Seattle: day 5

After a fitful night’s sleep, I was up early again to hit the city. The beds were comfy, but the top bunk was too hot for me! In any event, it was a good excuse to get up early and head out. I made it down to the waterfront and caught the 9am ferry out to Banbridge Island. This quaint little island town was very touristy, with lots of shops on main street. The entire main street was closed to cars, as they were reworking everything…pavement, pipes, sidewalks…it was a mess. Not much must go on here if they can completely shut down main street on a Tuesday morning!

Macchiato #1: Blackbird Bakery, Bainbridge Island. Good presentation, extra fluffy foam, beans a bit bitter. The apricot danish was delicious though!

I only spent an hour on the island, then headed back to the city. I had a lovely chat with some local residents on the ferry. We were swapping travel stories for the 25 minutes ride. I had finished up writing my postcards at the bakery and now needed to find a post office. While en route, I decided to find a barber on the way and get a haircut and a shave as well! I walked all the way up to 5th street (one thing I learned is that mathematically, Seattle has more hills than San Francisco. It originally had 7, but the city leaders decided there were too many and washed one down into the sound in the early 1900s!). The first hairdressers didn’t do shaves, so I though I would keep looking. On the first floor of that building though was the post office, so I sent my cards on their ways.

After a quick lunch at a burrito bar, I headed back to the hostel to get my coupon for my underground tour, and pick up the bear mace I wanted to return. I hopped a bus to the northern part of the city and arrived at the REI main campus. What a cool store! Think L.L. Bean on steroids. There was no home section, but there was an 80′ indoor climbing wall and an outdoor mountain bike test track. The lot was covered in spruce trees, so you really felt you were venturing into a hilly woodland and then this massive store was rising up out of the wilderness!

I left REI after making $50 of returns and walked back into the city center, as I had heard there was a good place to get a cut and shave on the way. I found Weldon Barber and stopped in. They had an opening in an hour, so I kept walking to the CafĂ© D’arte, another espresso bar I had heard about.

Macchiato #2: CaffĂ© D’arte. Delicious, and a side of chocolate!

While walking there I realized that I was right near the monorail, which I could take to the EMP museum, and it was only $2.50! Hooray for affordable public transportation. I also realized I wouldn’t be able to make it to the Underground museum and the EMP with the time that I had remaining in the day! Everything in Seattle tends to close pretty early, which was really annoying. I mean, bars were open late, but none of the other more touristy attractions were. This will have to be another thing to see on a return trip some day.

My shave was wonderful…hot towels and all. The vibe of Weldon Barber reminded me of Coccozo in Saratoga, the old gentlemen’s salon I got to attend in college, though the wine and cigars for customers was noticeably absent. About an hour and $60 later, I felt like a new man and headed back into the city. I grabbed a quick espresso and hopped the monorail to the Experience Music Project & Sci Fi Museum.

A note, it was cool taking the monorail. Zooming through the city at 45mph from the 3rd story was neat, but the monorail connects the space needle and the downtown high-end mall…it doesn’t get more touristy than that!

EMP is a cool idea for a museum. The are devoted to pop culture, encompassing movies, TV, and music. There were great exhibits on Nirvana & Hendrix (both locals), the new Battle Star Galactica series, and the technology behind Avatar. But the coolest wing had to be the sound lab. There were stations set up giving people the experience of playing instruments, and even getting some beginner lessons. There were guitar, bass, drum, keyboard, and vocal rooms. Additionally, there were stations to mix stems from commercial recordings, virtually spin records, jam rooms for multiple instrumentalists to play together, and a massive stage to perform and record on. I could have used some of that gear at my school!

By this point I was hungry, and as it turned out one of the best rated sushi restaurants in the city was right next to the hostel. This is the kind of place the locals go to. The service and food were incredible! I ate a ton of sushi! Full of food, I stopped in a the hostel to nail down travel details for the morning. I had some new roommates who also happened to be heading to the airport in the morning, so we agreed to make sure each other was up for the 4:30am cab ride to the airport. The were heading home to the Alabama & Tennessee after a post-undergrad trip to Alaska and then Seattle. Alaska is on my bucket list for someday, and I was super jealous of their adventure.

Details finalized, I headed back to the waterfront one last time to take some sunset photos. I wouldn’t exactly call this trip relaxing, as I pushed myself pretty hard. However, I saw a ton of cool stuff. My time in Olympic was rejuvenating. It was just so different from everything else I usually do…it never hurts to get a little dirty for a few days. It make you realize what is really important in your daily life. Seeing Seattle was exciting as well. It is certainly a cool city…everyone is so laid back and nice. People actually stopped for you at cross walks! Now, however, it is time to start getting ready for the new school year…here we go!