As outdoor activities like skiing and cycling are out of reach for me while I am recovering from the broken arm injury, we decided to head down to Seattle for the weekend, for some urban exploration. On Friday I had another x-ray and the fracture is still there but healing well, and the doctor said I can start using my arm more, wearing the sling less and start physiotherapy. I started to feel better and got tired of sitting at home, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to head to Seattle.
Lately we heard from a few people of this magnificent chocolate factory in Seattle, where they produce delicious fair trade and organic chocolate. The factory offers a tour which includes many samples, so what could be better than that? So, first thing we headed to Theo Chocolate Factory to get tickets for the 2:30pm tour.
We had a few hours to spend in Fremont, a neat neighborhood close to the university. It seemed like they have a thing with communism there, in the main street there is a huge sculpture of Lenin (imported from Slovakia) and a piece of the Berlin Wall. We also checked out Gas Works Park, where an old factory used to be, and the machinery is still there. From the park there were nice views of downtown Seattle with Lake Union. As we were walking along the water, an interesting “vehicle” passed by us. It looked like a combination between a bicycle and a kayak…
We had lunch at Paseo, a Caribbean Sandwich place. It didn’t really have a sign, but it was easy to find due to the long lineup. It seems like it is the most popular place to eat in Fremont and for good reason. Then it was finally time for the chocolate factory tour, which did not let us down. It included explanations about the cocoa tree, the chocolate making process, samples of different chocolates and a tour through the small factory. In the store there were “all you can eat” samples. We took a walk along Green Lake, it was a sunny weekend, probably the first one in weeks, and it seemed like everyone was out and about.
I guess it’s the human nature to always compare. Seattle might be a sister city to Beer Sheva, but let’s admit it, it’s much more similar to Vancouver. So here are a few of the highlights of the comparison. First of all, Seattle is way bigger, or at least if feels like it. I think it’s mainly the huge highway that passes right through downtown that gives it that feel. Also, it is less diverse. They don’t have many Asians like Vancouver, which means less sushi places and other Asian food, and in general it feels more white. They compensate with a larger proportion of Hispanic immigrants, especially from Mexico, and Mexican food and trucks abound. This might be the one advantage of Seattle. It also feels less safe, but it might also be that we feel more at home in Vancouver.
We couchsurfed with an interesting woman who lives with her two cute terriers and many pieces of unique art in the northern part of the city. She is only interested in hosting people, not surfing. I think it’s a “Pass it Forward” kind of thing. In the morning we strolled down to a beach near her place in Carkeek Park. It’s a nice beach with views of the mountains of the Olympic Peninsula.
Then we headed to the busy downtown and checked out Pike Place Market. In general I am not too crazy about crowded places, and definitely not with a broken arm, so we didn’t stay inside for too long. We had a good salmon sandwich at Market Grill and a great Clam Chowder at Pike Place Chowder. We took the ferry and headed to Bainbridge Island. The sun came out again just in time, and we enjoyed the spring sunshine. We walked a bit on the island, but the main attraction was an ice cream place named Mora which means blackberry in Spanish. Again, there was a long lineup, and again for a good reason. The purple creamy blackberry flavour is a must if you are heading this way. On the ferry ride back, both Gili and I collapsed and took a much needed 30 minute nap until we were again in downtown Seattle. Urban sightseeing is tiring. Of course we stopped for the mandatory stop at Trader Joe’s in Bellingham. We were planning to go there on the day I was injured on Mt. Baker, so it was good to finally make it there. The border reports reported high volume going north, so we had a nice dinner at Tadeo‘s, a Mexican restaurant in Bellingham and by the time we reached the border we only waited for 10 minutes or so. It was a nice weekend of urban exploration, good food and good company.