There are some benefits of having a husband that has to travel occassionally for business. FREE REWARDS! With a fairly active hurricane and storm season the last few years, George has had to travel a fair amount. He had earned several rewards through his recent travels including hotel points, TWO free flights, and two days of a rental car. Next month one of his free flights was scheduled to expire, which we weren't about to let happen. So it was time for a vacation!!
My sophomore year in college I was given an opportunity to travel with an aunt to Seattle for a long weekend. I have always wanted to go back. Two summers ago, George and I talked about making the trip, but ended up buying a house instead. So we decided to use our free flights to head to the northwest while both girls were "lap" children.
This was Charlotte's second time to fly (the first being to Austin when she was 9 months old) and Jocelyn's first flight. Our flight left shortly after 5pm on Monday evening. Although Charlotte has been timid regarding loud and unfamiliar things lately, she LOVED flying. She was entertained by opening and closing the window shade, kicking the seats in front of us (sorry poor woman who had the misfortune of choosing that seat), eating crackers, playing with the seatbelt, and playing with mommy's iPod Touch. The flight went very well, partly thanks to an open seat next to us. Toward the end of the flight, Charlotte took a short nap, but we woke her as we started the decent to avoid ear pain. At one point you could tell her ears were really bothering her...but fruit snacks seems to keep her swallowing often enough to relieve the pressure. Jocelyn also managed the flight like a trooper! OH the blessings of breastfeeding!! We didn't have to worry about bottles, clean water, formula, etc. Jocelyn was content to sleep, nurse, and coo throughout the flight.
After a 3 1/2 hour flight, we landed successfully in Seattle. It was chilly compared to KC, but wonderful! Again, an advantage of George's work is his Hertz Gold card membership. After picking up our luggage from the baggage claim we were able to go out to the parking garage where our name was posted on the board with a parking space number. We walked to that space where a car was waiting for us with the keys and carseat in it and trunk popped awaiting our stuff! I was super impressed! We headed to the hotel and got settled in for the night.
The next morning, Charlotte woke up at 4:30, which would have been her normal wake up time at home. She crawled in our bed and dozed in and out until about 6:30. We decided to get up and make our way to the city. We found a place to park and abondoned the car for the day.
We started with the famous Pike's Place Market. Hundreds of bouquets of flowers for just $5-$10 a piece. Gorgeous rows and rows of flowers. I was so tempted to buy one just to enjoy at our hotel for the week...but I resisted. There were also many talented artists, jewelry makers, fancy textiles, fruits and veggies galore, and of course...SEAFOOD! I am not a big seafood eater, but LOVE seafood in the northwest---It is so fresh!! We then headed for the the french bakery, Le Panier, which is located right outside the market, just a few steps from the original Starbucks.
Throughout our trip we would often use bakeries, cafes, and coffee shops as breaks to stop and nurse Jocelyn. It gave us a lot of opportunity to sample various places. We enjoyed our quick bite and coffee and headed out to the pier to finish feeding Jocelyn. I sat on the bench while Charlotte ran around looking at the water and "attempted" to feed the pigeons. At first when I gave her a bit of bread to feed to the pigeons she ran towards them full speed ahead, attempting to "hand feed" it to them. They of course all flew off to the other side of the pier and she repeated her actions. Eventually, after a demonstration by George, she figured out how to feed the birds, and loved it! She giggled and laughed while they would all fight over her offerings.
Next we were off to stroll through downtown. There were a few shops that I read about in Eat Shop Seattle that I wanted to check out. All of them were too expensive for our budget, but I love admiring others' talent and creativity. One of my favorites was Schmancy they had cute, funky plush toys and cute prints of birds, owl, and other eclectic drawings. We continued down town as Charlotte drifted off for a nap in the stroller. We walked along the waterfront and made a tentative plan for the day. As Charlotte woke we stopped into Anthony's for some classic fish and chips. We were able to sit on the patio and watch the activity in Puget Sound.
Next we walked back to the Seattle Aquarium. We thought this would be enjoyable to Charlotte, but unfortunately it ended up probably being the most disappointing of the trip. It was overpriced, and Charlotte was too tired to enjoy it. She was afraid to get too close to some of the exhibits and needed constant reassurance. George and I were occupied with the girls and didn't get to read/learn as much as we would have liked. Maybe once they get older it would be worth the high ticket cost.
From there we hoped on the Gray Line Tour Bus. I had scored inexpensive tickets for Gray Line from Groupon. We were able to hop on the double decker tour bus at numerous points throughout downtown to get from Point A to Point B, or to ride awhile and learn more about the city. We rode in the back of the upper deck for just over an hour getting a full scoop on the city. Our guide was a riot and we learned a lot. By the way...Did you know Seattle's Best Coffee is owned by Starbucks?
We then got off the tour bus in Pioneer Square, grabbed some more coffee, and headed up to Smith's Tower (another Groupon deal). There we headed up to the 35th floor and were able to get a 365 degree view of the city. It was beautiful! Mt. Ranier was even making an appearance, even though it is typically hiding behind the clouds. (We are bad tourists and didn't go to the Space Needle, but did the Smith Tower instead...less money and less touristy!)
The faint cloud in the middle of the picture is actually not a cloud, it is Mt. Ranier.
On most days, it isn't visable from Seattle.
We then headed back to the Gray Line bus stop and got a lift back to the car...we were definitely worn out and had very wearly legs. We were disappointed we had left our pedometers at home. You should see some of the hills we went up!! We stopped at Crossroads Grill for dinner (yep! another Groupon deal) and headed back to the hotel for the night...we were all exhausted, but had a great day!