Our curse of bad rainy weather is finally over and my cold is gone! We arrived in Seattle Friday afternoon just after our host for the trip, Jon’s cousin Bill, got off of work for the weekend.
Days 34 – 36
September 5 – September 7, 2014
Miles 4370 – 4649
The weather was amazing, so after getting the tour of Bill’s apartment we headed out walking to see Bellevue, the neighborhood Bill lives in. Bellevue is on the Puget Sound so we started with a quick walk to see the ‘west coast’ and touch the waters. Bellevue is very nice and reminded me a lot of the new developments near our home in Arlington, VA. There are a plethora of restaurants to choose from. For dinner we went to Facing East, a very popular local Taiwanese restaurant. Bill had been there more than a few times and ordered some great dishes for the entire table including pork belly appetizers, salt and pepper shrimp (ate with the shell on!), and short ribs. After eating we decided to walk around Bellevue a bit more because we were so excited to have nice weather again.
The next morning Bill gave us the royal treatment as we saw Seattle starting with Pike Place Market. The market was very crowded and Bill told us that even with the tourists many locals use the market daily. Our first stop was Post Alley to see the ‘gum wall‘. Urban legend says that the wall began when a theater in the alley asked patrons not to bring their gym into the theater. From there we saw the famous fish market with several fish being thrown between the mongers. We also walked past the first Starbucks. Before leaving the area we walked to the pier for a nice view.
By the time we left Pike’s we had built-up an appetite so Bill took us to Paseo. Paseo is very famous with the locals and even held the title of #2 ranked restaurant on Yelp (not just ranked in Seattle, but #2 nationwide). We had some great and very messy Caribbean Roast Pork Sandwiches. Besides having a great meal, we sat at the table next to Aziz Ansari!! I think that was the first celebrity sighting I’ve had (however Jon had once seen Tom Cruise touring NASA). Proof it was Aziz Ansari can be found on his twitter shortly after my tweet about seeing him.
Paseo is in Fremont, so we walked from Paseo to the Fremont Street Troll. The troll is large troll statue under a bridge and has been in several movies including 10 Things I Hate About You. We walked through the rest of Fremont and ended up at the Theo Chocolate Factory. We spent some time in the chocolate store tasting samples until we each bought a bar of our favorite; plain dark for Jon, fig and fennel for Bill, and I got candied ginger.
We also went to the Ballard Locks. We watched a few boats travel through the locks, but enjoyed the ‘fish ladder’ even more. We were lucky to be there at a season when a lot of fish travel up the ladder to mate.
Our next stop was to a Kerry Park, a small park with a great view of the city. The view is so good it is used in the opening shots of Grey’s Anatomy.
Our last stop of the day was to Seattle Center. Seattle Center was home to the 1962 World’s Fair and is where the space needle is. Today Seattle Center also has an interactive fountain, Chihuly Glass Exhibit, and the Experience Museum Project. While we didn’t pay admission to any of those, we did go into the gift shops in each building so we could see the architecture and some of the exhibits.
Exhausted we made it back to Bellevue and rested until we got hungry again. For dinner we walked to Garlic Crush. After dinner Jon and I met our other friends Yun and Jim for some drinks as we continued to enjoy the nice weather sitting outside. We ended up staying out until after midnight because we were having such a nice reunion. This was the latest we stayed out all trip.
Sunday was a day of tours. Once again Bill was an amazing tour guide. The morning started when we decided to take the Boeing Factory Tour. We bought tickets online for the 12:00 tour but decided we should stop for lunch on the way. Bill took us to Ezelle’s which is a local chain of fried chicken restaurant. We got our food to go and ate on a bench near the Boeing Factory.
The factory tour is almost 1½ hours long and takes you to the hangers where Boeing 747’s, 777’s, and 787’s (Dreamliners) are made. The building where the planes are made is the Guinness World Record Largest Building by volume and has been known to have clouds form in the building. Learning about the new Dreamliner was very interesting and it sounds to be a new big step in aviation innovation including carbonfiber materials, computerized windows, and new technologies to keep the plane pressured and humid. As a bonus, a Boeing employee who was showing his family the plant was in our tour group and talked a bit about working on the Dreamliners.
After Boeing we decided to do one more tour, the Seattle Underground tour. The Seattle Underground tour was really enjoyable with a very outgoing tour-guide who had a very humorous tour script. The Seattle Underground tour highlights the early history of Seattle including city planning problems (sewage) which plagued the city when it was built at sea level. After a fire destroyed the early city, Seattle was rebuilt with the intention of raising the streets one story (effectively turning all of the existing building’s first floors into basements). The tour walks you through tunnels created during the raising of the city.
Before leaving the city we took a quick trip to the Birthplace of UPS and a nice city waterfall park created at that location.
Before ending our city tour we went to one last spot for a view of the city.
With so many great things to do, we couldn’t fit it all in. Plus, we were a bit exhausted on hiking so we didn’t take advantage of Seattle’s many outdoor hikes and water sports.
- Din Tai Fung – Best dumplings even including a soup dumpling which Jon and I were lucky enough to have in Taiwan. (You can read about it on our earlier blog here). We decided to try new places although we really wanted to go here too.
- Mediterranean Kitchen – Another of Bill’s recommendations. They only reason we didn’t go here was so we didn’t have to wait.
- Snoqualmie Falls – A very popular hike to a waterfall outside of Seattle. Alexis was lucky enough to see this back in 2007.
- Gas Works Park – A popular park Bill had heard about but none of us have had the pleasure of going to.