Seattle Part IV

Thursday 8th May

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We met in the morning for brunch at Oddfellows. I went for biscuit and egg, which turned out to be a scone with some scrambled egg and, confusingly, jam.

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After filling ourselves with noms, we headed to the exhibition space in order to set up for the evening. It was hard work, but we managed. We had an extra pair of hands when the lovely Ashley from the International Bipolar Foundation arrived. They were instrumental in helping with this project, so it was nice that she could be there to see the exhibition.

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Ben was lucky and avoided any of the heavy lifting as he was the official photographer for the event (actually the reason we were in Seattle in the first place). He was in charge of taking pictures of us dragging gigantic babies around, holding up boards, drilling and assembling various pieces of complicated hanging equipment.

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The show went really well. There was a great turnout, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I got to meet some friends of friends, as well as some strangers, and a man who kept looking at my boobs.

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Ellen Forney came along!

By the end of the night I think we were all glad to have a bit of a sit down after a day on our feet!

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Friday 9th May

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With feet still aching from the exhibition the night before, not to mention the fact that we hadn’t stopped walking since we arrived, we headed for breakfast at Top Pot (classic), before gingerly walking downtown to the aquarium. It began to rain half way, so our feet were glad to stop for another coffee break!

Seattle Aquarium took a little bit of finding. We ended up exploring quite a few levels of Pike Place Market on our way down, but it was worth it. The first section includes a section where you can touch some of the creatures of the deep, but they all looked a bit minging, so I decided to leave well alone. As well as various fish, I spotted a couple of octopi, watched the feeding of the harbour seals, and spent a long time cooing over the sea otters.

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In the evening, we met up with Tom at Dick’s Drive In, where we devoured a couple of burgers each, before heading to Rhino Room for cocktails (for the boys) and wine (for me).   After a couple of drinks, we headed back to the exhibition to see how Missy and Kim were getting on during their second night. Again, it was pretty busy, and they seemed really happy with the turnout. It was a bit chilly in the venue, so Ben, Tom and I decided to head upstairs to chill out with a second dinner, before heading home in a cab.

Saturday 10th May

After packing up, we arrived at Kim’s house in time to help everyone unload the exhibition from the van. We had a spot of lunch before helping out with a shopping trip to buy food for the Eurovision party which they were having later that day. Sadly, our flight time meant that we couldn’t attend the party, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t help out with our knowledge of european food and drink.

Finally, we waved goodbye to our friends at the airport and caught a flight home, looking forward to not walking anywhere for a few weeks!

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Seattle Part III

Wednesday 7th May

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There was a morning disaster when Top Pot had run out of donuts, but we soldiered on with life and walked down to the Space Needle with empty stomachs. As we were there pretty early there were no queues and we were able to catch the first lift to the top.

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The views were absolutely fantastic, and it was nice to be able to take our time wandering around. Although we took some of the classic tourist shots, it was also fun to take a few more unusual pictures which will probably serve as a better reminder of our trip.

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It was so much less stressful than our trip to the Empire State Building, and you don’t even have to pay for your cheesy tourist picture – they email the derp directly to your inbox!

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I’d like to think this is among the top ten worst pictures ever taken of Ben and I, but I can’t be completely sure… Here’s the worst one – Empire State strikes back!

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Next up, we headed to EMP, which is a music and sci-fi museum. A slightly strange combination, but they make it work. There were exhibits on Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix, as well as a cool room where you could play with some instruments. We weren’t very good at that and left quite quickly.

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The sci-fi section of the museum was fun. I got to have my picture taken on the Iron Throne, pretend to be a raccoon, and punch a dinosaur in the face!

 

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That evening, we went for delicious cocktails at Sun Liquor with Missy, Tom, Kim and Kathi, before walking down to Mamnoon for some of the best middle eastern food I’ve tasted. In fact, it was so good that the vegetarians in our party turned meat eater for the night. It was a surprise to find the traditional food served in such a modern setting, but that really added something different to the meal, and we all had a fantastic time sharing the plates we’d ordered (basically the whole menu). Everything was nicely washed down with crémant. I had taken some pictures of the amazing food, but they were drunk and blurry. Use your imagination. It was the perfect celebration in preparation for the exhibition the following night!

