We awoke this morning on the train, after a decent night of sleep. I still woke up earlier than I needed to, but that wasn’t unexpected. When I looked out the window I got my first glimpse of Washington state, and I could immediately tell I wasn’t in Montana anymore. Washington reminded me much more of Minnesota with larger towns, and more of them.
The train took a path through the Cascade mountains and the Cascade tunnel, which was really cool to see. The tunnel itself has an interesting history, and it’s worth perusing the wikipedia page on it. Once we were through the mountains we rode down the shore of Puget Sound and arrived in Seattle close to 10am Pacific time.
I had never been to Seattle before, but noticed on the map that our hotel was less than a mile from the train station, so we decided to just walk it. What I didn’t know is that Seattle has some pretty huge hills in the downtown area. Walking up Spring Street with our luggage was quite the adventure. By the time we got to the hotel we were ready to be done carrying 80lbs of baggage. We put our luggage into storage, since our room wasn’t ready yet and decided to head back out again.
Since we had some time to kill, we decided to head down to Pike Place Market and check out all the hype about the area. We walked around a bit and peeked in at a couple of the stores before heading over to Pike Pub and Brewery for some lunch. The beers were pretty good, in particular I was impressed by their Scotch Ale. Before we left I asked the bartender for her suggestions for other breweries to hit, and she pulled out a piece of paper and wrote down the names of places that she really liked. Hopefully, we’ll be able to hit a few of them over the next couple days.
While we were at lunch we realized that we were right next to the Seattle Aquarium, one of Lisa’s places she wanted to see. We headed over and got to see some great exhibits of fish and sea life. One particular creature that was amazing to see was a pair of giant Pacific octopus, while they were getting fed. They were really amazing to see all stretched out with tentacles going everywhere. One of them decided it wanted to play with the feeding pole, so it hung on and eventually wrestled it away from the trainer. They were also showing off what their beaks look like, the only hard part of their body. These guys are really incredible creatures, and amazing to see in action.
Once we got done with the aquarium we headed back to the hotel, with a short stop off at the original Starbucks and some chocolate at Rocky Mountain. We then proceeded to get settled in our room, get cleaned up from the long journey, and take a short nap. Before we knew it, it was time to head out to dinner in Bellevue with my old Warcraft guild master.
We hit a sushi place he suggested, and since Lisa and I have never really done sushi before it was a bit of an adventure. The restaurant was called Sushi Me and it was a conveyor belt style place where you simply grab what you want off the belt as it comes around. I tried a few rolls with salmon in them, and pigged out on their dumplings. Overall, it was quite tasty.
I’ve known this friend of mine in the virtual world since 2008, through many long nights of raiding and hanging around on Ventrilo voice chat. It was a great night of chatting with a cool guy and getting a chance to connect in meatspace. We ended up hanging out till near closing time before grabbing a cab back to downtown.
It’s nice to be settled into the hotel and not have our room moving under our feet. The next few days is more exploration of downtown Seattle, with a bit of running and beer thrown in for good measure. The weather has been amazing, with clear skies and temps in the 60s and 70s. Many of the locals have commented that we’re really lucky this wasn’t one of their rainy weeks. Either way, I’m looking forward to what the next day holds.