Seattle Great Wheel, Seagull, and Moon

Seattle Trip

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Our 2019 travels got off to a good start with a trip to Seattle. Once again, Holly had a conference to attend, and I tagged along. One of the benefits of going to Seattle is that most of Holly’s family is on the west coast so we got to see some of them while we were there.

For this trip, I brought my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a EF 24-105mm f/4L lens. The 24-105mm lens is a great general purpose lens. I enjoyed using the Canon with my
 EF 50mm f/1.8 lens during out last trip to Washington DC but wanted a little more flexibility this time around. I used the Canon most of the time (except where noted) but used the camera on my Samsung S9+ for all the food and drink photos.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a EF 24-105mm f/4L lens
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a EF 24-105mm f/4L lens

Thanks to Holly’s brother’s girlfriend who works for Alaska Airlines, we learned of a relatively inexpensive direct flight. During January, most of the places where we could have connected (e.g. Chicago or Denver) are susceptible to winter weather so we were glad we did not have to stop anywhere. That’s not to say the flight wasn’t without any stress as we left while the government shutdown was still in full effect. It’s hard to believe we now live in a country where Holly and I felt compelled to buy gift cards to donate to the federal employees working at the airport but yet we do.

We had no issues getting through security. The TSA agents were friendly and professional. I cannot imagine working without knowing when I might get paid.

A friend of ours who lives in Philly but who once lived in Seattle was on the same flight as we were so we met up with her at Vino Volo in the airport. Whenever time allows, we enjoy getting wine and sometimes snacks at Vino Volo.

Pre-flight Wine at Vino Volo
Pre-flight Wine at Vino Volo

We arrived in Seattle a little after 8 and took the light rail with our friend to our hotels. She had good advice as to which stop to get off at since Google maps recommended one at the bottom of a steep hill. She said the next stop was just as far but on more level ground. I remembered from our last trip there in 2013 that Seattle was hillier than I first expected so we were glad for the advice especially since we had our luggage with us.

By the time we got settled, it was after 9. Holly and I needed to unwind after the long trip so we wandered to our hotel bar for post-flight Martinis. Holly’s middle brother, who works in Seattle, joined us briefly on his way home.

We stayed at the Crowne Plaza downtown and were on the 30th floor so had a nice view of the city.

The next day, Holly and I met up with her mom, her mom’s husband, and her two brothers for a delicious brunch at Lola.

After brunch, Holly needed to get to the conference, and I hung out with her family who had plans to go to the movies. At first, I thought it was odd that they would want to spend a couple of hours at a movie after traveling to see each other, but Holly’s mom and her husband live in a small town in Alaska with limited options so getting to a movie is a special treat. As a big movie fan, I can totally appreciate this.

We saw Bohemian Rhapsody which was better than I thought it would be. As with all biopics, it felt a bit uneven and a somewhat rushed as it worked through time trying to hit all the important moments. Nonetheless, I found the film moving and enjoyable. It’s hard to believe I am old enough that times I have lived through are now historical movies. Queen was never among my most favorite bands, but I certainly liked them and was familiar with a lot of their music. 

After the movie, we met up with Holly as she was done with her conference. We took a walk down to the waterfront. I didn’t have my Canon with me, but I was able to get some decent shots of the sunset with my phone. As they say, your best camera is the one you have with you.

The next day, Saturday, I returned to the waterfront with my Canon to take some photos of the bay, and I also took a walk through Pike Place Market.

After my photo walk, I went to the Seattle Art Museum. I went there the last time we were in Seattle and loved it. I enjoyed it this time as well. I have been reading Mary Gabriel’s Ninth Street Women so was particularly thrilled at seeing Joan Mitchell’s The Sink. I was also quite taken with the Walkabout: the Art of Dorothy Napangardi exhibit. Middle Fork by John Grade was an impressive installation. 

