Thursday, August 13, 2009

Summary of Seattle Week 1

It’s hard to believe our first full week in Seattle has come & gone. We’ve been blessed with almost perfect weather since we’ve been here – sunny with highs in the 70’s or even cooler. I rarely leave the apartment without my fleece jacket! It finally rained for the first time Monday and I was actually grateful for it as I don’t want Greg to get the idea that the weather is always like this here. We’ve been enjoying walking along the waterfront to downtown, through or alongside the Olympic Sculpture Park. We’ve also pretty thoroughly explored our little neighborhood of Lower Queen Anne at this point. One of our favorite things to do is take a break from work and go up to the roof deck for fresh air and beautiful views. Last Saturday we went to Mt Rainier. Since we booked the rental car at the last minute, there were no vehicles available for pickup in the downtown area, so we took the train out to the airport and picked up our car there around 8am. The drive to the mountain was easy and took about two hours. Unfortunately there were clouds surrounding the mountain the entire day, so we never got to see the summit. But it didn’t rain, so we hiked through the subalpine meadows, and drove to both Paradise on the southwest side of the mountain & Sunrise on the northeast. It cleared up enough while we were at Sunrise that we were able to see Emmons glacier and a fair amount of the Cascades range. We dropped the car off at the airport after 8pm and took the train and monorail back home. On Sunday we went to a Mariners game at Safeco Field. From the hotel we can walk about 15min down to the waterfront (the northern end of Alaskan Way) and catch the free bus that runs all the way down Alaskan Way and then turns east to Pioneer Square and the International District. From there it’s just a few blocks walk to Qwest Stadium and Safeco Field. One thing we noticed as we approached the stadium were all the vendors set up along the street selling typical ballpark snacks (sunflower seeds, peanuts, popcorn, Cracker Jacks, hot dogs, etc). The difference here was that everything except beverages could be taken into the park. You could even buy a whole pizza and take it in with you! We opted instead to go to Pyramid Brewery, which is located across the street from Safeco, and ate lunch and drank beer there before going into the stadium. Speaking of beer, we were hoping stadium prices would be lower than at the new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field in New York. But a premium draft beer was still $8.75. It was a fun game and despite only paying $22 apiece for our upper level seats, we had a great view directly behind home plate and weren’t straining to see at all. The Mariners won the game 11-2 and Russell Branyan even hit a grand slam. But to Greg’s disappointment, there was no appearance by Ken Griffey, Jr. After the game we walked to the massive Asian grocery store, Uwajimaya, and admired the wide variety of foods available there. We then walked uphill to the Danny Woo International District Community Gardens. This is where elderly and low-income neighborhood residents can grow fruit and vegetables. We took the free bus back up Alaskan Way and walked home, noticing the three huge cruise ships at port and the influx of tourists along the piers. On Tuesday after work we took a local bus across town to the REI flagship store. Believe it or not, we didn’t buy anything but had fun checking out the latest and greatest outdoor gear. We then walked north to Lake Union and checked out the Center for Wooden Boats. Although rain was in the forecast, it was actually fairly sunny so we walked along the piers and then had happy hour drinks at Duke’s. Much to Greg’s delight, we also came across the only Hooters in Seattle so that became our dinner destination. After a pitcher of beer and unlimited wings, we decided we’d better walk home to burn some calories. We checked our map and saw that we could just follow Mercer or Republican all the way back to the hotel. Unfortunately, the map did not indicate that we would have to cross some busy streets with no crosswalks and concrete lane dividers. It became a bit of an obstacle course, but we made it back unscathed and went up on the roof deck to take some night shots of the Space Needle and downtown Seattle. Tomorrow afternoon we’re on our way to the San Juan Islands. We’ll only be gone one night, but are particularly looking forward to whale watching on Saturday.

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