Going Dutch

This post is not about splitting something, but about sharing. Last week Josh and I shared Seattle with my great friend Irene. Irene is one of my far, far away friends and lives in Holland, hence the "Going Dutch."

Irene arrived Sunday afternoon (to be clear it was 10/10 since this is a bit of a delayed post) at SeaTac Airport. I was finishing up my work day when she arrived, so Josh picked her up. We all meet up at our little place and had a happy reunion.

By the time we all meet up, our favorite Ballard Farmer's Market had closed. We wanted to give Irene a taste of Seattle's Farmer's Markets, so we headed to the other big, year-round market in Fremont. This market is a bit more on trinkets, antiques, and crafts whereas Ballard is more veggies, fruits, and bakeries/treats. It was fun to walk around though and see some local crafts (and some old stuff). Plus I got to grab a crepe which always makes me happy.

After some local flavor, we headed over to Ballard. First, we decided to see verify the authenticity of the Dutch Bike Co. After perusing the bikes, Irene confirmed that the bikes were indeed very true to Dutch style. It even carried the baby box accessory that goes in the front of the bike to cart the kiddies around. However, we all agreed that the best part was the conference bike. Yes, a bike used to hold a conference. This bike is circular and rides around. As were were observing, the bike guy said, "hey do you want to ride it?" We all chuckled. He was serious, so I pipped up, "Sure!"

I think the three of us were all thinking, "who's going to drive this thing?" Luckily, the bike guy hopped on the driver's seat and got us rolling. It was actually hard work to ride the bike with just the three of us. I was definitely huffing and puffing and a wee bit sore afterwards. It was fun though - and fun to see the people in cars looking at us and thinking, "what the...?"


After our ride around town, we needed some nourishment from the excitement and decided to grab some dinner at Tutta Bella. Tutta Bella is one of our new favorite places for pizza - true Italian-like pizza. Then, we topped the evening off with some Molly Moon's ice cream and sorbet.

Monday morning we started out with a breakfast of champions at Macrina - this means we got muffins. Don't forget, the next food in line after froyo on the Heather list is muffins. Macrina has great bakery goodies. We enjoyed and then headed out for our big day about town.

Our first stop was at the infamous Pike Place Market. Since it's fall and no longer the big tourist season, there wasn't huge crowds. We meandered through all the booths tasting the fruits and looking at the speciality, local crafts. Along the way, I pointed out the original Starbucks and the famous fish throwing shop. We also ran into (not literally, ick) the gum wall. Yes, a wall of gum. Check out my face, it says, "gross!" Lastly, to get a true taste of the market, we picked up lunch at Three Sister's Bakery and moved along.

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In the afternoon, we took the long elevator ride up for an exceptional view at the Columbia Tower. This is a cheaper view than the Space Needle, yet higher. Plus you can see the Space Needle as part of the view (I mean, part of the Seattle skyline is the needle and if you're on it, you can't really see it!). Good deal. We lucked out with a clear, sunny afternoon with 360 views. "Oh! Beautiful! Gorgeous! Wish you were here," stuff (that's a French Kiss reference).


(I can see my house from here!)

We wrapped up the day with a quick tour of the Seattle Library (cool building) and some downtown retail shopping. Plus a quick stop at my Starbucks. And dinner at Monkey Bridge in Ballard.

Tuesday to Thursday Irene took a side trip up to Vancouver to visit another friend from her days up in Canada. She returned Thursday night and then spent Friday with us.

Friday was another day full of fun tourist stuff. Isn't doing tourist stuff great? It's like being on vacation in your own city. Plus, being a resident here makes it harder to do tourist stuff, so visitors are great for getting out and exploring. Since I visited Seattle as a little girl (yes, I was here on a family trip years and years ago), I've been wanted to check out the Underground Tour. Underground you say? Yes, part of Seattle is actually the second level. It was rebuilt after a big fire and they built up due to some sewage issues. It's a long story, but you can learn it on the tour or from Bill Speidel. It was great to learn some history of the city we now reside in, plus it was funny. This Bill must be quite the joker. We learned about Pioneer Square and the Richardsonian Romanesque architecture of the area.

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After the tour, we picked up a few "must take home to Holland" items for Irene and headed back home for some relaxation. Whew, what fun!

Irene - It was great to have you here! Glad you made it home safely. :-p