Seattle – Days 1, 2 and 3

It’s our fourth day in Seattle and so far I’m loving it as much as before; maybe more. The cool weather, the (advanced) autumn season, all enhance the beauty of the city and surroundings, making it even more appealing. Fog has been a constant companion every day, especially today, when it hid the sound completely and then rolled onto the city, casting a shimmering veil over everything.

 

Thursday, Nov. 27

We arrived on Thursday after a whole day of flying. We left Miami at 11 am, flying to Chicago O’Hare then took a connecting flight on Air Alaska, landing in Seattle at 6 pm local time. After getting the car, a convertible electric blue PT Cruiser, we drove into the city through lightly foggy streets, reaching the Hotel Max less than an hour later. The Hotel Max was, well, nice but a bit too snobby for my taste, not to mention expensive (I mean, $30 per day for parking!). The room (807) was nice, I won’t take that away, and we had a fantastic view of the Space Needle. Extremely hungry after 10 hours of traveling, we hit the road again, heading for the one kosher restaurant in Downtown Seattle, Bamboo Garden. Thankfully it was open (thank heavens for Chinese restaurants) and we were able to have a hot meal (Yvette had an udon noodle dish, while I had their vegan Thanksgiving platter, which was actually quite good). We took a short drive around the downtown area, if only to refresh our memories, but turned in fairly early; by 11 pm we had turned off the lights and called our Thanksgiving Day a done deal, both of us ecstatic of being back in Seattle.

 

Friday, Nov. 28

Friday morning was a bit of a hectic one. After getting up quite early, taking a shower and praying, I went online to check the rates on the hotel we had stayed in on our last visit, the Sixth Avenue Inn, visible from our room at the Hotel Max. The price was exactly half of what we were paying at the Max, so after confirming they had rooms available and placing a reservation, I cancelled the remaining nights at the Hotel Max. We repacked everything in the suitcases and left the Max at around 11 am, checking into the Sixth Avenue Inn by noon. Though certainly the Hotel Max had a unique personality, especially when compared to the middle-of-the-road Sixth Avenue Inn, the reduced price and the immense amount of space we got on our second hotel more than made up the difference, tipping the scale firmly in our favor. With that secured, we headed out to have breakfast at the one place we knew we could get a fantastic and filling meal, Noah’s Bagels in the U District. An hour, two egg-and-cheese sandwiches on potato bagels and two cups of coffee later, we had full tummies and were ready to continue our day, in this case, heading out to get provisions for Shabbat at the Mercer Island Albertson’s.

This is a wonderful supermarket that truly leaves a lot of kosher stores at home in the dirt, not only in its selection but in its prices. Let’s start with the fact that we can get sushi, fresh-made sushi, at a fraction of the cost we pay in Miami at any restaurant, and a hundred times fresher than the pre-made packs we sometimes pick up at home. To that you can add a deli where we got not only a variety of salads, but also a sandwich as big as my head, with three different meats, for $7. And of course, then there was the selection of kosher artisan breads. Sigh. About an hour later we left with enough groceries to take us through the entire week, as well as food for Shabbat, now only a couple hours away.

On the way back we stopped at the REI store, not far from our hotel. Personally, I’d forgotten it was Black Friday, so I was initially taken aback by the amount of people in the store, though once I realized what day it was, the truth was that there weren’t nearly as many people as one would imagine. We only had an hour to wander the huge store, and most of it we spent in the bicycle department, marveling at the wide selection of bikes and accessories, especially a very nice Electra Townie “Rat Rod” bike painted with a flame motif that made me wish I could just buy it right then and there. I picked up a book called Biking Puget Sound that lists 50 different rides and trails around Seattle and the greater Puget Sound area. We’re hoping to be able to rent some bikes and hit the Burke-Gilman trail (the very first ride listed in the book), but even if we don’t, I see it as an investment for the future.

We only spent an hour at REI before we had to zip back to the hotel to get ready for Shabbat, which started at 4:13 pm! We both managed to take hot showers before candle lighting time and after prayers, we sat down to enjoy an excellent meal of challah from Noah’s Bagels, and salads and fresh sushi from Albertson’s. By the time midnight rolled around, we were already in bed sleeping soundly and happily.

 

Saturday, Nov. 29

We spent the whole day indoors, sleeping in late, waking up to have lunch, then lounging around the room. We read the newspaper, checked our maps and guides, made tentative plans for the rest of the week, then slept some more until after Shabbat ended at 5:12 pm. After that we took showers, got some food and headed over to see our friends John and Patricia, in Ballard. We just hung out at their home; they would be running the Seattle Half-Marathon in the morning, so they needed to rest and conserve their energies. At around 10-ish, we left their house and headed Downtown again, taking a detour down to the waterfront, and walking up to The Pike Brewery for some cold ales (the Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale was just as fantastic as I remembered it). Then it was back to the hotel. A quiet and very nice day to finally settle in and get our internal clocks aligned.

A report on Sunday’s activities is coming later.