Tag Archives: Seattle

Planes, Trains and Automobiles – re-imagined

Again with the timing of appropriateness.

Twelve years ago yesterday, after about a month and a half of tinkering with the idea, Big Ring and I made our togetherness official. For 12 years, he has been my number one cheerleader, my number one support, my number one bestest friend of all. The things he has done for me, the love he has given me, the specialness of him, I cannot imagine life without his hand in mine.

And the story I share today is a perfect example of his greatness.

Let’s go back about five or six months. Back to those strained months before I got into dietetics.

I told Big Ring if I got in he would have to throw me a party, a big party, a huge party. This was going to be a party for me, but also very much for everyone that helped me. And there were a lot: those who helped edit my resume and cover letter;  who helped with the interview preparation; who took Little Ring so I could study; who helped me study; who repeatedly gave me confidence boosts; listened to me rant; acted as shoulders to cry on; even that one person who provided a word that my brain refused to grasp on its own.

Yes, I did lose a few friendships along this journey, as was mentioned in the last post, but there were so many others who became strong pillars for me. So many who I appreciate and love for all they have done. And I wanted to thank them in a huge way.

But the thing is, Big Ring, he’s not so much about the party scene, and planning a party, oh man, that’s like nightmare causing for the man. He offered an alternative:

“What if we went on a trip?” he suggested.

Dear friends and family, travel always wins!

Big Ring told me he was taking me away on a little adventure. He didn’t tell me where, he didn’t tell me what, he just told me the dates, and promised me oodles of fun. Trust me, he said.

Last month, his plan was executed.

I’m not the greatest at handling surprises. I’m not the greatest at letting go of control. It was a mystery right up to departure day, and it was a mystery every moment of every day of the tour. It drove me absolutely bonkers… and gave Big Ring great amounts of glee.

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Day 1 of the Katie Got Into Dietetics Mystery Tour: We stayed at the Opus Hotel, where we stayed 12 years prior, and went to the Queen concert as well as dinner at Chambar, a restaurant I hadn’t been to in years, but recall the last time drooling over the lamb. This time I got halibut, which wasn’t as tasty as the lamb of my memories, but the atmosphere and company were perfect.

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Day 2 of the Katie Got Into Dietetics Mystery Tour: We had breakfast at Musette, a cycling café in the heart of the city and watched stage 3 of the Tour de France. Again, with the atmosphere. The café had recently reopened after an extended closure. The tables were made using wood from the track of an old velodrome that was demolished in Antwerp. There were booths patterned after the shower stalls of the velodrome in Paris where the Paris Roubaix, a spring classic, finishes. The table flags were bib numbers from the Tour and the Giro d’Italia.

So much character.

And sitting there, eating my oatmeal (oh man, that oatmeal was good!!!) with morning cyclists all around me so enthused about the outcome of the stage, excitement all around, it was just a really perfect way to start the day.

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From there we walked along the Seawall for about an hour before picking up our suitcases and heading to the waterfront where we caught a HELICOPTER (!!!) and flew to Victoria.

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I’ve been on a blimp, I’ve been on a float plane, I’ve been on a stunt plane, but never a helicopter. It was awesome. It was a perfect day, and because it was a holiday, and he wasn’t having to worry about work schedules, the captain took us along the longer, scenic route.

So freaking beautiful.

The ride was only about 45 minutes. There was a guy next to me who I am sure had flown helicopters multiple times because he nodded off instantly. But me, I couldn’t stop looking out the window. I couldn’t wipe the amazed smile off my face.

A helicopter!!!

Day 3 of the Katie Got Into Dietetics Mystery Tour: We rented cruiser bikes from the hotel that we were staying at (The Oswego: super cute) and rode along the Galloping Goose trail. I was channeling my inner Euro as I rode in a skirt with a baguette in the basket. I totally loved it!

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And Big Ring pretended he was racing against Ryder Hesjedal 😀

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Those bikes were crazy heavy so I was pretty impressed with the 25 km ride we did. And I only had one skirt flying up incident… of course, it was right in downtown Victoria, a nicely congested area of people all around! Oops! There was also an incident of the baguette flying out of the basket subsequently getting run over by the bike. And yet, when we pulled it out of the paper bag for a picnic lunch a short while later, it did not look any worse for wear!

My favourite part of Victoria was Munro Books; I got completely lost in that bookstore. It was inside a beautiful heritage building, and the books were displayed so perfectly, with old wooden chairs situated throughout giving you an opportunity to flip through the pages. I didn’t feel rushed. I didn’t feel obligated to buy (although I did on my second return to the shop.) It wasn’t just the books capturing my eye, but the scenery and friendly atmosphere too. Everything about this place said “stay”.