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Seattle Part II

Monday 5th May

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Still waking up early, we decided to just get dressed and head across the street to Top Pot for some breakfast donuts. I went for an Apple Fritter, which looked like a brain but tasted nice, and Ben had something with cinnamon.

We’d planned to spend the day exploring Capitol Hill and Broadway, the hipster district where we were staying, but we were up so early that nothing was open. I spotted a sign saying it was only a mile to the International District (a more diverse Chinatown), so we decided to pop down and have a look at that. It was still early, so we had a little wander round, but since nothing was open and it seemed to be largely deserted, it wasn’t a hugely interesting place. We walked past the Wing Luke Museum, but sadly they are closed on Monday’s so we weren’t able to visit. They run some really interesting looking tours of the area, both a standard Chinatown tour, and some specific ones relating to books set in the area, so it’s a shame that the day of our visit didn’t work. On the plus side, I’ve been able to add a couple of books to my to-read list – don’t you love reading books set in places you’ve visited?

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We’d originally planned to visit the ID on the same day as a trip down to Pioneer Square, so it seemed only logical to continue in that direction. It turned out that Pioneer Square itself was pretty difficult to find, although the whole neighbourhood felt much older than the rest of Seattle, so it was interesting to have a look at that. It was the area where Seattle’s founders settled in 1852. As well as being older, it also felt quite down at heel. I’m not sure it would be somewhere I’d feel comfortable walking alone at night, and we didn’t really want to linger there, but managed to walk past Pioneer Square itself on the way out (hint: it’s triangular and filled with homeless people).

We beat a hasty retreat to Pike Place Market, because it was, after all, kind of on the way home. One benefit of it still being quite early in the day was that there weren’t too many tourists. Sadly, there also wasn’t that much happening on the fish throwing front, so we decided to step outside and check the map. By this point, my choice of footwear (smart brogues – we weren’t planning to walk far when we set out) was causing me some issues, so we thought we’d find the monorail and have a nice sit down on it.

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After a little hunting (our map wasn’t the best), we found the entrance to the monorail – there’s a lift on 5th Avenue, just north of Pine Street. We paid $2.25 for a one way trip of about a mile, which seemed pretty reasonable. The ride was super fun and included a lean to the side for corners, which was a pleasant surprise. I love an unusual mode of transport, and this one was just so retro, having been built for the World’s Fair in 1962. I’ve only ever been on the Gatwick Airport monorail before, so I was pretty excited. Apparently there is a monorail in Moscow – even more reason to visit!

On arrival at the Seattle Center, we decided we were a bit tired to actually visit any of the attractions, although we cased the joint and decided it was worthy of a whole day later in the trip. We stopped for a drink in the Armory, which was built in 1939 to house the 146th Field Artillery and their tanks. Today it is a cavernous food court.

Refreshed, we headed up the gigantic hill back home.

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And that is how we accidentally walked 6 1/2 miles in one day, inadvertently giving ourselves a very good idea of the layout of the city centre.

After getting changed and resting at home for a while, Kim and Missy picked us up and took us to his family’s house for dinner. It was a really fun evening, with paella and wine, and it was nice to spend some time with his family, who we hadn’t seen since we left Brussels. It’s great to catch up with people who you haven’t seen for a long time, especially when it’s on their home turf.

Tuesday 6th May

Having finally defeated our jet lag, we enjoyed a nice lay in till 9:15. As our feet were sore from the unexpectedly long walk the day before, we decided to stick to Capitol Hill for the day. This time around, we stuck to the plan, and didn’t overexert ourselves too much!

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The area has a diverse variety of shops, including thrift stores and cool furniture places. We started the day in Value Village, which is a kind of second hand TK Maxx. I managed to pick up a winter coat and a couple of bright plastic necklaces for $13 – bargain!!

I also got myself a Pocket Fashion Sketch Pad, which wouldn’t really fit in a pocket, but which I like anyway. I’ll probably post a review of it once I’ve used it a little bit.

