Seattle/Victoria B.C. vacation

October 21, 2011

Parliament House at Dark

September 1: We 1st class to Seattle. For a flight that long 1st class is the only way to go.  Sara and Mike flew with us.  Mike’s dad, Don, picked us up at the airport and drove us to their house where we would be spending the 1st  few days of the trip.  The Nuestat’s live on Lake Shammamish. The view from their deck is beautiful.

View from Don and Karen’s deck on Lake Sammamish

I never tired of sitting on that deck and just watching the scenery and thinking.

Friday morning we rose early and  went for a long walk in the woods. You could run all day here. The temperature was 52 degrees and the trail in the woods was almost like a sponge. If I lived here I would not have foot problems.

Later on we jumped in the car with Mike’s nieces and drove to Pike’s market in downtown Seattle. We arrived about 9AM which is the time of day to be there. The crowds were small and you could buy your produce, fish, and flowers and get out before the crowds. We came back around 11AM after the Duck ride and the crowd was huge. We could hardly walk at all. You just let the crowd push you along. We did do the duck tour. It was okay once but I don’t think I will go again.

Downtown Seattle from the Duck

Mike selecting some tiny donuts at the Pike’s Market donuts shop.

We ate lunch at the Pike Place Chowder House which was quite cheap. It was one of those typical walk up and order, get your food, and then go find a place to eat places that are in markets like this.

If I ever go to Seattle again Pike’s Market is a must place visit.

Unwilling participants at the Pike’s Market Fish Market

The World famous gum wall

In the afternoon we took a boat ride around the lake with a round of drinks. A great way to spend the afternoon.

Sara cooked a feat meal for dinner and we played a friendly few games of pool before retiring for the evening.

Saturday: Another great day, we had brunch at a place called Purple after the normal early morning jogs and  walks. Then we visited a couple of vineyards and the Red Hook Brewery.  I now know ESB stands for Extra Special Bitter and I believe it.  Saturday night we ate Sushi at a joint in downtown Bellevue.

Sunday: morning trip to Shoquamie falls which is higher than Niagra Falls. We ate brunch at the Inn there which was very good. I had the muesli which was delicious but it should be for $15.00. Sunday afternoon we just hung out at the lake house and had a another great meal cooked by Sara – hamburgers, corn on the Cobb and some strange corn/pepper/bean salad. I am having a problem with my sinus here, but probably has more to do with not working and finally relaxing than the conditions here.

Started Monday with and early morning run with Sara through the woods. With the scenery, the cool weather, and the soft forest floor I feel like I could jog all day.

Mike made breakfast which was a baking sheet covered with dough, eggs, sausage, cheese, and spices. It was very good.

Their friends from New Zealand spent the day with us. We took a long boat ride. The kids went tubing which looked like a lot of fun for young people such as them. After we finished I jumped in. The water was cold but okay after the initial shock.

We had an early dinner at the Crab Shack  in Bellveue and then had desert at a place called Hector’s in Richmond near the University.

Tuesday: We bid Don and Karen a fond farewell. The rest of the troop were still sleeping  at 6AM.  Don drove us down to the Seattle waterfront where we caught the Victoria Clipper to Victoria B.C. The trip takes around 2.5 hours and is very comfortable.  It is more like riding on a train than a boat or an airplane.  The seating is spacious and the rise is like riding on glass.

The Victoria Clipper ready to roll

After going through customs which was painless we walked to the hotel (Abigail’s) and checked in. The room is great! Next, we were hungry so we walked to a local joint called the Blue Fox but they had a 45 minute wait so we decided to

Abigal’s Hotel

walk down to the harbor. We found a very good Irish pub (The Irish Times Pub) on Government street. It was tastey. We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the harbor area and downtown with a well deserved break at Starbucks

Victoria Harbor

For dinner we ate at Il Terazzo. It is tucked in an alley near the Johnson Street bridge. I had a seafood marinna dish which one of the best I have ever had. The sauce and pasta were fairly standard but the seafood was fantastic. For example, the mussels were the largest I have ever eaten.

We started Wednesday morning off with a great breakfast at Abigal’s which is included in the price of the room.

Mammoth at the Museum

Then we visited the Royal BC museum which was a history of BC – the land, the native peoples as they call them, and the whites. The focus was narrow enough to make a story that kept me interested and turned out to be one of the most enjoyable museum experiences I have had. After the museum we ate lunch at a little deli at the foot of Government Street (Sam’s Deli). I had the Montreal Smoked Meat sandwich and a real Greek salad wihtout any lettuce and plenty of cucumbers. Next we went on the Butchard Gardens tour. It was okay and better than the Arboretum for sure but not worth a special trip to Victoria.

Wednesday night we dined at Aura, a restaurant with an Asian flare.  It was also scrumptious and I would recommend it also.

Leaving Victoria Harbor on the Victoria Clipper

We had another great breakfast Thursday morning at Abigal’s and then rode the Victoria Clipper back to Seattle. This time we sat up top and I spent a great part of the trip outside watching the sea. Very relaxing. Once in Seattle we walked 1.5 miles to the Arctic Club Hotel and checked in. We have a very special room on the 10th floor (top floor). One downer is it used to be a smoking room or someone has smoked in it. After relaxing for awhile we took a long walk down to Pike’s Market and Pioneer Square. We had dinner at a tiny Italian place at Pioneer Square called Cafe Bengodi. It was very tasty and I would recommend it to anyone.

Cafe Bengodi ain’t much to look at

Cafe Bengodi spacious seating arrangements

Thursday set a all time high temperature for September 8 in Seattle – 86 degrees.  Why do I live in Texas?

Friday: We had a great breakfast at the Arctic Club Restaurant and then found out our plane was delayed 2 hours so we took our time going to the airport.  We rode the light rail.  The entrance was 1/2 block from the hotel and we paid $3.75 per person to ride so the transportation was dirt cheap.  The Seattle airport has free WiFi.  Why don’t all airports?  It really makes the wait much more pleasant.

The flight home was uneventful.  First class sure is nice even with the stewardesses we had on this trip. There seem to be two types.  The type we had on this trip did as little as possible but were pleasant enough.  The type we had going to Seattle bent over backwards to make the trip enjoyable.

Back home again on September 9 – a long long vacation for us but it seemed very short.

Victoria Harbor — A parting shot

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