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Archive for November, 2009

Tourist: Seattle

You are in Seattle. You have a car and one day to explore. Your goal is to show someone who’s never been around the city. What to do? Let’s start with…

Hello Seattle

Hello Seattle

 

Kelly Park – up on Queen Anne hill, which is a much photographed, scenic view of the city skyline. You forget the exact street, so you’ll have to drive around, up and down a few blocks before you finally find the park and get your glorious snapshots. Next let’s see the infamous…

 

 

Fremont troll

Fremont troll

 

Fremont troll – just across the Fremont bridge. You just need to take a quick detour under the bridge to see this crazy, giant troll holding his VW Beetle tightly. Now that you’ve seen it, let’s go to the…

 

 

UW Drumheller fountain

UW Drumheller fountain

 

University of Washington campus – where there can be little doubt that you’ve arrived at the exact right place on the exact right day. I practically dare you to find somewhere that can even compare. You have complete reign to pick anywhere! Got nothing? Well, how about the…

 

 

Washington Arboretum – since you have decided that driving around and looking at even more beautiful scenery would be a fairly good idea. You regret not stopping at the Japanese Garden to admire the koi ponds, but feeling a bit nostalgic, you start driving around the local neighborhoods next to…

Lake Washington – and determine you’ve found the ideal distraction. But since you’re getting hungry, it’s time to head back towards downtown, with a pass by Lake Union and…

Ivar’s – for a nosh of fried salmon, crisp french fries and steamy clam chowder, while sitting right on the lake. With a complete view of the city and the landing seaplanes, you start to wonder why you don’t come here more often. Since logic is not part of this journey, you decide that after your lunch…

View from Alki

View from Alki

 

Alki Beach – is your next destination. You want a beach with a good view, even if it’s too fricking cold to enjoy it properly. Well, you soon discover that the weather is not a factor in your enjoyment, and frankly never has been. You’re from Washington after all. Next you decide the next random place you should go to is Ballard and the…

 

 

Ballard Locks

Ballard Locks

 

Ballard (Chittenden) locks – because that’s where you can see the mashup of the fresh waters of Lake Union and Lake Washington with the salt waters of the Puget Sound. Also, you can admire the many yachts and boats poised to pass between the two. With the day slipping by in a rush of fall colors, you believe that a quick jaunt downtown and entry into…

 

Elliot Bay Book Store – will inspire your creative juices. Exploring the nooks and crannies and random isles of books, with no goal in mind, you read a few book covers and then walk out for a look around…

Pioneer Square – to see the architecture and landscapes. Finally, finish the day at…

Beer and cheese

Beer and cheese

 

Pike Street Brewery – with a beer sampler, cheese plate, and a yummy pizza.

 

 

 

Okay, so that’s one hell of a random journey. If you’re a tourist with only one day or just a bored Washingtonian, throw out a couple of the above and make sure you add the Pike Place Market to your itinerary as well.

 

University of Washington

University of Washington

Small Ballard lock

Ballard locks

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Hiking in Washington

Today we’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

Greenwater Trail (off US Forest Service Road 70 in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State)

Greenwater Trail #1

Greenwater Trail #2

Greenwater Trail #3

Greenwater Trail #4

Greenwater Trail #5

Greenwater Trail #6

Greenwater Trail #7

peace

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You might mistake these as annoying, but you’d be wrong…

“Fireflies” by Owl City – it gets in your head and at some point you think it should start driving you crazy, but it doesn’t.

Philadelphia Phillies fans – normally after making the World Series two years in a row, they would be insufferable, but anybody that battles against the Yankees and A-Roid is a friend of the blog. Too bad they couldn’t beat those damn Yankees.

This wiener dog that keeps jumping on my lap – I put him down, but he just keeps coming back for more. Who can fault such persistence?

New TV Shows – so many new (and good) TV shows this year, you’d think that all those options and so little time would be annoying. Not so.

Zombieland – funny and surprising, and just when you think those shuffling zombies will be boring, they aren’t.

This broken clock on my wall – time is relative anyway, who needs a working clock?

Pearl Jam – if you thought they’d be past their prime, you’d be wrong. Oh so wrong.

