More Explorations of Seattle and Nearby

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Merry Christmas Lenin!

In early December we headed to Seattle again. Not exactly a place of sunshine and warmth this time of year, but a city with many attractions and good food to offer. Tal, Gili’s brother, was assigned to work in Seattle for a few weeks. He visited us in Vancouver for a week and after his first week at work we went to visit him on his days off.

We left Vancouver very late on Thursday, which was a good move border-wise: there were no line-ups whatsoever. Also the drive was smooth, although we both were struggling to stay awake by the end. We reached the deserted downtown, it didn’t seem like there was anyone who was “Sleepless in Seattle” that night, except maybe for Tal, who worked night shifts. We finally found the Marriot Waterfront (Tal’s Hotel) and we stumbled into the lobby at around 3:00am. I think the receptionist was a bit confused at the sight of two visitors in the middle of the night, surrounded by ski gear and whatnot, and didn’t look like Marriot type of people. Tal left us a key, since he was still at work and we collapsed into bed, not even waking up when he returned about two hours later.

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Stocking up on Taylor Gold pears (the brown ones and the far left)

We all slept in that morning. Tal was already familiar with the surroundings and took us to an Indian restaurant he discovered near Pike Place Market. We then did the usual “Pike Place Market tasting tour”. One of Tal’s findings in the market were the most amazing pears we had ever had. The big plump brown Taylor Gold pears were so juicy and full of flavour that I still dream about them, but sadly we haven’t been able to find them in Vancouver so far.

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Santa and Buddha at Theo’s chocolate factory tour

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Skiing at Crystal Mountain

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On the lift at Crystal Mountain

Like last time we headed to Theo Chocolate Factory for a tour. Although we had already done it, we didn’t want Tal to miss it, so from the kindness of our hearts we agreed to go again and to taste all those free samples. This time the factory was busy while we were there and it seemed like the Christmas preparations were in full steam. That included a Chocolate Santa and many more holiday treats. We also walked around Fremont again, finding that this time Lenin was wearing a Christmas hat and decorations. I don’t think he would have approved.

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Seattle underground tour

On Saturday morning we woke up at the crack of dawn and drove to Crystal Mountain, a big and impressive ski hill. It’s been awhile since I skied on a different mountain, so it was nice to discover it. I am also back to skiing as of recently, after my last season was cut short. The snow was excellent, and after lunch the place even emptied out a bit. Tal is a natural pro skier, it’s hard to believe he has skied just a few times in his life.

Sunday was a grey, cloudy day. Actually all of our days in Seattle were like this, but it’s quite typical. For some reason it felt greyer than Vancouver, but I don’t think it’s possible. We decided to check out the “Underground Tour” which was really interesting. It turns out that under the streets of downtown Seattle there is an underground city that till 1889 was alive and kicking. Then a horrible fire burnt it down, but luckily no one died. According to the guide, the people of Seattle weren’t too sad about the fire because it gave them an opportunity to re-build their badly planned city. In old Seattle there were many problems with tides coming, due to it being lower than the high tide line. This also created problems related to toilets and sewerage (which the guides told us about in great detail). Then for a good few years after they had already built the roads for the new city, the actual blocks remained at the underground level, so they had ladders at every block, and every time one wanted to cross a street they had to climb down and back up. Those slippery wooden ladders did unfortunately take the lives of a few people. We walked the cold underground street, every now and then poking back out to the “real world” just to go underground again.

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Vegetarian chowder at Pike Place Market Chowder

This was also the first weekend since gay marriage was legalized in Washington, and we came upon happy newly wed girls who told us about it. For lunch we ate clam chowder of course, and Tal even found a vegetarian chowder. In the evening we strolled along the Fisherman’s Wharf, discovering that the new big wheel is way overpriced, so we didn’t try it.

The weekend was over and it was time for Tal to return to work, and for us to return to Vancouver. So we said our goodbyes till the next weekend, when Tal visited us in Vancouver again.

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