A couple of days after our Portland trip I found myself heading in the opposite direction. This time it was north up to Mukilteo to catch the ferry for my first ever trip to Whidbey Island. I was kindly taken by car, but there was a group who came from downtown Seattle by bus – so even without transport it is fantastically accessible. And, an even bigger bonus, once on the island all bus travel is free. We were there to hike, a trip organised by two volunteer hike leaders from The Mountaineers. Continue reading
At the end of April we travelled down to Portland. Portland for us is home to delightful family members, so seeing them is the highlight of any trip there. If it wasn’t for them, and despite the very high praise that is (no doubt worthily) heaped on the city, I think the best bit would be the journey. I love catching the Amtrak train. Rail travel, for some reason I really don’t understand, isn’t a usual form of transport for most people in the USA. The tracks carry far more freight trains than passengers and have gained priority. Freight trains here can go on for miles – or at least it seems so. If you reach a rail crossing when one is passing you really have to wait some time to see the end of it. Continue reading
Some-one asked if I was missing working the other day. I can’t remember how I had time for a full-on professional life! I guess at some point I will want to re-engage with it, I did rather like most of it after all, but at the moment it is such a luxury to have time to get to know this city and state. Whilst life here is slowly starting to find a pattern each week still seems full of surprises and new experiences. Here is a quick overview of last week as an example:
Monday – meeting a president:
The 39th President of the USA, Jimmy Carter, decided to pop along to see us on Monday. He is promoting his most recent book A Call to Action, which focusses on the suffering inflicted on women, across the globe including within the USA, by men who justify their behaviour through false interpretations of religious texts. A truly contemporary and topical issue. It was disappointing that the event was limited to a book signing as it would have been wonderful to hear him talk. This was saved for media interviews, which importantly meant more people heard overall I guess. At 89 years delivering a comprehensive book tour is quite an undertaking in itself (his west coast visit being Friday San Francisco, Saturday Los Angeles, Sunday Portland, Monday Seattle) yet many commented on how well President Carter looked. Continue reading
I have been having great fun learning about different neighbourhoods through tromping the streets. This has been really helped by following the advice of a hike leader I met through The Mountaineers (an organisation I will focus on another time) who introduced me to Sound Striders. Sound Striders is run through Seattle Parks & Recreation Department by volunteers. There are two groups one focussing on North Seattle the other on the South. They each select a neighbourhood to explore once a week for a number of weeks, meet for coffee at 8am by 8.30 they are out walking – usually around 6 miles – and then back to the same cafe for about 11am ready to get on with the rest of their day. Whilst I don’t match the criteria for taking part (over 55 years) everyone has been very happy to ignore that – and share their stories and top tips about Seattle as well as their routes. One of the group describes the walks as “a cocktail party on legs” there is no alcohol but lots of lovely non-stop mingling and chatting. Continue reading
A month has gone by without a blog post and so much has happened in that time – don’t be surprised if there is a flurry of additions over the next week. Sadly Washington has been in the international news headlines with the tragic loss of life due the Oso landslide following a very wet (record-breaking) March. Every life is precious and so many have been lost, affecting communities deeply.
In the city we have transitioned from winter to spring – even if occasionally the weather tries to slip us back. The first day of spring woke slowly, when I left the house early it was still very chilly. By mid morning it was glorious – and the afternoon was super sparkly. Continue reading
Pancakes, waffles, dutch babies (really!), french toast, biscuits and gravy (very odd sounding to us Brits), hash browns, huevos rancheros, scrambles (but very different to English scramble), tortas, mimosa (bucks fizz in the UK)…who doesn’t love brunch???
We can’t really do a ‘top places in Seattle to eat brunch’ post given we have hardly been here 5 minutes and have a long list of places to still try out. But whilst brunching at Vios in Third Place Books (a wonderful independent book store) last Monday, President’s Day and a public holiday, we started to list our favourite brunch experiences so far. It came to 10 places – and a list of 10 seems sharable. So we won’t claim they are the best, but feel assured that if you brunch at any one of them you should have a great time and eat well. We have pulled on our two trips to Seattle before moving here, but have eaten at all of them within the last year. Depending where you go the waitstaff can be a core part of the experience, giving a wonderful performance – from the trendy and the alternative to the down-right naughty! Brunch is a fun and fabulous weekend treat. Continue reading
Admittedly we have had rain, but this post isn’t about that. That water was welcome however, a few heavy days of rain in Seattle meant really significant snow fall in the mountains and in no time a snowpack which had been at 50% the norm was back up to usual levels. As well as bringing much joy to those heading out for snow sports (well once the many high avalanche risks reduced) it also meant concerns over summer water shortages have disappeared.
So other water – because yesterday was a very spectacular visit to Wallace Falls State Park with Seattle Transit Hikers. This is a Meet Up group that mostly walks on weekends which doesn’t work for me, so I was fast to sign up when a trip was planned for a week day. They always catch public transport out to their hiking destination, hence their name. It takes about twice as long to get the Wallace Park on bus Continue reading