In 2016, Dan and I had the rare opportunity to travel alone, meaning not associated with work or with visiting family. We had just started our home-based travel company and this afforded us an amazing opportunity to take a last minute Alaskan cruise on the cheap.
When I say last-minute, I mean we booked the last room on the ship, just two days prior to sailing. We sailed on Holland America's MS Amsterdam, departing from the port in Seattle on a Sunday. We left Los Angeles early in the morning on the day prior to our cruise, so that we could explore Seattle. This was my first trip to the city and Dan had not visited in a long time.
When we arrived at the Seattle-Tacoma airport, we saw the sign for Holland America. Unfortunately, we booked too late, to take advantage of the airport-to-city transportation.
Dan had points to use at the Homewood Suites by Hilton, making it a free option for staying downtown. The hotel was perfect for us: located in a safe neighborhood and a short walk from all of the Seattle attractions. Our room was comfortable too. I highly recommend this hotel for anyone heading to Seattle. As a bonus, it included a kitchenette with full-sized refrigerator.
We only had twenty-four hours to tour Seattle, so we left the hotel immediately, not wanting to waste anytime. We headed straight to Pike Place Market. Here are some pictures that we took along our walk. The Bernie Sanders poster puts this in context, Spring of 2016.
Pike Place Market is a bit of a tourist trap, but when in Seattle, it's a must-do. Arriving on a rain-free, Saturday afternoon in spring, meant that it was jammed.
Priority #1, was lunch. Having not eaten since breakfast, we were super hungry. There are so many dining options at Pike Place Market, that it was overwhelming. We just went to the first thing we saw: Jack's Fish and Chips Spot. This is where we learned about "True Cod." I guess there is fake cod? In any case, everywhere we went in Seattle and Alaska, was proud to proclaim that they sold "True Cod." I'm not sure that I would have known the difference or cared. The "true cod" fish and chips from Jack's was delicious: piping hot and with light batter that wasn't overly greasy. I'm not a huge fan of tartar sauce, but Jack's was very good. I recommend it!
After lunch, we walked around the market. There was a lot of fish, but not anyone tossing it around, as I had seen in videos. I had been led to believe that flying fish was the thing to see. I wanted some fish throwing action! Half of the area is a market and the other half are tourist-trap shops. It reminded me the Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles. Locals probably do go here to get fresh fish and produce, but it was definitely a tourist-trap.
Pike Place Market is also famously the home of the first Starbucks! The line was around the block, so we skipped it. I mean, we do give Starbucks our regular business; we didn't need to wait in a long line for our usual lattes. Here it is in the background!
And before this, I had no idea about the "Pike Place" coffee. I get it now!
The best part of the day, was after Pike Place Market, when we discovered a wine bar. Chocolate & Wine on Pine, is just a block from Pike Place Market. It's an artisanal chocolate shop, that offers wine/chocolate pairings. We loved it so much, that we did two different wine/chocolate flights and had an additional hot chocolate. Plus, we bought more chocolate to have on our cruise. It was amazing and we enjoyed chatting with the staff. Seriously, it's a good thing that we don't live near Chocolate & Wine on Pine, otherwise we'd be here all of the time.
Speaking of places that fall under the category "good thing I don't live near this" = Seattle is home to the flagship Nordstrom department store. It was hard to pass this by, without taking a look. Next time I visit Seattle, I'm going shopping or at the very least, having a coffee at the Nordstrom Ebar! I wonder if the Seattle Nordstrom has retained a pianist. I miss the piano music in Nordstrom, it was such a classy touch!