I have been looking forward to this day for quite some time. Seattle here I come! Kenin and I have always wanted to visit. We stopped here briefly once a few years ago on our way to Alaska for a cruise. We weren’t even in the city long enough to see the Space Needle. Ever since then, I have longed for visiting Seattle. We drove into Seattle and immediately, both fell in love with the city. The place has a certain buzz that gets into your blood. I can see what inspired the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain. I wanted to start my day at Pike’s Place Market and Kenin was more than happy to oblige.
First things first, we woke up and hit the gym. I know what I want to do today and it is not going to be healthy. As we left the hotel the first thing we noticed was that pesky rain on the horizon. I’ve always felt like the rain and I had a special attachement but this is getting down right ridiculous. We drove our way into downtown and parked as close as we could to Pike’s Place Market without paying an outrageous price for parking.
We started at one end of Pikes Place Market and walked through multiple floors of food stalls, grocers, and souvenir shops. We snacked our way through the market, sharing dim sum on a stick from one stall and pao buns from another. We’ve had lots of different buns before and we love the roast pork, but we saw a new one that Ken just had to try. It was a curry beef bun and it was spectacular. If we didn’t have more eating to do we would have had two.
We continued through the marketplace and were amazed at how big it really was. We checked out the fish mongers (yes the ones that throw the fish on Food Network) and all the different flower stalls. I was shocked at how cheap the flowers were and the wide variety they had. All that walking had us hungry and a little tired again. We looked at our watches and sure enough, it was “Coffee O’Clock”.
We decided to head towards the “Original” Starbucks and found a huge line of about 30 people waiting to order. Ironically we later found a second Starbucks about a block away with no line at all. We opted for a photo instead and found a local espresso shop around the corner. We took our coffees to go and hunted out a great little bakery where we shared some delicious zeppole.
Now that I was all sugared up and the caffeine was coursing through my veins, our day could continue. We shopped for about another hour and I bought some delicious gourmet cheeses and breads. I love markets. They are so raw and earthy. I can’t seem to walk through one without leaving with baskets of stuff.
Leaving the market, we continued our stroll through the city and headed out towards the Space Needle. I didn’t particularly want to see it but Kenin insisted that we at least walk by and check it out. We had no real plans for the day so I figured, Why not? We walked along the Sound and checked out the sites on the wharf. There is a great aquarium, video arcade, and some restaurants as you head north. We stopped for a cup of chowder and sat watcing the water while under the watchful eyes of large angry pigeons.
At the end of the row of wharfs we found a neat little arts park that was part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It had a bunch of outdoor sculptures and a museum attached that had free admission. It was cool to see philanthropy in action and I wish more companies would spend their profit dollars enriching the lives of the people in their home cities.
As we got closer to the Space Needle we saw large crowds of people heading towards the Seattle Center. Turns out that we stumbled upon “A Bite Of Seattle”, a festival to promote businesses and services in the area. Kenin and I walked through the stalls, sampling foods and playing games. There was lots of free swag given out by all the vendors and we collected enough free snacks to cover us for the rest of the week.
This was like an impromptu day at the fair. We sat down for a little and drank some local beers then were on our merry way to more free samples and swag. We had a good time making fun of all the signs the vendors had. Apparently no one thought it was a bad idea to name a BBQ Place “Meaty Johnson’s” or sell chocolate covered fruit on a stick named “dingleberries”.
While waiting in line at a sample tent we ran into a crazy looking local that began speaking to us (why do all the loonies approach us?) and telling us all these crazy stories about getting out of the hospital recently. When she get’s to the front of the line and takes a bite of free mac n cheese she turns to us and says, Sweet Home Alabama! That’s scrumptious! I’m not sure how we kept straight faces, but that became the catch phrase of the week.
Once we tired of the freebies we walked around the rest of the park and checked out the architecture of the Gehry designed EMP museum, and the old WWII Armory. Turns out, we were also there for the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Worlds Fair, so we also got to see some of the displays set up for free viewing.
After playing around the park at the festival, Kenin surprised me with dinner plans. He found and took me to an amazing restaurant for one of my favorite cuisines, Ethiopian food. We went to a place called Habesha, and it was absolutely amazing. Both the food and the atmosphere were so great it was the perfect cap to a perfect evening.
On our long walk back to the car,we talked about our new found love of Seattle. The people here seemed so friendly and laid back. Miami is so full of hustle and bustle. It seems that back home, people don’t slow down enough to enjoy the journey. Kenin and I vowed, once again, to never go back to being those kinds of people. From here on out, the journey together will become our destination!