Hiking in the rain – you might believe that getting wet in the middle of the woods would be a downer, well put on your rain jacket and take a look at the sights all around you. Not so bad after all.

Constant talk about how the BCS system is broken – all the sports pundits keep talking about how we need a playoff system for college football. Year after year, argument after argument, over and over they expound upon how the current Bowl Championship Series (BCS) system is broken. Good on them. Until its fixed the complaints and the pointing out of obvious flaws will never be annoying.

Using ‘aren’t’ at the end of a sentence – all these things should be obvious, but sometimes they aren’t.

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You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here? Such a tough question demands a long-winded response. By here I mean…

Leavenworth – With the dream of doing wine tastings in a slew of wineries, we embarked to this quaint Bavarian village just a couple hour jaunt over the Cascade mountain range in Washington state. Conveniently, Oktoberfest was also in full swing, so the beer options were exponential and the revelers were out in droves. On a typical weekend, this is a nice spot for a day trip with scenery, window shopping, and good eats. We failed at typical and landed instead in the middle of chaos.

Fall foliage – the drive to Leavenworth revealed why Fall is the best time of year. Brilliant colors – reds, yellows, browns, oranges – dotted the landscape in such profusion and vividness, you could barely close your dropped-jaw from the awe of it. Or something like that. I’d show you a picture but I prefer to write a thousand words about it instead.

Silvara Vineyards – after a bit of stop-and-go traffic through downtown Leavenworth and a few miles out-of-town, we arrived at the first winery. It was an unscheduled stop, as this is a brand new place we thought deserved our patronage. We had a brief tasting (just okay), chatted with the owner (friendly) for a few minutes then continued our quest.

Apples – forget Red Delicious, if you want crisp, sweet and sinfully delicious apples, bite down on a Cameo (word up) or a Honeycrisp or savor the juicy Gala. So many varieties are waiting for you to snack on, bake, juice, sauce or hand over to your sinister teacher in exchange for a just passing grade. Even though Washington state grows an unhealthy amount of apples (for one sitting), don’t wait long or someone will eat yours. (Insert Good Will Hunting catchphrase here). We stopped at a roadside fruit stand (well, apple stand really) to stock up on apples and then had our way with apple samples and other good food options being sold from tents next door. At some point there should be more wine around here…

Icicle Ridge Winery – we strolled up towards this fairytalesque locale taking in the sights. Before us stood a stout log house (built like a ski chalet, no less), a good size pond in front, a gazebo overlooking all (too bad it was too cold to stay outside) and a variety of old-fashioned cars and machinery nearby all decorated to the nines with pumpkins and scarecrows and much more. Built by Lou and Judy Wagoner as their home, it was shared with the winery until recently, when they let the winery take over the whole house. The 5000 sq. ft. inside is filled with stuffed animal trophies (niiice bear), a huge stone fireplace and a lofty ceiling. After taking our seats at one of the many huge tables, they started serving the wine tasting. On and on it kept coming. Eleven different varieties…insane pours…and all complimentary. The Huckleberry Riesling and the Three Blondes Gewürztraminer were quite intoxicating. The bottles were a bit pricy to buy, but who cares if you don’t even have to pay for such an insane wine tasting?

Chicken heads and Brat – Oktoberfest has never been for the faint of heart. It’s a fest (parties need not apply) for the stout of constitution and eager of disposition. You gotta be willing chug beer until it flows down your red, tear streaked face. You gotta be willing chow down on bratwursts oozing with sauerkraut until the bile rises from the back of your throat. You gotta be willing to hold back that well-deserved punch to the face of those weirdos over there wearing chicken head hats like its something of a thing. Most of all, you gotta get into the spirit of revelry and debauchery. Since our mission was as the more refined, prim, and proper wine taster, we couldn’t quite walk the line between the two. That’s not to say we didn’t have our beers and our brats and our unthrown punches, we just didn’t have them to the excess required. Burp.

Other wineries – we stumbled into a few other tasting rooms in downtown Leavenworth, but only to keep the buzz alive. Really, at this point, little help was needed. Probably on their own, these would be decent places to go on a normal day, but given our previous predilections, they simply fall into the ‘other’ category.

I like ending on a high note. Out.

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