Later in the day, I had a little time before meeting Holly for dinner. I decided to check out Pioneer Square. I didn’t bring my camera since I had plans to revisit the area later for a proper photo walk. As it turned out, I didn’t get that opportunity, but I did like the area and would like to linger more there the next time we’re in Seattle.

I stopped in Arundel Books and found a pulp version of Henry Miller’s A Devil in Paradise. It’s an amusing presentation for anyone familiar with the book who can recognize the disconnect between the cover and the content of the book. After my discovery, I stopped in Bad Bishop Bar for a couple of local beers.

Pulp Version of Henry Miller's A Devil in Paradise and a Beer
Pulp Version of Henry Miller’s A Devil in Paradise and a Beer

On Sunday, I took a walk to the Chinatown-International District. My destination was the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. I had my Canon with me and, although it was a gray day, I was able to get a few decent pictures on my walk there.

The Wing Luke Museum was fascinating. Because it had been a busy couple of days, I was tempted to just hang out in our hotel room that morning, but I was glad I convinced myself to head out to the museum.

Part of the museum is a preserved store and boarding house. I arrived just in time to get a tour which I was thankful for. In addition to the historic tour, they also had a Bruce Lee exhibit and a Science Fiction exhibit.

Although I did not attend the library conference that Holly was attending, I was able to meet up with a couple of old library friends. After the Wing Luke Museum, I spent the afternoon with a good friend of mind that I’ve now know for about a dozen years. I had seen her last March when she was in Philadelphia for a conference. Although that wasn’t all that long ago, I was glad to have the opportunity to spend time with her. We had lunch at Purple Cafe and Wine Bar followed by a couple of Martinis at Juno Restaurant. 


For dinner, we met up with one of Holly’s cousins who lives in Seattle. We went to The Walrus and the Carpenter. It was great seeing her cousin again, although the restaurant was crowded and loud, and we had trouble hearing each other. Or, at least, I had trouble hearing anyone. The food was delicious. I tried raw oysters for the first time and lived to tell the tale. As much as I enjoy eating (and try to be open to  knew experiences), I am a bit squeamish about eating raw meat and seafood so this was a big step. I liked the oysters but wasn’t wowed. I’m not sure I would go out of my way to get them again, but I enjoyed them enough that I would partake if I was with other people who wanted them.

Monday was our final full day in Seattle. I went out for another photo walk while Holly attended the conference.

I met up with Holly and one of her brothers for lunch. Holly suggested going to El Borracho near Pike Place where she had had lunch the day before. We had quite a few fancy and pricey meals so it was nice to just have some inexpensive (and delicious) tacos. 

Tacos at El Borracho
Tacos at El Borracho

After lunch, Holly needed to get back to the conference. Her brother and I walked to Pioneer Square on a mission to get sandwiches for Holly and me from Salumi for the flight home the next morning. We were successful in getting the sandwiches but were hoping to go to the observatory and bar at the top of the Smith Tower, but, unfortunately, it was closed that day. 

For dinner, we met an old friend of Holly’s and another good friend of ours from the library world. We went to No Anchor (since then has become Trade Winds Tavern) which was fantastic, but we didn’t take any pictures since we were catching up and having too much fun and plenty of beer. We hadn’t planned on staying out late since we had an early flight the next day, but we were enjoying ourselves way too much to cut it short. We stayed at No Anchor for nearly five hours and got back to our hotel around midnight. We had to get up at 4:00 in the morning for the long journey home.

I’ve been to Seattle twice now and enjoyed it both times. I doubt any library conference will bring us back there anytime soon, but it is a good location for getting together with some of Holly’s family. It would be nice to go there sometime only for a family visit so Holly can enjoy it more.

We had a few busy months of traveling (Montreal in November, Washington DC in December, and Seattle in January). We’re staying put for a while. Holly and I both have work conferences in April, mine in Cleveland and hers in Chicago. We are also working on plans for getting back to California for vacation in June so there is some travel on the horizon.

You can see all my Seattle photos in my Flickr album.

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