Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Vacation: Seattle, Portland and the Oregon Coast (Part 1)

I just returned from our family vacation last week.  I had been keeping my expectations low for vacation.  Would I be able to sleep on the road?  (Thanks to insomnia, this is often a problem for me.)  Would I feel well enough to walk around and see the sights?  Would I be able to eat anything good (thanks to continuing nausea)?

I have to say that things went better than expected.  We went to bed early each night, woke up early and spent our mornings (when I had more energy) walking around and doing fun things.  When I began to crash in early afternoon, we returned to our hotel and Christopher took Burrito to the pool or somewhere else fun and I laid down and rested.  It worked pretty well!  I'm a bit disappointed that my nausea limitations kept me from enjoying as much of the ample foodie-friendly cuisine to be found on the coast as I would have liked, but I'm happy that I did manage to try a few highlights.  Now, I will simply have to return another time when I am feeling better!

In Seattle, we bought the City Pass and found it a great way to save money and simplify our site-seeing.  My favorite site was the Space Needle, which was a super classy way to see the views in Seattle.  They had one of the best gift shops among the city's attractions too.  I will have to return sometime to sip a glass of red wine from the top of Seattle.

We also managed to escape the rain for a day and get to the Woodland Park Zoo, which was fun for Burrito.  She also greatly enjoyed the Aquarium, which is super toddler-friendly.  In one section, kids can reach into touching pools and touch starfish and other underwater animals.  Christopher and Burrito, my science buffs, enjoyed the Science Museum quite a bit.  We took a Harbor Tour through Argosy Cruises as well.  The boat could have been a bit cleaner but our tour guide was well informed and entertaining and we enjoyed being out on the water.

My very favorite place in Seattle, though, was the Pike Place Market!  This, my friends, is foodie mecca!  If I lived in Seattle, I think I would do most of my grocery shopping there.  From fresh farm vegetables and fruit, freshly caught fish (I forgot how good fresh fish smell), handmade cheese (and you can even see it made at Beecher's Handmade Cheese), sausages and prepared meats, bakeries....This is the home of beautiful food!  We spent the morning of my birthday at Pike Place and it was wonderful.

We stopped at the beautiful Le Panier Bakery and sampled pain au chocolat along with gorgeous, colorful macaroons.  This may be hard to believe, but I had never had real French macaroons before.  Now I see what all the fuss is about!  We had orange and lemon macaroons.  Little pillows of joy!

We lunched at Pike Place Chowder; their clam chowder is the best I've ever had: buttery and flavorful!  We enjoyed the joy of the fish tossers and the live musicians and the general happiness among everyone working and shopping in the market.  And of course I had to visit the original Starbucks and grab a birthday mocha!  Pretty sure it tasted better from the original store!:-)

We also managed to stop by one of the most famous food trucks in Seattle and the United States: Maximus Minimus.  This pig-shaped food truck has been featured on a number of TV shows and is known for its pulled pork sandwiches, with either Maximus (spicy) or Minimus (sweet) barbecue sauce.  We also got some delicious mac and cheese that is prepared by Beecher's and available in the Market, topped off with some Maximus sauce.  It was all pretty crave-worthy. 

In my next post, I'll share why keeping Portland weird is not an unreachable goal and how the ocean is the best place to be, even if a toddler is nagging at you the whole time.

To be continued...


  1. This sounds great! Did you take the pix yourself? They're really good. I just spent a little mini break in North Wales in a place called Llandudno; it's really nice and there is so much to see and do there and so many good places to eat and great little quaint pubs all over.

    1. Yep. The pics are all mine and Christopher's.

      So jealous! I would love to travel around the United Kingdom. Will you get a chance to see any of the Olympic games?

    2. Well, I'm up North and the Olympic games are in London, and I have heard that the transport system is going to be chaotic when the games hit town. Also, I think the tickets are very expensive and the hotels have pushed their prices right up; what's new?

      I think I'll watch it from the comfort of my chair; it would be nice to go though I do admit.

      Well, Wales is beautiful and even though it's full of cities, towns and villages, you're never far from green fields, valleys and hills and mountains especially in the North. I'd love to see the States one day myself; there's so much to see, I envy you!

  2. Did you know that Seattle is one of the top 10 places in the U.S. to spend a family vacation? From your post, I can certainly understand why that's true. It seems like there is a ton of fun things the whole family can enjoy!

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