For reasons that I don't understand, I've always had the desire to visit Seattle. It's one of those places that just rolls off the tip of your tongue so nicely and sounds like a great place to go. Say it with me… Seattle. The fact that it is the home of Starbucks probably helps its case.
I'd been to the rainy city before, but at the time I was about 5 years old and wouldn't have known the difference between it and the town that I lived in. 20 years later, I was going to see the Seattle through new, grownup eyes.
Ryan and I showered and got ready for our day. Our first stop was Starbucks, as it seemed quite fitting and I'm admittedly a bit of an addict. Caffeinated, we were on our way! Somehow, I ended up being the one forced to drive. I sat white knuckled on the gridlocked interstate, wondering how people had the patience to spend so much of their lives sitting in traffic. I probably won't do well with moving to Calgary, but its nothing in comparison to some of the cities we've been to. As we entered city limits the skyline stood proudly, the Space Needle posing for our photos. I won the battle with traffic and made it safely and not too stressfully to our destination.
Car parked, we headed to the famous Pike Place Market. We knew that it would be busy. We were well aware that coming on a Saturday afternoon was recipe for disaster. We'd taken it all into consideration, but we were still shocked at the mass crowds of people filing through the market.
We forced our way through in an attempt to find food to satisfy our raging appetites. The line for the seafood stall was long, so as I waited Ryan went to a bakery to purchase an almond bear-claw croissant. Mmm, delicious. Once we'd made it to the front of the line we ordered a seafood chowder and a shrimp cocktail. The man working the till messed up our order and gave us a more expensive crab cocktail instead. He'd charged us more money, but we accepted this given the fact that he gave us too much change as well.
We stood eating our food and enjoying the atmosphere of the market area. Once we were fed it was time to battle the crowds once again. Ryan led the way as we weaved in and out of groups of slow walking people. It was a bit too chaotic to do much random browsing, but we made our way through the market and back out to the street. We found a small grocery store selling all sorts of unique items and made a few purchases. Some Tillamook cheese (since Ryan's mom had raved about Tillamook, Oregon), chocolate coated bacon (we've yet to try it, I'll let you know how it goes…) and my personal favourite purchase; chocolate chip cookie dough. Like rebellious children away from the supervision of our parents, we sat at a table eating cookie dough by the spoonful. Don't worry, the package clearly stated that it was safe to eat raw. Life was wonderful.
Using the little bit of willpower that we possess, we closed the lid of the cookie dough before we began to feel ill, continuing on with our Seattle exploring. Down the road we spotted a cafe that advertised "Any Beer, Any Time - $4". Ryan decided to take them up on this offer, ordering a bottle of Moose Drool while I sipped an iced chai latte.
We continued our wandering until we came across an old fashioned barber shop. With my encouragement, Ryan decided to be adventurous and go in for a new look. The barber meticulously gave him a much shorter hairstyle followed by an old fashioned shave. I watched and took photos as my scruffy fuzzy haired fiance was given a much more clean cut look. With a smooth face and tame hair, he looked almost too young to be out with me.
Next up for the day was dinner. I know what you are all thinking… do our entire lives revolve around food?! Well, to put it simply… yes. Yes they do.
We'd found a restaurant advertising super cheap appetizers with the purchase of a drink. I ordered a cherry slushy and Ryan tried another local beer to go along with our buttermilk calamari and lemon butter salmon skewers. It was enough to make a meal, and at less than $20 for food and drinks it was a bargain.
As we left the restaurant the market was closing. We quickly purchased candied salmon (amazing) and cinnamon roasted almonds for an edible souvenir of Pike Place Market. We wandered the streets, passing by a wall covered in thousands of pieces of chewing gum. Other tourists took photos and stuck their gum to the wall to contribute. It was a strange and kind of yucky attraction, but we couldn't resist taking a few of our own photos. Ryan suggested that I stick one of my cards on the wall in an attempt to gain a few more blog followers, but I chose to keep my distance instead.
After checking on our car to ensure that nobody had broken in while we were gone, it was time for the highlight of my day… Starbucks! Earlier in the day the line had stretched out into the street, forcing me to make the decision to carry on walking. It had died down now that the market was closed. Ryan and I stepped inside the very first Starbucks which sported the original logo and lacked the modern decor of the other cafes.
I bought a travel mug as a souvenir, and we took our coffees down the street to another Starbucks that actually had seating. We sat there overlooking the much photographed Pike Place Market sign as we drank our coffee and took advantage of the free wifi.
The sun was setting over the city as we returning to our car to begin the journey back to our campsite. We opted out of visiting the Space Needle as it was far out of the way and we were running short of time to make it back before the park gates closed for the evening. It had been a great day full of food and coffee. Seattle was great, just as I'd always anticipated it would be!