Sunday, August 19, 2012


Today is Sunday, August 19, 2012...

We've been in Seattle since Monday afternoon.  We got to our address at around 1:30 and needed to wait an hour to get in because they were still cleaning up from the last renters.  To kill time, we went down to Aiki Beach area nearby and ordered a take-out sandwich from a little beach grill.  The area was nice, shady, and we had no trouble finding a place to enjoy our picnic.

This is our little home here, West Seattle Vacation Cottage.  I will take some pictures of my own before we leave it tomorrow (and when we have all of our JUNK removed).  The only odd thing about this rental is that there is no TV service.  We have a TV and a Wii unit so we have Netflix.  The only thing we miss in this setup is the nightly news.  We can stream NPR...just miss Brian Williams.  ;-)  The garage apartment/cottage has plenty of skylights and is well ventilated.  We've had two really hot days here (by Seattle standards) and with the aid of fans have made it through without air conditioning.  It's been nice.

Once we got in on Monday we walked around the neighborhood and...OK, I'm totally sipping the Kool-Aid here...I love this area!  West Seattle itself has such neat houses with lots of flowers and plants, often cascading down a rock wall area.  Seems like a very "hip" area with lots of 30-somethings and lots of kids (4-yr-old somethings).  You can tell the older homes are being bought up and renovated (or replaced completely) in this area.

We access our cottage from the alley.  At the short end of the alley is the bus stop to downtown.  Walk up Admiral Way a few blocks and there's a Safeway grocery, a Metropolitan Market (like a Fresh Market only larger), a movie theater, and all kinds of restaurants and shops.  For supper the first night we got ready-made food from the Metropolitan.

Tuesday, our first full day in seattle, we started out with a bus trip downtown and a visit to Pike Place Market.

How I managed to catch two smokers in this area is amazing.  I haven't seen much of this here.  They must be visiting from the East.  

The Market is everything it's cracked up to be.  For the first day out we just did a walk through, which took a while anyway.  Then we walked around downtown area some and ended up at the Pike Street Fish Fry up in the Capitol Hill area.  Score 2 for good fish and chips on this trip.  We had the cod and had more than we could eat.

That afternoon we loaded up our dirty clothes (first washing since we left on Aug. 3!) and headed to a local coin laundry.  Snacked on cheeses and veggies for supper.

Wednesday we hit our next stops on the list of "must sees"....Gig Harbor and the Olympic Peninsula.  We left by car around 9AM and stopped in Gig Harbor first.  Historic downtown area, lots of boats, lots of dogs and dog do-dad shops.  I had Lucy on the leash and forgot my camera for the walk-around, but I love the software-altered photo of Gig Harbor by Jim Nelson....

From Gig Harbor we made our way over to the main part of the Olympic Peninsula, stopping in Port Angeles to check out Olympia National Park and get a take out lunch.  We decided, since it was already noon by the time we got there, that we'd rather hit the coastal area of the peninsula rather than do a "little something" in the park, which is mainly on the interior part of the peninsula.

With that in mind, we headed out towards Dungeness and Sequim, and had a good time doing that route.  We stopped at a park near Dungeness and had our lunch...then rode along the coast looking at the views and the homes along the way.  This was lavender country, so we got to see lots of lavender fields, too.  At one point we stopped at a park that had a beach.  The sand was really dark, and the stones on the beach were really different.  I've collected some for my "stone collection."  Some views from that part of the day...

Beach along the coast near Dungeness
Dungeness vacation cottages by the water

Thursday we were going to relax a bit more.  Yeah, I know we're "on vacation," but we were feeling a lot like we'd been goin' at it every day for a while.  While Wayne drove up to visit Fisheries Supply, I went back downtown by bus to check out the Seattle Public Library and SHOP the Pike Place Market.

First stop, the library.  I found it with no problem (it's a Seattle landmark) and had just walked in the front door when the fire alarm went off.  "Everybody out!"  Surely it was a fire drill?  No.  Fire engines began arriving and moving the gathered pedestrians over away from the door.  I waited a while, but decided not to waste too much time here since Pike Place was waiting.  I decided to come back on the weekend...if it was still standing.

Library exterior
You can see the first of several fire trucks on the right curb.  Disgruntled adult patrons and thrilled little ones standing around...Me, retreating to Pike Place.

Off to Pike Place Market!  First place I spied was the Art Stall Gallery, a co-op gallery for 13 "professional women artists" since 1965.  (Aside:  a friend and I have just decided we can introduce ourselves as "artists."  Now we have to decide, I see, when we will say, "professional artists.")  I spoke for a while with the artist on duty, then looked around and selected a small original piece and some postcards.  I spent the rest of the morning walking around and snapping pictures.  Here are a couple...

