Seattle, as everyone knows, are few and far between.  So when the ranges of the Cascades are in view, along with the spectacular Rainier, take a good look, and take photographs.  I made the mistake of not doing so, of taking for granted that I would be able to take pictures the next day, and I was wrong:  the day of our arrival was the only sunny day we had the entire week that we were in and out of Seattle! Lucky for me, I got some gorgeous shots from the plane window as we were descending into the city.  And even luckier for me, I was also able to see Mt. Lassen, Mt. Shasta, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, and of course Rainier- all the way down into California.  Unbelievable.

But back to the wonders of Seattle.  We made a point of walking as much of it as we could, and though our mileage was not on par with my recent trip to London and Paris, we did cover some distance.  We visited Pike Place Market, which is de rigeur for a trip to Seattle.  I took pictures of food.  How could I help it, when Rainier cherries are in season?  And while I was taunted by delicious smelling bakeries that are now off-limits for me, some brilliant person had the idea of opening a stand that sells a variety of flavors of full-fat, delicious Greek yogurt.  I had lemon curd  (could someone please open such a stand in Atlanta?)  And of course we saw the guys who throw fish around;  I almost got sprayed by a shower of ice from a flying salmon.  But they do in fact sell it as well as throw it, which I must confess gave me a moment of longing for a kitchen.

Of course, there’s some pretty spectacular people watching here as well.  I know that grunge is technically over, but people still aren’t afraid to express, well, something.  I’m not sure what, exactly, but it is interesting and I like seeing it.   And then, inviting little boutiques are on every corner in the Belltown area, along with all the handmade offerings at the nearby Pike Place Market.  I came across a hand-sewn hat that I just might have to have one day- darling but also waterproof.  I wish I’d had that while I was  in England!  Look good AND keep dry- what a great idea!  And oh, the handpainted silk scarves and hand-crocheted sweaters and artist-made clocks, purses, you name it- this is the kind of shopping I like.  Plus, it’s good to support local artists, right?

And of course, we ate well here.  It’s a common theme with me, you may notice.  I don’t eat much seafood while home in Atlanta, Georgia coast shrimp being an occasional exception, but when I’m in the Pacific Northwest, I make a point of eating as much of it as possible.  There’s just nothing like fresh salmon, salmon that’s never been frozen or taken a ride on an airplane.

But I only thought the fish was the most fresh and amazing of any place in the country here in Seattle.  I thought that before I went to Juneau, Alaska, which is the entire reason that we were here in Seattle in the first place:  it’s a great place to start when you’re flying to Alaska.

 

 

 * Yes, I realize that the water near Seattle is technically a sound, the Puget, to be exact.  But to this landlocked Atlanta resident/Texas native, it feels an awful lot like the ocean.
IMG_4228
I love this place. The artists, the artisans, the Greek yogurt, the flying fish.
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Gorgeous AND delicious.
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A charming little calligrapher.

 

2 thoughts on “Seattle.

  1. I’ve lived here for ten years, and I think of Puget Sound as basically the ocean. It’s salt water, has strong tides, its smell fills the air, and whales have been known to swim in the waters near downtown, plus we have harbor seals and sea lions. That’s good enough for me.

    It’s interesting to hear your thoughts on Belletown. It’s such an oddly mixed neighborhood, with unbelievably expensive, posh apartments, nice coffee houses, and crack heads wandering the park looking for a fix. The criminal and drug element is a little embarrassing, so I’m glad to hear that you felt safe and were impressed as a visitor.

    1. Maybe I was just naive! I didn’t go at night- only daytime. Someone else who had traveled with my husband earlier in the month had sung its praises, so we went in with a positive outlook. Seattle feels expensive to me, in general, compared to Atlanta!! And yes, the sound is the ocean to me too, but I always seem to get corrected when I call it that (purists?). But a few years ago, I took a whale watching trip out into it and it really felt to me like I was out on the ocean. As you said, good enough for me.

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