Miscellaneous Seattle

I have just a few random photos that I wanted to post about Seattle. First of all, I want to rave about my awesome hotel room. I stayed in the Westin, which is the same place they held the conference last year, so I knew to expect a pretty posh room. In fact, it was basically the exact same room I had last year, but with a different room number and a different view. Speaking of the view:

Yep, it was awesome. I even had a sliver of a view of Elliot Bay during the daylight hours. The other great thing about this room, the king-sized heavenly bed. I adore this bed. It’s so comfy.

Right before I left on the trip, I had gotten some books in the mail. They were additions to my lovely little hardcover set I started last year. I was excited to bring Lady Chatterly’s Lover with me. I read it while at Smith (man, Smith seems to come up a lot lately) and I’ve been wanting to read it again.

But remember how I had to buy a book in order to eat by myself? This is what I picked up.

It’s from a young adult series called The Luxe I ran across while trying to find a new audiobook. They advertise it as The Age of Innocence meets Gossip Girl, and I’d say that’s pretty accurate. I am really into the books (this is the third in the series), but I am totally embarrassed by the covers and the titles. I would much prefer to carry my sophisticated D.H. Lawrence onto the plane, but I would rather read (at this time) the paperback.

One last photo from a final trip to Pike’s Place.

A random, but perhaps fitting, end to all these posts about Seattle.

Seattle Day 3: Washington Park Arboretum

During that networking lunch when I talked to the other attendee who lives in Seattle, she asked me what kinds of places I was interested in seeing. I responded that I wanted to take some photos and that I would love to go somewhere with trees in blossoms. Naturally, she suggested the Japanese Tea Garden at the Washington Park Arboretum. I figured out the bus schedule and left the conference just a little early so I could get there before it closed. I ended up missing a big announcement and demonstration for one of the authoring tools we use at work (oops), but that won’t matter so much when I’m 80 and I’m remembering the perfect afternoon I had wandering around.

First up, the Japanese Tea Garden.

I had lots of time before meeting up with Tom for dinner, so after enjoying the tea garden, I followed a promising path in the arboretum and found puh-lenty of trees in bloom. Some were hidden away, and I would try to hike up to them. Unfortunately, the muddy hills made that a little treacherous.

I couldn’t pass up the chance to take a self-portrait with such a beautiful background.

Seattle Day 2: Olympic Sculpture Garden

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I have been to Seattle a few times over the past couple of years, but I feel like I am always doing the same things. So during a networking lunch on Monday, I asked one of the attendees who lived in Seattle where I could go outside of downtown. She recommended the Olympic Sculpture Garden and a walk along the waterfront. Since the weather was still perfect, I was happy to follow her advice.

I walked along the waterfront for quite a distance. It mostly looked like this:

Then I sat down with the iphone and tried to figure out where to eat using the UrbanSpoon app. I’ve had a lot of success with this app in the past, but it wasn’t designed to work around my particular problem. I was eating alone. I never thought I would have a problem with this because I frequently do all kinds of activities on my own, and I have been to eat on my own before, too, with no problems. But I discovered on Sunday night (when I was so indecisive about where to eat that I ended up back in my hotel room at 9:00 pm having a protein bar for dinner) that it’s actually kind of an anxiety-inducing event for me. Here was my problem: I was in a new city, so I wanted to try a local restaurant. However, I didn’t know what to expect from a new restaurant. Was it formal? Casual? Dressy? Were reservations required? What was the cost? Is it the kind of restaurant where it’s ok to go alone? Or would I feel awkward surrounded by couples out for a romantic evening? I had no real way to tell because all of the reviews tended to focus on the food and the service. That’s all find and good, but what I needed was an explicit, “Go here to eat alone.” So I kept going back and forth and finally decided to try a place at Pike’s Place that sounded good and local, but it seemed more casual. I walked all the way down to Pike’s Place and climbed up all these stairs:

Actually, that’s a lie. I took the elevator just around the corner. (That turned out to be around the corner and up some ramps.)

But found the hustle and bustle of Pike’s Place in the afternoon turns out more like this…

around 6:00 and I wasn’t sure the little shop I had intended to visit would still be open. So I walked back toward the hotel and evaluated my options. Scary unknown restaurants vs. generic chain restaurants. And I would have to sit alone no matter where I went with nothing to read. Because we all know that having a book with you makes all situations less awkward. After calling Mike and Amanda for a pep talk (yes, I was that indecisive), I ended up buying a book at the nearby Borders and settled for PF Chang’s. I know, I know… chain restaurant. But I wasn’t feeling like much of a risk-taker at the moment. At least it was 100 times better than the Soy Joy I had the night before.

Coming Up: Blossoms, blossoms, and more blossoms!

Seattle Day 1: Pike’s Place and the Space Needle

When I arrived in Seattle, the sun was shining and it was nice and warm! In the past three years, I have been to Seattle three times and each time, it has been cold and rainy and dreary. Not that that kind of weather doesn’t have a certain depressive charm, but as a tourist, it’s so much nicer to wander a city and enjoy it when the weather is fine. I couldn’t wait to drop off my suitcase at the hotel and start wandering. Two blocks from my hotel and guess what… it started raining. Welcome to Seattle, I guess. Whatever, though. I’m from the South now. I know sudden downpours, so I just made my way to a covered area, along with everyone else on the streets.

But I didn’t just stare out the window. I found cover in one of the most magical of Seattle’s tourist traps – Pike’s Place! I can’t help it. I love the crowds, the neon signs, the flowers, the fish, the produce, the knit hats.

But deep down in the alleys of Pike’s Place, you will also find a secret exhibit of the World’s Largest Shoes.

I lucked out when I first arrived and those velvet curtains were parted. I actually got to see the shoes, and they were giant indeed.

Pike’s Place will also test your brain. I went to use the restroom, and had to try and remember if women are xx or xy. (hint: you can cheat by waiting to see where the other females go.)

The rainshower didn’t last long, so I was able to venture out again. There was the balloon man. He always looks so sad to me. Maybe it’s because the first time I saw him was three years ago, and he was slumped over a cup of coffee. It was raining outside then, and I’m sure business wasn’t great. He looked a little jollier that day.

A few more photos from the area:

I went from one tourist hot spot to another… it’s just so convenient when the monorail to the Space Needle is right outside my hotel. And since it was a sunny day, I did something I haven’t done since I was 15: I went to the top. It was windy there.

Coming up: The Olympic Sculpture Garden.

Spring Break… kind of

I was asked last minute to attend a conference in Seattle, so here I am. I thought I’d have more opportunities to blog while I’m here, but you have to sit in the lobby to get the free wireless. I’d rather watch Frazier reruns and What Not to Wear while lounging on my king-sized heavenly bed, so blogging will resume when I get back on Friday.