Took me forever to figure out which one of these belt buckles to get for Wayne! ;-)

Pike Place Market area

When I got back to the cottage Wayne and I walked to Maharaja, an Indian restaurant with a good looking buffet for lunch.   (The name of the place gives away the fact that it is Eastern Indian.  I feel sure there's a Western Indian buffet somewhere in these parts.)  Then we picked up Lucy and set out to walk down to Aiki Beach by one of the West Seattle walking trails.  Mistake #1:  This was one of the hottest days of the year for Seattle, low 90's.  Mistake #2: taking Lucy.  Wayne warned me, but I thought she would do it.  Two out of three of our schnauzers have been prissy walkers and Lucy is one.  They'll walk just so far....then stop, even lay down to prove the point.  

We'd gone about 1/4 mile when the "trail" switched from pavement to "trail."  We could see on the map where it was supposed to be...but we could not find the opening.  Oh, well, we'll just take the roads.  They were all headed down hill and we could see the water from our hilltop view.  Another 1/4 mile down, Lucy gave up on us.  So then we carried her during the sunny patches and put her down to walk for the few shady patches we passed through.

When we finally reached the was, in a word, HOT!  The beach was busy with people and there was not much of a cool breeze that afternoon.  No shady places to sit like we'd found on our first day here...and no dogs allowed on the beach.  Lucy was fine with that.  After a short walk around the sidewalk areas I volunteered to walk back to the car while Lucy and Wayne perched on a shady stair leading up to someone's house.  On the way back up I spotted the bottom of the piece of trail we were to have taken.  It was so overgrown that I wouldn't walk back up in it, despite it's shady lure.

Lucy was thrilled to see the car, as was Wayne.  We took Lucy back to the cottage and drove to the waterside park we'd visited the first day here.  A little walking and we found a nice cafe with front open to the street and water.  We got a table near the front and spent the next hour sipping adult beverages and enjoying the shade, the cool, and the scene.

Aiki Beach

No shade to be seen

Much better!
That evening we ordered delivery pizza from Pagliacci Pizza.  Yum!

Friday we left the cottage at 8:30AM and made our way up I-5 to Anacortes and the ferry that would take us to the San Juan Islands.  In particular, we were going to Friday Harbor on the island of San Juan.

We stopped at a grocery in Anacortes for picnic food and then found a parking space close to the ferry facility.  The weather was beautiful...and one of those days when the sun was really warm, but the shade could be almost too cool.  There were lots of walk-ons for the ferry, but plenty of room for everyone to have the view and seat they wanted.  We tried several spots before settling in at the front of the ferry, behind glass.  It was a lovely cruise and we could see why this is such a big cruising area for Northwestern boaters:  cozy harbors, shady islands, pleasant water.

Friday Harbor was picturesque.  Boats and people were everywhere.  It had the feel of a port of call for a cruise ship!  We found a nice bench with a view and had our picnic...then walked the docks checking out vessels.

Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

Seafood market by the docks

On our walk around the docks we saw the cutest seal!  One of the locals identified him as "Popeye."

The ferry ride back was pleasant and relaxing.  (Sounds like a caption for the above photo of Popeye.) We got back to Anacortes at 4:50PM and drove back to Seattle to arrive around 7:15PM.

As we were leaving Friday Harbor on the Ferry 

Saturday we wanted more of downtown Seattle.  We took the bus down to the international section of downtown and had lunch at a little Thai restaurant called Thai Curry Simple.  (Bob, the kid on their home page looks like Charlie.)  It was a great choice.  Which brings up our source for finding this and the Pike Street Fish Fry.  One of Seattle's local publications, Seattle Met, had a feature in the July 2012 issue titled "Cheap Eats and Beer: 127 Amazing Meal Deals and 93 Mighty Microbrews."  So far, the suggestions have been "right on!"  We do love a good deal.  

We wanted some t-shirts for our boys, so we walked from the international district to Pike Place Market.  Most of the walk was along 1st Avenue and it was bustling with people enjoying a Saturday morning and tons of people walking to the CenturyLink Field for a Seattle Sounders match.  

T-shirts in bag, we walked up to the public library for a visit inside.  It really is a beautiful library...and seems very user friendly.  Everyone I talked to there had a pleasant attitude.  ;-)  We went up to the highest viewpoint inside and I got these shots from there.

View of the library atrium from above
View from inside the library out

A couple of other shots from Saturday's walk around downtown....

We've spent some time at Seattle bus stops

Seattle:  something for everyone

Today's our last day here.  We leave tomorrow morning for a scenic drive down to Seaside, OR, and four days by the beach.  Not sure what we'll do today...maybe a city tour just to wrap things up.  There's a lot we've seen...and a lot more we haven't seen.  We didn't do Victoria on this trip, in spite of the fact that it was highly recommended by everyone we talked to about this region.  We're eyeing a couple of other trips that could afford us an opportunity to visit Victoria in the future.  All in all, we've had a very good visit to the Seattle area.  

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