- Praise whoever you worship, but I got bumped up to first class both ways. I cannot say how much I appreciated that on a 4-hour flight. From my comfy, roomy leather seat, I was able to see out the window (beyond this woman who was annoying not taking advantage of the great view), to see my first glimpse of Mt. Rainier. It was stunning. Because I wasn't at the window seat, I didn't take a picture. On the way back, Mt. Rainier wasn't out. Here's a picture taken by someone smarter than me...it's just the peak coming through the clouds. Like an iceberg, so much more of it lay between the clouds and the ground.
- They have fantastic mass transit. I took a shuttle that runs from the airport to the downtown hotels. I rode a ferry. And the light rail. You can fly places. And they have trains. And buses. Oh, and cars and bikes and people on foot. The options are amazing.
- It is really stunningly beautiful. The mountains. The valleys. The water. The skyline. You can't help but say "It's so beautiful" over and over again. You feel that there are not words to describe it. You become very jealous of the rich people's views from their front and backyards.
- Coffee. You can get it everywhere. Since Starbucks and Seattle's Best started there, those are rampant. Occasionally you get an indie shop and that's nice, too. I went to one but I couldn't avoid beaming myself back to the mother ship--the birthplace of Starbucks. I asked and they said they sell way more in merchandise than they do in coffee. I took a few pictures and ordered a tall Pikes Place blend and was on my way.
- Pikes Place Market. It's open 7 days a week and starts out quiet and slow in the early morning hours. As time goes by, more vendors open their booths and the place is bustling. You can watch fish getting thrown, buy beautiful (cheap!) locally grown flowers, a do some fantastic people watching.
- The Underground. Informative and entertaining tour. It's amazing to see the history of a city.
- Bainbridge Island. Look up "quaint" in the dictionary and there's a picture of this place. It's a 35-minute ferry ride across the Sound and offers really breathtaking views of the skyline. The island itself has a small town feel. Lots of shops and friendly people.
- Downtown. It's a respectable size. Clean. Easily navigable on foot. Well, it's easy to navigate based on the grid of streets. Not so easy given the changes in elevation. It's like San Francisco that way. I think they should install benches at the top of every block so people can rest a bit. But because of this stadium-style topography, you get a view of water from many, many streets. And near downtown, the Needle. I was there on the anniversary of it opening. Great view and makes for an easily recognizable skyline.
- The wine country. Getting outside the city offers even more beauty. Everything is so green (thus, the Emerald City nickname). The wine was good; the vineyards and grounds were picturesque. One even boasted a group of peacocks.
- Snoqualmie Falls. Again with the beauty. The falls are 100 feet higher than Niagara's, although not nearly as wide (or as busy of a tourist spot). It was easy to enjoy without feeling crowded.
I'll do my best to get some pictures up by the end of the week.