Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Great Northwest: Days 3.5-7

Day 3.5: After the wedding we had enough time to go change and have a little down time, then met the Bride and Groom for the 'after party' at one of their favorite hang-outs, the Lucky Lab Brewery. We had a grand time seeing the strong San Luis Obispo contingent of the guests and catching up with the Bride and getting to know the Groom more. Sandwiches and pitchers of beer were consumed happily and a good time was had by all.

As for the rest of the trip, I guess we started having too much fun to take many more pictures....

Day 4: Started off meeting the bride and groom for brunch at Country Cat Cafe in Portland. We had a group of about 8 from the wedding including the Bride and Groom and had a wonderful morning re-capping the wedding, catching up, getting to know everyone, and having a great breakfast. We then ambled over together and checked out the local farmers market and drooled over the amazing bounty of fresh fruit and veggies, to-go bites, and odds and ends, as well as listened to some great live blue grass music.
We then headed up north the long way around, driving out to the coast and checking out Astoria for lunch. We then continued North towards Seattle on 101, winding in and out of the woods and sounds of Washington's coastal area. The drive was bliss, so much green I felt like it was soaking into my eyes and brain. I felt like if you fell asleep too long in the woods here, you would wake up with bits of moss, lichen, and ferns growing from in-between your toes and out of your ears, a funny thought. We made it into Seattle and on to family friends house on Medina to stay for the next few nights. I must say O&S were wonderful hosts. They welcomed us after the long day with a bowl of fresh washington peaches and ice cream, showed us to our room, and let us settle in. What a wonderful welcome O&S - Thank you

Day 5: We were up and out of the house with O&S in the morning and given a lovely walking tour of Medina and nearby Bellevue. We then headed back to the house and were treated to a great breakfast then sent on our way. We headed up to Woodinville, where Chris had spent his early childhood years. Chris took me by the 'little' Woodinville house and then over to his elementary school. School was closed but we were still able to access the grounds and took a walk through to see his kindergarden and first grade classrooms as well as the playgrounds. We found the United States Map that had been new when he was a kid and hopped around on the states we had lived in and visited before. We also drove to Grandma and Grandpa Hoffman's house and Chris told me some great memories of his grandparents. It is so important to re-visit these places that are history for us, it brought so many memories back for him - that alone was worth the whole trip.

After Woodinville we drove into Seattle and went to Pike Place Market to browse and eat lunch. Pike Place is like no other market I have ever seen. It was incredible. A riot of colors, sounds, and smells - from the flower vendors with their vibrant bouquets, to the craftsmen & women selling handmade jewelry, scarves, and home goods, to the fish stalls and food vendors. It was amazing, I wanted to stop at each stall, stare at and absorb each display, smell and taste everything (almost), and most of all people watch.
We ate lunch/dinner (linner?) at the Pike Brewing Company and enjoyed a great taste of the Pike Market cheeses, cured meats, sausages and homemade sauerkraut. Oh yeah, and the beer, the really good beer. We then took a great walk down by the sound, watched the ferries, got coffee and a cookie to split from Uptown Coffee, walked some more, discovered the Seattle Art Museum's public sculpture garden, watched the trains, took in the night view of the city from the convention center rooftop lookout, got good and rained on, and finally packed it up and head off to bed.

Day 6: We headed off to the University of Washington campus for a tour of the William Gates Hall, home to UW's School of Law. We were able to meet with admissions and discuss application processes, then wander the beautiful recently completed building. The Building's Law Library alone would make it worthwhile to go to school here with it multi-level expanse of books, open clutter free space, and study tables with views to downtown Seattle. It was impressive, and stunning, and stressful...
After our wandering, we set of to explore the campus. Chris's parents both attended UW, and it is where they met and fell in love, so we called them and got the scoop on finding the dorm Chris's Dad. stayed in as a student, and to find their old classrooms and meeting spots. We found the fountain that Chris's Dad bumped into another student and that students stack of painstakingly hand punched and organized computer programing cards fell into, the Marina they learned to sail from, the football stadium, and even ate in the canteen at one of the dorms. It was a long day of walking, the campus is huge, and fun yet terrifying at the same time. I couldn't stop thinking that touring the campus meant we were really truly thinking about moving, and that turned out to be way too stressful for me. Not to say I will never move away from the Bay Area, though I love it here, if we do move I would rather it be on our own time instead of on a deadline like the beginning of a new school semester. But who knows, maybe it will be an opportunity not possible for us to pass up one day.

Day 7: Packed up and ready to go, O&S offered to take us to one more destination on our trip then head off to the airport. Chris and I opted to visit the Locks and Fish Ladder just North of the city to see if we could spy some salmon headed into the sound. When we arrived we got to watch a beautiful day boat pass through the Locks, then headed to the Ladder to spy on the fish. There were a few headed up-stream, and a sea lion gleefully catching some downstream from the locks. It was a nice final taste of Seattle before heading off to the plane for the trip home.

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