I love going to new places. I love the unique local flavor of regions, and discovering the little details you can never get from seeing them on TV. I love how city streets feel different everywhere and vegetation is specific to places. I love new smells and views of new bodies of water. I love to travel.
My recent trip to Seattle reinforced this passion. There were many wonderful moments and discoveries, but here were my favorites:
I have come to an understanding of the importance of local food somewhat late in my life. After all, in an era of jet travel, what does proximity to source matter? Turns out, it matters. Our first night, we had dinner at Elliot’s Oyster House right by the water. (I was lucky enough to be accompanied on this trip by some world-class foodies who had done their homework in picking restaurants). The back page of its menu was covered by about 30 varieties of oysters, all local. There I learned about the many ways oysters can be grown – bag to beach, intertidal, suspended – which affect their size and flavor. Sadly, I wasn’t able to try them all (I’ll be back, Elliot’s!), but what I did taste elevated my appreciation of the little (and not so little) suckers immensely. I had some oysters Rockefeller that were a revelation.
At the risk of making it sound that all we did in Seattle was eat, I have to give a shout-out to this funky eatery. We entered by its unassuming door (a delicate peachy pink) and descended into its eclectic, jam-packed, by-reservation-only dining area, complete with trapeze gear demurely secured from the ceiling in one corner (apparently, they have trapeze artist performances occasionally. Alas, not while we were there). The food was great but the ambiance was even cooler.
The time of sunset
Seattle is a full 7 degrees further north than my home state of New Jersey. That means that it gets dark later in the summer. Noticeably later. Like about a half an hour later. I don’t know why this simple fact, a result of the tilt of the Earth, (which I learned about in grammar school), felt like such a revelation, but it did. It felt decadent to be sitting at the hotel bar on the 28th floor, overlooking the Seattle skyline and, beyond, Puget Sound, and watching a languorous sunset well into the night, with rose and orange tinging the sky until almost ten o’clock. I did a quick Google, and that same night Anchorage’s sunset was 11:18. Now that is something I have to see!
The buildings around the Space Needle
The Space Needle was cool (obligatory tourist photo below). But the Experience Music Project Museum next door! Wow! With its iridescent skin catching the hues of the sky and its undulating construction reminding me of some of my favorite Gaudi buildings in Barcelona, it was one of coolest things to look at. (The needle is reflected on it in the photo below).
Post Alley by Pike Place Market
I like quirky spaces with personality.
I like a place that can only be itself. (It’s one of the reasons I hate the mall: with its generic stores and bland spaces, any mall anywhere in the US could be picked up and dropped a thousand miles away and no one would know the difference). Not so the fabulously unique Post Alley, with its narrow, almost European layout, and collection of little shops and restaurants. As we made our way through it to The Pink Door at one point we had to go on a one-block detour because a restaurant had closed the alley for a Bastille Day celebration. A block away, street musicians were playing folksy rockabilly. We found two seats randomly screwed into the wall, an impromptu spot to take a load off, complete with commemorative plaque. My kind of place.
i am happy to be back, safe and cozy in my own special corner of the world. But I’m so happy my life now includes memories of wonderful Seattle.