Anyone even vaguely aware of the political climate in the U.S. this year should not be shocked when I say that our trip to Seattle, Washington the weekend after the election was a sight to see. Upon our ride into the city, and our time spent on foot, we witnessed the entire downtown area proactively boarded up in case of riots and protestors holding up traffic with their bicycles. The tension in the air paired with the COVID-induced deserted streets led to an overall unsettled feeling walking through downtown.
We ended up staying at the Courtyard on Lake Union just north of downtown for $80/night and came to realize that area was one of the more affluent regions of the city given the expensive neighboring apartments we snooped at on Zillow, and the yacht retailers positioned at the docks selling ships costing $100,000 to $4,000,000+.
The area around the hotel and the lake was beautiful, but we had lots to see across the city. The afternoon that we arrived, we exited our Uber at the Space Needle and began our trek to Pike Place Market. Along the way, we encountered lots of artwork exhibits, which you can view below. I always admire artwork when I travel as these works often add color and vibrancy to what could be a dull cityscape.
Nearing Pike Place Market, we were struck by scents of coffee, pastries, flowers and fish. The market is definitely a touristy area, so the crowds were denser here. We kept our masks on and tried to give space between ourselves and others. We moseyed down one side of the street and back up the other before we agreed to have lunch at Seatown Market & Fishfry where we ordered clam chowder and the pacific cod fish-fry for a total of about $60. This was our splurge seafood meal of the trip as we talked ourselves out of anything fancier like lobster or crab. Expect to pay at the very minimum $40 per plate if you’re looking for king or Dungeness crab. After our meal, we took another look through the market and grabbed a Russian piroshky ($4.50pp) and some coffee ($3.00pp) for the road…I mean the sidewalk. From there we walked along the water to the Olympic Sculpture Park. I’d like to note that the weather was as expected: about 40 degrees F and cloudy with a hint of gloom. But Gabriel and I are not opposed to such weather and enjoyed our long walk. We then lugged our backpacks the remainder of the way to our hotel to check in and rest our legs for a minute. Our room had a pleasant view of the lake, but our active bodies had to get moving once more and we wandered over to explore the dock areas and the southern end of Lake Union. Having worked up an appetite for dinner, we found ourselves at Tacos Chukis for some pretty authentic tacos pastor and tamarindo pop (for those of you in opposition…”soda”) for a total of about $26.
On Saturday, we had a bagged continental breakfast at the hotel before we started the day with another long walk (the best way to see a city!) to the north end of the lake to see Gas Works Park based on the recommendation of our hotel receptionist. After almost quite literally going over the river (by drawbridge) and through the woods, we arrived at the park which had previously served as an oil plant. As was the case in many areas of the city, there was a large homeless population living under the pavilion in the park. Given the early morning hours, we trapsed around quietly and observed the retired plant equipment in the park and the city buildings across the lake which provided great skyline views. On our return walk from the park, we swung by the Fremont Troll (pictured below). Notice the actual VW bug under its hand and the hubcap eye!
Lying eyes on Milsead and Co. coffee shop warmed our souls a little after spending the entire morning in the chilly, fall Seattle weather. We were greeted by two very friendly staff members and walked out with two cups of hot cider for around $7.00 total. The area on the north side of the lake after crossing the draw bridge also seemed well off, but was much more residential, so coming across the coffee shop was convenient. We returned to the hotel in time to catch an Uber and head to the Museum of Flight in time for our 11:00 entry slot which we selected when purchasing our tickets the night before for $25pp. I had been to the museum once in the past, but this visit was peaceful due to the minimal amount of people and regulated entry due to COVID. We took our time checking out the aircraft and walking through the Concorde, a retired Air Force One B-707, and a B-747. For lunch we grabbed a snack as we sat overlooking Boeing Field.
Upon return that evening, we were celebrating our birthdays and wanted to seek out something good for dinner. We found Hurry Curry of Tokyo, and I encourage you to suppress your immediate impression based on the fast-food sounding name because this traditional tonkatsu style of food was exactly what we were hoping for. Gabriel ordered actual tonkatsu and I went with the chicken and curry – it did not disappoint. But the entire time we dined in, no one else entered the restaurant. This, along with other patterns we were noticing on our trip, showed us just how quarantined the city was as food establishments were almost solely serving take-out and delivery orders. For dessert, we walked a few blocks down the street to Tous Les Jours French-Asian inspired bakery. Gabriel and I are both big foodies so it was fun looking through the large selection of breads, red bean buns, cakes, and pastries. We walked out with a green tea strawberry cake and blueberry lavender macarons (~$28 total). Happy birthday to us!
We headed to the airport the following morning to head home. For a description of what it’s like to fly in COVID times, check out our previous post. Gabriel and I had both flown prior to November 2020 and felt comfortable with the precautions taken by the airports and the airlines. Signage in the airport was also a constant reminder to maintain sufficient distance between ourselves and others. Two Chinook salmon worth of distance to be exact!
On a follow-up note before I end, after doing some investigation on places we went and things we did, I realized that there had been a 2000 case spike in the difference of COVID cases over the course of our stay. Strict restrictions were placed on the city on November 15th – the day we left.
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