Sunday, July 10, 2011

Setting Sail from Seattle, the Sunny

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Alliteration FTW!

We got into Seattle late Friday night, made it to our hotel (Cedarbrook Lodge), and immediately ate some free Haagen-Dazs ice cream...because, I mean, what else are you going to do when there's free ice cream??!? The next morning, with some malted milk balls (dark chocolate, milk, and mint) to fortify us, we headed to breakfast. Also free: bottled water, chips and STRING CHEESE. String Cheese! That's one of those great snacks that I love but never buy.

Breakfast was the best smoked salmon I have ever had. I seriously need to ask the hotel what brand it was.
Oh! And the best apples ever! I was eyeing the oranges on the buffet when I thought, HEY, DUMMY, you are in WASHINGTON!! HAVE AN APPLE!

Our hotel was gorgeous! We originally wanted to stay in town close to the dock where our ship would be docked, but most hotels were booked and all were pricey (we suspect the double whammy of a baseball game and U2 concert did it). I'm so glad Michael found this beautiful place, right by the airport!

We hopped the free shuttle to the train, and in minutes we were at our stop and wandering around. By this time it was about 70F with not a cloud in the sky! Our first destination was Pioneer Square.
I loved all the hanging flower baskets that seemed to be everywhere downtown.

Michael tells me this is a great example of Victorian Romanesque architecture.

I had to get a picture of the yarn bombing in Pioneer Square.

We didn't have enough time to take the underground tour, but I definitely want to do that when we go back. We headed towards Pike Market, taking in a few sights along the way. This is a park that UPS put in place of its original headquarters to commemorate their 100th anniversary. UPS is now headquartered in Atlanta, and I had no idea that they had originated in Seattle! It's a gorgeous little park, complete with a waterfall (and no railings! Oh, the Liability!)

...and beautiful Japanese maples that reach through the "skylight" and up over the glass ceiling.

Next stop was the library. This is what happens when you marry someone with a degree from a College of Architecture. =) It is a very iconic building. But the inside is even cooler! The friendly desk agent will even hand you a laminated tour map if you tell him you're just visiting.

This is the escalator that goes up through practically the entire library...or at least through the Dewey Decimal "spiral". You may notice that the floor on the left is at a different height from the floor on the right. Yup. Giant spiral, all the way down. Or up, depending which way you're going!
Right before we got on this escalator there was an amazing piece of digital art above one of the circulation desks. It cycles through several displays showing statistics on what's been checked out. One of them is a cool floating timeline of every book checked out that day, complete with author, title and Dewey number (if applicable). I didn't get a picture of it because I wasn't 100% sure it was kosher to be taking pictures in there. Yeah, I could've asked!

This is a map room and some stacks on the top floor. Everything in the library is very open. And there are some great views from up there.

The geek in me absolutely loves the fact that the spiral floors are labeled with LED panels, so they can change the numbers if, say, Literature & Rhetoric suddenly takes off and needs a floor of its own.

By this time we were ready for lunch, since we were going to be having an early (for us) dinner. We found a great sushi restaurant called Japonessa that had "happy hour" going on...half price sushi rolls. I thought this meant they'd be a little smaller, but...
...they weren't! YUM, and that made two meals with salmon in a row.

We'd finally made it to Pike Market, and the first thing we saw when we walked in was a Chinese tea store where they were having tastings.
Now, we consider ourselves somewhat of "tea snobs", but it's more of the black-tea-with-cream-and-sugar variety. We felt pretty uneducated during the demonstration of our...barista? Tearista? Anyway. Most of the teas she only brewed for 20 seconds, using a (handle-less) cup and a saucer to stir the leaves, then using to saucer to strain into a teapot and pour into our teensy sample cups. Honestly, it looked like a ton of fun...I was one of those kids who liked to pour from bucket to bucket and could play in the water all day! We tried first brew, second, third, and when we got to the Pu Erh, FIFTH! Pu Erh...that's definitely an acquired taste. We bought a very small amount of one of their cheaper teas...some were $300 or more a pound!!

Here's another shot of the beautiful day we were experiencing...

Unfortunately, that made the Market EXTREMELY crowded. We didn't really do any shopping due to the crowds and being once again low on time. I'd like to go back when the weather's more conducive to smaller crowds!

We rode the monorail over to the Space Needle!
Hooray for Worlds' Fairs that give us crazy giant landmarks!

My photogenic friends from college, Aimee and Jason, moved to Seattle two years ago and we got to meet them and their delightful boys for dinner. Aimee had managed to get us reservations at the restaurant at the top of the Needle, despite the gorgeous day!!
We enjoyed crystal-clear views and great fellowship throughout dinner. Oh, yeah, and more fabulous salmon...
Copper River apparently only runs for two weeks out of the year, and it's insanely good.

The EMP (Experience Music Project, also featured in the preview post , looks just as cool from above as it does on the ground.

After dinner we strolled around outside and took copious pictures. Every direction was gorgeous, and that slight haziness you see at the horizon? Yeah, that wasn't there during dinner at all. In fact, I was really surprised when I looked at these picture at how far away the mountains look! During dinner, it looked like I could throw a salt shaker at 'em. OK, maybe not that close, but they were really clear.
After another monorail ride home and some free malted milk balls and Haagen-Dazs later, we turned in for the night.

The next morning, Aimee and Jason and the boys came out to our hotel and hung around with us for a while before we had to head in to the city to the pier. It was a nice, relaxing morning, and I got to rack up salmon meal number-four-in-a-row. Walking down to the pier, I managed to find a sign for a yarn shop!
I didn't get anything; I literally had 10 minutes to "browse" and there wasn't anything there answering to the description of local designer, locally-dyed yarn or small store kit. Oh well, I tried. =)

It was starting to get a little cloudy as we got to the pier. We had started joking the day before that Seattle residents must just tell everyone that it was cloudy there all the time to keep everyone away! The weather was so amazing, if it was like that all the time, EVERYONE would move there!
More gorgeous mountain views at the pier.

By the time we set sail, it was very cloudy. But you can still see the Space Needle there in the background.
Hey, is that ship following us??!?

Thanks for giving us such a gorgeous day, Seattle! Onward to Alaska!


Jenny said...

Wow - that looks like a totally perfect day!
That salmon does look fabulluis too!

Aimee said...

Yay! I'm so glad we got to see you guys. Thanks for making the time for us!

It's funny...every time I visited Seattle before moving here, the weather was GORGEOUS. Now, having lived through two winters, I can tell you we really do earn these amazing summers. Nine months of grey and rain aren't exactly fun, but it's fine by me. I compare it to working out and eating healthy, though - totally worth it for the results.

Jackie's Stitches said...

Seattle is one of the cities I'd love to see one day. I don't like salmon though!

Delusional Knitter said...

Awesome, thanks for sharing! So you're allergic to salmon right??? And are you sure that tea was legal that they were charging $300/lb for???

woolwoman said...

Heather - loved seeing the photos of your vacation to Seattle - WOW - no yarn shop perusals???? Supposedly there are 10+ yarn shops in that area. Enjoyed the tour - Melody

Erin (moviemuse) said...

Looks like a fabulous trip so far, and you're not even on the boat yet!

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