It's Spring Break here in Victoria, and we just returned from a brief trip to Seattle.
First time to Seattle. First time, in fact, to the USA, even though it's just across the water and is visible from our living room window.
We packed a lot into just two days (plus traveling on either end), including Pike Place market, the Aquarium, and the Science Center. We had to be choosy, missing out many more major attractions. Maybe a future trip?
We are used to living on European time when we're on vacation, often not eating until 8pm. That works when we're doing our own catering, but not so much when so many places seem to close early. North American cities seem to go to sleep just when Europeans are starting to do business. In this instance, though, it turned out for the best because in our slightly extended meandering we stumbled on a wonderful Mexican restaurant only recently opened and not yet featuring on web sites.
The other persistent impression was the lack of traffic. I couldn't believe how empty the streets were for such a large city, even on a normal work day.
Visiting the Space Needle. A must-do for visitors - it's such an iconic Seattle landmark as well as offering stunning views.
The Museum of Flight. We made a day of it and spent five hours there. Could easily have spent as long again, except we were tired and footsore after so long on our feet already.
Unexpected treasures. On trips like this, as in writing, I like a bit of structure but not so much as to be constrained and regimented. This gave us freedom to take a few unplanned diversions as the fancy took us. One such gem was the Seattle public library - a huge building with a viewing gallery on the tenth floor giving vistas both outside and down the vast atrium. It warms my heart to see people still investing in the art of writing.
I reckon the architect had a grudge against window cleaners though...
For the kids, I think a major highlight was simply staying in a hotel. This is their first time since we moved to Canada, and they were too young then to remember anything about previous times.
It was good for the adults, too, not to have any cooking or cleaning for a few days, and to be able to unwind in the hotel bar with a beer, surrounded by good places to eat within easy walking distance.
After our first taste of this nearby city across the border, we are hoping to return in future.