We had such a great visit to Portland back in August this summer – and said at the time we should take the train down next time – with a stopover in Seattle to explore. A plan for next year we thought.
Well Brian’s suggestion that we have a night in Vancouver to celebrate our Nov birthday/anniversary date kind of fell flat this year. What to do – go find some music…eat…same old – same old. Then I thought of Seattle. Just a train ride away. (coach about $80 return – when you are loading ask for a table seat if the train is not too busy) We left on a Friday night about 5:40 pm got in about 10:30. Don’t forget your passport – US Customs comes on the train at the border.
So I put together a “wish” list of places to see, visit, sample, shop and enjoy. Including the best craft beer/food/pubs, the Seattle Art Museum and as much glass as possible in one weekend. Looking at the map for our usual Best Western pickings (I get points) and other hotel pricing – it was a toss up between a tiny, crappy room for lots of money RIGHT downtown… or a really nice room for half the price just outside of downtown. (look for the 3rd night free deals!) We went for the outside location – the Loyal Inn / Best Western near Denny Park only a few blocks walk from the Seattle Center. Take in the sites near the Space Needle, hop the very convenient monorail to the downtown shopping area, then walk 4 blocks to the Pike St market. It was clean & quiet and $5-10 taxi downtown.
We lucked out with unexpectedly fine weather – although the wind whipped up at times through the city streets near the water – the leaves and gardens were still looking good. Explored the Sound garden, the Armory (food court) decided to do Chihuly later and headed downtown on the Monorail. Fabulous view of the Gehry building with its pink iridescent sheathing and blue reflective patina – the rail line goes right through it.
Straight down to the Pike St Market – and a busy Saturday morning it was there! packed with visitors, shoppers and looky loos- and a few grumpy fish mongers. I love the market (see pics below) Color and flowers, old neon signs, old bricks and gleaming tile walls, ramps and walkways through the various levels. We got some smoked salmon, saw the worlds biggest shoes (25 cents a peek) and listened to the fiddle player who stopped me in my tracks with my most favorite piece of music EVER – Prelude from Bach’s Cello suite #1. and what a paranoid OCD character he was. Ahhh creative souls eh.
Home to the hotel for an afternoon nap about 3pm, and then to the nearby Seattle Glassblowing studio. I had booked tickets for the 7:pm Underground Tour (adult version) so we walked along 5th to ICON grill ( Brian is still saying “Icon still taste it!” ha ha ) great art, appies and best ever “clutter” with balloons of glass (Chihuly-esque by Martin Blank) heaped up in the vaulted ceiling chandeliers – great old art deco buildings everywhere.
The Underground (Underworld 21+) Tour was a hoot – but don’t go to the evening version if you are a delicate prude. There’s some serious swearing, coarse jokes, tales of vice and debauchery from the old neighborhood – and a couple of questionable alleys thrown in. Lots of fun – our tart of a tour guide led us back for a bourbon after at the tour Co pub.
Wandering back from Pioneer Park along 1st ave – we lucked upon a fabulous whisky brewing fine food establishment called Von’s GustoBistro and I had THE best hamburger I have ever tasted. Seriously. It had nothing to do with the fine Mayahuel Anejo Tequila spirits. Really. MMMM Taxi back home about 11pm – which constitutes a REALLY late night for these two oldies.
Our smoked Salmon and eggs for breaky at the hotel, some decent coffee at the Armory and then a fabulous tour of Chihuly Galleries & Garden @ the Seattle Center. I can’t say enough about it – and won’t say more…it will take your breath away – and the photos don’t do it justice. The sun burst out just as we emerged into the gardens…and the deep clouded sky set the color off so well. What a visual feast.
Back into the city and found the “real” Pikes Pub – an eyeful of brewery paraphenalia – had an awesome plate of mussels with coconut/spice, a huge fresh baked pretzel and some Monk’s Uncle Ale.
A veritable feast of perfectly paired flavors. Now THAT was a pub.
Boosted our energy for the onslaught of cultural contrast at the SAM. Robert Davidson, contemporary West Coast Haida works (after seeing the beautiful Edenshaw exhibit in Van on Friday) and rooms full of Puruvian treasures. GOLD and more GOLD…I can see why the conquistadors were so persistent!
I had seen a poster at the market (while pondering the Bach suite) for 2 Fellow with Cellos. Had NO idea what to expect – but we got tickets anyways and headed for the old Munro (Egyptian) theatre. Blew my socks and eyebrows off. They were amazing _two young guys from Croatia – loud – but amazing. Reminded me of my son the bass guitar virtuouso. must order a CD. Alternately Rocked us and coddled us in booming bass & delicate resonating tones. Another great night.
Departed early Monday from the lovely King St Station. White marble and plaster moldings galore. Harking back to 1906, the early days of rail travel. Did some sketching as we awaited our boarding call. Did I mention – I love trains.