Big Ring and I were also really drawn to Fan Tan Alley, a super narrow alley, just three to six feet wide and 240 feet long, that’s located in Chinatown. Going in, I didn’t know the history. The initial draw was an artisan ice cream shop we’d read about that turned out to be as good as its review. But the history of the building, the hidden nooks and crannies, the cute little shops, and the fact the alleyway was smaller than the width of my outstretched arms all had me wanting to learn more.

Fan Tan Alley was a hotspot for gambling clubs and opium factories in the early 1900s!

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Day 4 of the Katie Got Into Dietetics Mystery Tour: We travelled from Victoria to Seattle by ferry.

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I was soon discovering this trip was as much about the locations as it was about the modes of transportation. First we had the helicopter, then the ferry, what would be next?

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Day 5 of the Katie Got Into Dietetics Mystery Tour: We went to a baseball game. It was long. Really long. At one point I said to Big Ring: Baseball is like the Energizer Bunny, it just keeps going and going and going and …

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It is funny, though, the last time the two of us were at a Mariners game was 13 years ago when we were both working for the local news media, and hadn’t even yet developed a proper friendship, and were sent on assignment to cover local boy Justin Morneau’s intro to the big leagues. Needless to say, this time was MUCH different. Big Ring was not on the field shooting, and I was not in the men’s locker room blushing, or the press box dodging fly balls that landed in one journalist’s soda cup!

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Day 6 of the Katie Got Into Dietetics Mystery Tour: Homeward bound – on a train!

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Seriously, this trip was like planes, trains and automobiles – re-imagined!

And that, my dear readers, is the way this man loves me ❤

 

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Thai and oysters, oh my

It wasn’t Paris, Florence, Ghent, or Berlin. It wasn’t even Sonoma County. But it was an adventure!

Last week Big Ring and I went on our very first vacation with Little Ring. This was a huge deal for us. We had no idea how Little Ring would fare away from his regular routine, or for that matter how WE would cope. And as much as I had longed for Europe, tried my best to convince the more financially sound person in this marriage (take note, it’s not me) that a trip to London, the Amalfi Coast, and Amsterdam would be the best thing we could do, even manipulating Christmas into a travel theme (guess who got a new suitcase, fancy leather  ID tag, passport holder and travel books under the tree!) But alas, with me on a maternity leave pittance, that just wasn’t in the cards for us this year. Instead, we opted for Seattle.

I’ve never really viewed Seattle as a getaway, not with it being just a few hours drive away. But, I tell you, this trip changed my mind. Seattle is chock-a-block full of cute neighbourhoods, unique alleyways, great boutiques, and a spectacular waterfront that had me feeling like we really were on a proper vacation. Plus, it’s also home to the flagship REI store, which was pretty awesome!

And just like seemingly all our other trips, this one also had us discovering new cuisines. In Paris, we discovered a chorizo sausage and chicken pasta that makes for a great winter meal; in Florence, it was Margarita pizza, and a Mediterranean meal of chicken with rosemary and a side of angel hair pasta with a sprinkling of olive oil and Parmesan that has become my regular dinner before a long run meal. In Barcelona, it was paella. And in Berlin, for me, it was Bratwurst. Eating is a HUGE part of our travel adventures!

130524travelfoodFrom right to left: Paella in Barcelona; Cheesecake at Versailles; Funghi pizza in Florence.

Just a block away from our hotel (The Maxwell Hotel, which, for a hotel, was super cute… almost as good as the Inn at Northrup Station in Portland) there was a Thai restaurant that had the most succulent smells wafting out its doors every time we passed. There was just no way we could walk away.

Not knowing anything about Thai, I asked the server what he would recommend. And unfortunately, he confused me more than anything. Every question I asked, he’d throw a question back at me. Seriously, my head was spinning with confusion. Out of desperation, I opted for a red curry dish with pumpkin and chicken. I figured I liked pumpkin, so why not go for it. He told me medium heat wasn’t hot at all; he lied. My eyes were burning, my nose was dripping, but other than that, ohmygawd, it was freaking amazing! Seriously, I kept thinking about it for days after!!!

The next day, I ticked oysters off my to-try list. I don’t know what got into me, but I swear, almost as soon as we arrived in Seattle, I had a hankering that just would not go away. And so, we hit up an oyster bar at happy hour, and while Big Ring was more conservative with his choice of calamari, I went all out with oyster shots.

130524oystersOysters slithering down my throat one by raw one.

They were good, but, I don’t know, I didn’t see the greatness in them, they weren’t something I would dream of, or for that matter go out of my way to try again. If they were in front of me, sure I’d suck them back, but to order them again, nah, there’s far better things I’d much rather eat.

And so, there you go, another tasty vacation on the books 😀