One Short Day in the Emerald City

*I originally wrote this Travel Guide when I returned home from Seattle, but completely spaced that I should actually post it.  Sorry my friends, but here it is, enjoy!

 

                You know you were raised by wandering parents when a visit to your sister begins with a spontaneous road trip to Seattle.  Let’s back up a bit.  A few weeks before, I was on the phone with my sister Sammie talking about her upcoming anniversary trip to Seattle with her husband.  I mentioned that I hadn’t ever experienced the tourist attractions, having only been to the Seattle area to visit family or attend soccer games.  We joked about how much fun it would be to do a girls weekend to Seattle, but quickly moved onto the next topic.

                Flash forward to my arrival in Spokane.  I had said my goodbye to Boise and began my “Farewell Tour” (as Sammie named it), the family circuit, before moving overseas.  I had two weeks in North Idaho split between two of my sisters and my parents before heading to Alaska for a week to see the last sister.

                I was lovingly greeted at the airport with a sign for The Very Hungry Traveler with the #FarewellTour and a very excited sister.  Laughing from the first second together, we collected my stuff and left the airport headed for her house.  Or so I thought.  In the middle of a story, I stop to ask where we are going as she takes an odd exit to the freeway.  I thought maybe we were heading into Spokane and I was simply unfamiliar with her route.  Without missing a beat, she calmly responds “Seattle, did I not mention that we were going?”.  I proceeded to squeal and freak out, as she looks at me with a huge grin extremely proud of her surprise.  “The fact that you have been to the Colosseum in Rome three times, but never in the Space Needle is unacceptable.”

I have the best sister.

 Four hours later we arrived at her best friend’s house in Renton, Washington.  The next day was jam packed seeing as much of Seattle we could possibly fit in one day.  Waiting for the traffic to thin before attempting to head into Seattle, first stop was naturally, the Space Needle.  For someone who is afraid of falling, I have an odd obsession with going to the top of towers and getting the best vantage point.  Even on a normal gray Seattle day, freezing at the top is well worth it.  I highly recommend buying tickets online in order to skip the bulk of the line.  We purchased them on our way in the car, and it worked perfectly.

                After about an hour at the top, we headed to Pike’s Place Market.  I could have lived there.  Felt like being back in the markets of Italy, only with the added perk of flying fish and singing, piano playing fishermen.  Filled with delicious bites and incredible surprises in every nook and cranny, Pike’s Place is a must.  It is so much more than a tourist attraction, it’s a glimpse into the lifeblood of S
eattle.

                The other lifeblood of Seattle is right across the street, the first Starbucks.  Teeny, tiny and not at all the jazzy relaxing coffeehouse we associate with that green mermaid and our foamy soy extra hot latte.  I appreciated the glimpse into the roots of the company.  Its really incredible to see where a love of coffee culture blossomed into a multibillion dollar industry.

                After picking up some snacks for lunch and taking a break from the day, Sammie and I spent the rest of the day exploring the history of Seattle underground.  We had experienced an Underground tour in Vancouver, BC on a family trip when we were kids and were excited to try it here.  It was an hour and a half of the history of Seattle through the tunnels that it is built on.  The tour guides are funny and charismatic.  However if you choose to take this tour, do be aware it is a lot of walking on uneven floors.  Also it is mostly inside, but goes through a few alleys along the way.  It was a great rainy afternoon activity, but youll want to prepare with warm clothes and good shoes.

                We finished the tour about 5:30pm and did not want to try to fight traffic out of the city.  Sammie had the great idea to go explore the Queen Anne and Freemont neighborhoods.  I had no idea the roads were so intense, I felt like I was in San Francisco.  Trully every step of this day was a great adventure.  Amazing how something as simply as driving around town, or going to the end of I-90 can be an event and important part of the city.  Its all about your perspective as a traveler.

                Dinner was an adventure as well.  I love to use Trip Advisor to find a great meal in a new city, but sometimes in one the size of Seattle it can be hard to choose the best.  I also find myself having trouble making sure to stay in my budget or location.  Our method of combatting that? Drive until we find a funky looking place, look on trip advisor to find out the basics like price and a few reviews and go from there.  This lead us to a great Italian place, Buca di Beppo.  Family style Italian, which can be hard with a sister that is allergic to tomatoes.  However, we were able to settle on an amazing dish.  Chicken stuffed with prosciutto, mozzarella, and alfredo, then breaded and served in a pesto base.  It was melty, comforting and delicious.  A dish that takes four of my favorite things and puts them all together in one meal is one that makes you walk away wishing you hadn’t take the last bites (or ten bites).

                It was a busy 40 hours from the time we left the airport until we returned to Spokane, but it was one of the best spontaneous trips.  Memories like these are ones that will never fade.  One more hilarious, weekend with one of my best friends before I move.  I am thankful for every moment of this farewell tour and couldn’t have dreamed up a better way to start it.

Stay Hungry Friends.

-The Very Hungry Traveler

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