Seattle & Vancouver

Had our first visits to Seattle and Vancouver (Canada) the last few days. Sara & Lucy were up that way so it was our turn to fly up and visit so they didn’t need to detour through San Francisco. The trip will be memorable for seeing them but also for the heat wave. Yikes! Warnings on weather sites about ‘excessive heat’ – not my kind of weather. Seattle was sticky and disgusting and mid to high 30′s – we had clothes and shoes for mid-high 20′s. Blisters!

Seattle was a pretty nice town, a lot like Portland really. I was quite intrigued by the volcanic cones we saw out the window in the last 20 minutes or so of the flight. The city is leafy, has lots of good coffee (more on that later) and quite a compact downtown area – rising up from the pretty harbor. Obviously a huge draw card for visiting, besides the coffee, was the Space Needle painted in orange (officially ‘harvest gold’) for its birthday so a visit to see that was a priority. Although I was quite disappointed to discover that when you got up close and rode up it, you couldn’t see the orange! Only from afar. A company we’ve got to know through work (Avalara) has their headquarters at Bainbridge Island, just off Seattle and a friend from their California office was in town that week so he showed us around – good coffee, Space Needle, Chihuly glass garden, ferry to Bainbridge Island, more coffee, tour of their very ORANGE offices and dinner on the island. A great day … well … except for the heat. Sorry to harp on about it but you could tell the city was largely unprepared for the heat, like San Francisco: cafes and restaurants didn’t have air conditioning, so they’d all run out to the Home Depot or Target stores and got portable fans that cluttered surfaces and door ways!

Our next day and a bit in Seattle we visited more coffee shops, found a knitting shop, had lunch with a friend, met Sara and Lucy then set off on our road trip with them to Vancouver – had to drive across the border!

Volcanic cones near Portland

Volcanic cones between Portland & Seattle

Space Needle

Space Needle! Where’s the orange?

Space Needle

And I thought it always rained in Seattle?

Space Needle

Chihuly garden & glass

Orange glass in the Chihuly Glass Garden

Ferry to Bainbridge Island

Ferry to Bainbridge Island

On the ferry to Bainbridge Island

Orange Avalara offices

Lovely orange offices – Avalara

Orange Avalara offices

Even had orange toilet paper!

Pike Place Market

With Sara & Lucy in Seattle

Vancouver was less charming. No offense intended. And thankfully a little cooler but also at the tail end of the heat wave. It was a huge city and the bits around the harbor very pretty. Actually reminded me of Europe at times – driving through the warm countryside lanes (took a rather scenic route after we got through the border) and seeing the harbor with pine-clad hills rising sharply upwards almost straight out of the water. We had a great view from our hotel. We were in the historic part of town, quite a few tourists around and people bothering us for money and to go back to the ‘less charming’ comment, I think it was just a bigger city and when coffee (pfifff! not so much more on that later) and wi-fi turned out to be rather scarce, I got a little ratty. However we did some very cool things there.

Sara and Lucy took us up to the top of Grouse Mountain – in the gondola – for amazing views. We learned about the Grouse Grind which is a walk up the side of the mountain instead of taking the gondola which a lot of locals do as regular exercise – Mother Nature’s Stairmaster – all I know is they’re mad, and they all stink when you’re jammed into the gondola with them on the way down! We dined outside – beautiful balmy evenings and lovely food. My eyes rolled into the back of my head when warm bread and butter was brought to the table one night – bread that wasn’t sweet and butter that was yellow and salty. GOD it was good.

The Mister joined Sara and Lucy when they did the Grouse Grind on Monday morning! They’d done it before and told him stories of legs crumbling and butt cramps but he was up for it. They got Grouse Grind t-shirts with ‘Fast’ on the back of them and set off at 8am. While I went out for coffee and a croissant of course! The Mister survived and did it in 51 minutes which is very impressive – he’d read about it and was hoping to do about an hour and a quarter. What a star!

Vancouver waterfront

Pretty Vancouver waterfront

Vancouver waterfront

We spent a lot of time sitting on the waterfront watching the float planes

Grouse mountain

Gondola to Grouse Mountain

Grouse mountain

Grouse mountain

Grouse Mountain

Gastown

Gastown

Dining outdoors

Room with a view

Room with a view

Grouse Grind!

At the base of the Grouse Grind

All in all it was a nice few days away (except for the heat!) and SO so great to see Sara and Lucy again.

1 comment so far ↓

#1 NZLu on 08.23.12 at 3:44 pm

Less charming? Ouch!

Leave a Comment