Further vintage fun was had in Red Light, which is an incredible vintage and costume store with such a large selection. In the end I came away empty handed, as there wasn’t really anything I wanted specifically. The girl working there did compliment me on my Archie McPhee squid bag though 🙂

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On our way back home we popped into another vintage store which was on our street and who’s name I’ve forgotten. They had a lovely selection of clothes, but I was quite tired that point, and we missed Alfie, so we were most interested in the shop cat, Vincent.

In the evening we enjoyed pizzas from Toscana across the street and chilled at home with the TV. My goodness, what a lot of adverts!

Seattle Part I

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I’ll probably break down the excitement of our trip to Seattle into a few posts, lest it all get a bit too much for you. I was so excited about it, I started my holiday diary the day before we even left, so I’ll try and be a bit concise with the bits that only I care about!

Friday 2nd May
I booted it home from my Russian lesson (I’m always Russian around – hahaha ha ha…) and we headed for Heathrow. We got a bus to the terminal from the car park, then had to wait for another bus to the hotel which, despite being called Hilton T5, was in fact not at T5. Schoolboy Heathrow error. That bus arrived and was full so we thought we’d check out the taxi situation – £35 apparently – I swore at the taxi queue bouncers, and huffed off back to the bus stop. The coach was £8 return, which I also considered a rip off, but there was little I could do about it. The hotel was lovely and new, but the location pissed me off. Give me Gatwick Airport any day of the week.

Saturday 3rd May

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Neighbors, Please stop opening this door! It is NOT a portal to another dimension. My bedroom is right behind it and when you SLAM it shut, it freaks out my cats and the humans living here. Thanks, Dave

We shuttled back to the airport at 5.30 am and I didn’t swear at anybody. I managed 1 hour of sleep while sitting upright on the plane (personal record), finished reading Look Who’s Back by Timur Vernes (started funny, then got a bit real), and watched Inside Llewyn Davis (I didn’t get it, which was annoying as I really thought I would love it).

Getting into the US was a delight, as ever. I got my bag sniffed by a doggy, and Ben had to have an agricultural scan.

Missy and Kim drove us to our home for the week (we rented an apartment in Capitol Hill on Airbnb), supplied us with donuts from Top Pot (om nom) and left us to settle in. Next door to us we were pleased to find that there was a portal to another dimension, and CATS! As it was 1.30pm, we decided to take a nap. We woke up 12 hours later, ate our donuts and felt a bit sad.

Sunday 4th May
DSCN0610We gave up trying to sleep at 5.30am and waited for Missy and Kim picked us up at a more normal time of the morning. When they arrived, Kim informed us that one of our neighbours had died. He was correct.

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We went to 5 Spot for breakfast. Ben went for the Slinger and I had a Val Verde Scram – we would recommend both. The Val Verde Scram comes with a chub, which after asking the waitress, turned out to be a link, which is actually a sausage.

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Next we drove up to Fremont, where I spent some time having my photo taken with Murder Lenin, before going to meet the troll who lives under the bridge. We discussed whether flotation tanks were relaxing, or whether you’d just freak the hell out – Missy and Kim had given them a try recently, and it’s a bit of both, apparently.

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We headed over to Ballard to see the Farmer’s Market, and we scoffed a bag of yummy fresh cinnamon sugar covered donuts, before heading back to the car for the next stop. Archie McPhee’s shop is brilliant – there were all kinds of masks to try on, including my beloved horse head. I picked up the annual Christmas tree ornament for my mum and step dad, and a tote bag with a giant squid catching a diver.

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Next up it was Gasworks Park, which is very scenic and has fantastic views across to Downtown across the sound. Kim said he went there once and there was a closed off section with some black stuff oozing out of the ground. Sadly we missed out on any such excitement, but I did see a man having a lovely time with his doggy.

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That night, the four of us went for drinks at Bathtub Gin, which was a very cool place with potent cocktails, but incredibly slow service. A highlight for all of us was when the drunk lady opposite’s boyfriend went to the loo and she didn’t notice and kept talking to his empty seat for five minutes.

Dinner was at Serious Pie, a fancy pizza place who’s logo looks like a man who’s penis is on fire. I had one which used egg in place of the tomato sauce, and was topped with serrano, cheese and rocket. It was delicious.

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