And when I say more, I mean Morton, a small yet significant small town that I visited on my way to Washington state's big city.My friend Liz, (remember her?), has been working there since August. I was ridiculously excited to see her and her new home.
Morton, once known as the "railroad tie" capitol of the world, is a town of about 2,000 nestled between Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens.
My favorite Main Street establishment was their phenomenal art gallery which houses a ton of gorgeous local art.
Other than that, let's just it's tiny, it's rural, and the scenery is magnificent. The photo doesn't do it justice.
Before the sun completely set, I continued on to my ultimate West Coast destination, Seattle. I met another friend from studying abroad, Gabe (remember him too?) at Quinn's Pub for a beer.
Literally a beer, because as soon as we were done we walked over to his friend's sustainable sandwich shop, Homegrown, for a late night snack. He had a Bluffernutter (Zoe's bacon, homemade marshmallow fluff, and crunchy peanut butter served hot on griddled pullman.) I had nothing more than a bite. It was almost gross, but also kind of amazing.
The next morning I awoke to a big empty house and a full kitchen. I cannot even express how thrilled I was to find that my friend's mom had placed a few breakfast options out for me. I had banana oatmeal, white green tea, and a baby oatmeal raisin-chocolate chip cookie.
And then I was off! Liz drove up from Morton and met me at Pike's Place Market for a day of exploration.
We did a lot of browsing and, quite unfortunately, no buying.
It was alright though because apparently one of my very distant relatives has an organic farm in Washington ;).We did, however, stop in a Russian bakery for Liz's piroshky.
In addition to Local Color, (an art gallery, coffee bar, and musical venue rolled into one) for me. I'm just going to admit it: I think I've gotten rather addicted to coffee in this past month.
Wasn't long before I was just about ready for lunch too and so we walked all the way up, up, up to Capitol Hill.Since I hadn't had anything the night before, I wanted to try Homegrown while also support friends of my friend, Gabe.
Everything's local (the farms are listed on the left chalkboard), sustainable, and apparently delicious. I had a beet salad and turnip soup.
Afterwards, Liz and I walked back down to the water, making sure to window shop along the way.
Then we took a ferry to the island of Bainbridge. There were incredible views of the city and surrounding islands the entire way.
Not to mention that we just had a blast being ridiculous. Having friends that I can be entirely goofy, no matter where we are (in the world), is awesome.
Bainbridge was incredibly cute... and closed, or at least most of the shops and cafés were. Fortunately, the eleven tasting room was very much open. For the small size, they really have quite a few taste winners. Not to mention that they're good and green a.k.a all of their after-tax profits go to charity and they are one of the only (or the only) carbon-neutral wineries.One hour later, we rode the ferry back to a light-up Seattle. I felt tipsy, hungry, tired, and as happy as ever.
Saying goodbye to Liz without any plan for when I was going to see her again could've easily put a damper on my mood. However, we have managed to hang out at least every six months since coming back from Strasbourg, and, I was in a rush to meet my hosts for Vietnamese in the International District.
I couldn't tell you what we ordered because we let our waiter take care of it. I can tell you that all of our dishes were amazing because I ate a third of each one. Good or bad, my food preferences and beliefs can be swayed by an authentic meal.
The following day (Monday) I went on a solo excursion to the remaining Seattle neighborhoods that I had yet to venture to.
My morning was spent in Colombia City, my late afternoon at the Seattle Center and Fremont, and lunch time?
That was in the U District with a very special friend of mine.
It was our first time meeting and my first time having pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup. I loved every minute of it.
Fast forward a couple of hours and I was in Queen Anne with my mom's friend.
She was sweet enough to treat me to dinner, and drive me over to North Admiral so I could see views like...
this. I know. Wow is right.
My last night in Seattle ended similarly to my first night--I hung out with Gabe and we drank beer. There are a few key differences though. One being that he took me to my final two "must-see" neighborhoods of Belltown and Bellevue. Two being that we also drank wine, another local wine. I couldn't have been more content.
The end. Maybe. I haven't directly mentioned this yet (I don't think) but I am judging the places I visit with an especially critical eye for relocation reasons. At this point I still don't have my heart set on a specific career or a new city... so, what I'm basically saying is, you never know :).