Well, we have been pretty much without internet for the last few days so I’m catching up with our rather eventful New Year now. I’ve been taking hundreds of photos from all sorts of wonderful places and had a great time, so if I didn’t get to speak to you or send you a message before – Happy New Year!
OK, so Friday 28th of December saw us heading south over the border to the United States of America. The plan was for us to spend a night in Seattle catching the sights before heading to stay with family of friends up a mountain somewhere in the boondocks of Washington State.
The American border is only twenty minutes or so south of Tsawwassen so it didn’t take us too long to get there, however we were delayed a considerable amount of time by the officious nature of US customs. The line was rather long and, to be fair, the customs guys were polite but it took ages to get through. You’d think that it’d be easier for citizens of the country with the “special relationship” to get through a bit easier.
Anyway, we got through and headed down I-5 towards Seattle. It rained all the way. We’ve had a lot of rain on this coast and the road down to Rainy City didn’t disappoint on its nickname. We arrived in a downpour and visited a friend of our hosts, another nurse that’s emigrated to this side of the Atlantic. They have a great house on a hillside overlooking the city. Christmas presents were exchanged, coffee was drank and we headed on our way to find a hotel to stay for the night.
We found the Travelodge near to the Space Needle. The hotel has probably seen better days but the price was really good ($89 for the room) and the facilities were fantastic. You get sod all from a Travelodge in the UK but this had everything you’d expect from a hotel – an outdoor pool (like we were going to use it in December!), free coffee, free wi-fi and excellent service from the staff. We managed to get a King-sized bed too and unlike some UK-based hotel beds this one was spectacularly comfortable.
Luckily for us the rain had actually stopped by the time we’d booked in and checked out our rooms. We headed towards the excellent monorail in order to get into town. The monorail is right by the Space Needle and I was pleased to see that it was lit up quite wonderfully.
After travelling the monorail into town we wandered around a bit looking for somewhere to eat. We accidentally found Pike Place Market, but it was shut for the night. That was a shame because I’d have really liked to have seen that, but all was not lost as we managed to find a rather excellent Brew Pub called The Pike Brewing Co.
Now, I love beer and I love food and this place was like a little piece of paradise. America isn’t especially renowned for its beer – most of the macro-brewed stuff is an abomination – but there are some excellent micro-breweries about that match the best stuff that us Brits can come up with. I reckon that this place was one of them. Both James and I ordered the “Pike Sampler”, a collection of 6 4oz glasses of their best beer. We had everything from a superb blonde 4.7% Ale (Pike Naughty Nellie) to a rather wonderful Stout (the 7% Pike XXXXX Stout) to possibly the nicest American beer I have ever drunk – the delicious Pike Tandem Double Ale.
The Pike Tandem was so delicious that we both ordered another. And then another and maybe one or two more after that. We got very drunk on the good beer while the girls sozzled themselves on cocktails. It wasn’t all about the booze though as we also sampled some of their excellent food. I enjoyed my Bratwurst and Apple Sauerkraut with Mash while the spicy chicken wings were nice and zingy. Jen had some rather nice fish and chips while Jo enjoyed the Spinach Salad.
Once our bellies were full of drink and food we headed out into the rain-free night. We’d missed the last return trip on the monorail so were had to take a Taxi back to the hotel where we slept like the dead.
We didn’t get to see that much of Seattle during our stop and we weren’t going to have much time to see much more of it the following morning, but it’s definitely a city I would like to see much more of. It has a lot of charm and we will most certainly return some time in the future.