Sunday, August 7, 2011

Seattle - 2nd Day - Part 1

Wake up to realize -- It is my birthday -- now I am one who likes birthdays, heck I am alive another year!  Bernie is always the first to wish me a happy birthday and there is no one else I would rather spend the day with.

The hotel offers a buffet breakfast, and for Priority Club Members you get $4 off so for $11.95 it is a no brainer and we are not disappointed.  Then we are off to get our coffees at a local Starbucks, now which one should we choose there are SOOOOO many.  We walk down towards Pike Place Market and take a few pics.

at the original Starbucks! 

this is the place where they toss the fish

love the neon

it is all over the market

lower level of the market

Today we booked an excursion with Immersus Tours which is a walking tour of the neighbourhoods of Seattle. We are meeting Antonio (the guide) at 10:30 at the Hard Rock Cafe right near Pike Place Market. Here is a link to his website

Antonio met up with us at the designated time and introduced himself, he is originally from Peru and when he travels he really likes to get to know the locals by visiting the neighbourhoods, so he has created a tour in Seattle that does just that.  We jump on a bus that is heading north towards Green Lake where we get off and walk around part of the lake.

some beautiful gardens we passed on are walk

we stop at a local organic gluten free donut shop, they were very good and the raspberry lemonade was very refreshing
Our tour group consists of us, a couple from Connecticut, another couple from Wisconsin and four women - one local and the other three from Washington DC.  Antonio makes sure we are all taken care of and that we all can hear.  It feels like a nice walk with friends.

After the lake and the donut shop we catch another bus to another neighbourhood (sorry can't remember the name) where we visit an old school building that has been converted into a community centre and shopping area.  We continue and visit a local eccentric bakery with well interesting cakes where we pick up something for our South American cruise.  We are also offered the chance to eat at a local burger joint "Dicks" were burgers are only $1.40 it is an old drive in type spot but now only has window service.  Or we can eat at a local taco van.  We aren't hungry so we pass but the burgers sure looked good.

the school now a mall

interesting cakes, almost life like

check out the old sign for Dicks
We catch another bus that takes us to the Fremont area where we walk to the gas works park and check out the view, beautiful.  We are now walking to a local brewery.  This guy was a lawyer and made his own beer and a few years ago decided to open his own brewery.  We are offered free samples of two of the beers and all I can say very yummy and refreshing during a hot day.  The brewery is called Fremont Brewery 

our tour group

beautiful view of the city

LOOK at the .....

this is the houseboat that Sleepless in Seattle was filmed at the light blue building on the left

at Fremont Brewery getting samples

Jasper gets in on the action

We head out and start walking towards the bridge and to check out the artsy neighbourhood.  I really like this neighbourhood and could see myself living here.  Check out the giant troll that lives under the Aurora bridge!  A short walk to Theo's Chocolates that makes organic fair trade chocolates, and to die for, we buy some to take home.  Below are some shots around the community.

the giant toll under the Aurora bridge, there is an actual VW bug that the troll has in his hands

actually looks like this junk might be good as it is described as "deluxe"

16ft statue of Lenin

Jasper buys some chocolate

Jasper gets into the action
We catch a bus to head back into town.  Bernie and I want to go to Top Pot Donuts, it was featured in the Food Networks Race when they were in Seattle and had to try their donuts.  Wow two donuts in one day, it is so rare for us to ever eat donuts and two in one day!  Here is a link to Top Pot's website 

After the donuts and a cold drink we decide to walk back to the hotel via the waterfront, I know more walking but we are leaving tomorrow and I really want to see the waterfront too.  It is Seafair weekend and there is a navel ship in port.  Here is a shot and a few others:

I hear it is really good here, didn't make it there this time, maybe next

We are back at the hotel and a quick nap is in order.  Bernie has arranged a dinner reservation through the concierge for 6:45 and while we get ready we munch on the fruit delivered to the room for my birthday and some of the chocolate from Theos.  A bottle of wine would be good but we didn't get around to picking one up.

Next blog will be all about our fabulous dinner and trip home.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Seattle August 2011 Weekend Away

Bernie asked me a bit ago what I wanted to do for my birthday, and since it falls in the summer we rarely if ever go away for it.  This time I said I wanted to go to Seattle for our weekend.  Bernie booked the Crown Plaza Seattle Downtown which is located at 6th and Senaca.  We booked the hotel thru Priceline and got it for a rate of $115 a night.  We finally arrived after a longer than normal drive because of the long waits at the border and the busy traffic in Seattle. 

The hotel does have parking, valet parking at a rate of $32 a night plus taxes comes in at just under $40, pricey but not uncommon for downtown parking. 

We checked in and Dylan at the front desk helped us, I always ask for a room that does not have an adjoining door and asked for a king bed.  While he check we talked about why we were visiting and when I told him my birthday he upgraded us to a higher room that was bigger, he did call it a suite, and it was bigger and had a great view but not really what I would call a suite.  We were in room 2758 here are some pictures of the room and the view.

the bed was so comfortable
the view from our hotel

The room was just the right size.  Had everything we needed.  There even was a little welcome packet on the bed with linen mist, ear plugs and eye mask (which was empty, but that is okay didn't need it).

Hotel is a great location very close to the I5, walking distance to everything.  The staff here have been amazing, every single worker said hi and have a good day, no matter who they were.  Valet, bell hop, concierge, restaurant staff, maid, everyone.  Would not hesitate to stay here again.  Dylan and the concierge went over and above.  In fact Dylan surprised me with a lovely fruit tray on my birthday and a handmade card signed by him and Connie the front desk staff.  Now how many hotels can you say would do that!  Thank you!

the view, the bay
this is the fruit tray that the front desk sent up for my birthday

After relaxing for maybe half an hour we started to get ready for meeting up with Jan and Michael who are from Seattle and who we met on the Island thru the Panama Canal last fall.  We met up with them at a great Mexican Restaurant.  We chatted for hours and laughed even more.  We are sailing again with Jan and Michael,they will be getting on our second leg of the South American Cruise (they board in Valpariso).  But before then we both have a few trips planned and it was fun to discuss what is coming up.


Jan and Michael
We walked back to the hotel and couldn't resist stopping to hear this band on the street.  They are from Denmark and they are travelling around the world and playing music for tips to pay for the trip and looking for accommodations on anyone's couch too.  They were so good and loved what they were doing, oh to be young.


Walking back to the hotel had to take a shot of the neon sign, very impressed on how many have survived.  

We crawled into bed and we were out like within five minutes, so tired after a long day but so excited about tomorrow.