Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Planes, Trains, Ferries and Monorails

Dear All,

Our most recent adventure was to Seattle and Vancouver Island..

Zac happily slept and played through another flight as we drifted to the US far north west. On arrival in Seattle we were able to catch a train to downtown, and then a short taxi to our hotel. Yes - before we had even started our adventures we had been in a car, train, plane, another train and a taxi!

We quickly dropped our baggage and set out exploring.The first thing that we did was head to the water (almost ocean). To smell the salt brine, see the harbour movement, and feel that sea breeze almost brought a tear to the eye. We wondered along the waterfront for a while and then headed to the famous Farmers Markets. First we had to climb a million steps, with the pram, to get there - but it was worth it. The Markets are famous for fish flying through the air and of course fresh food. There were dozens of fresh flower markets, veggies, and the original Starbucks Coffee house. We bought some yummy cheese that wasn't orange - which is very difficult to find in America - and ate it with a fresh baguette and continued exploring. That afternoon, Zac took his first Merry-go-Round ride with his mother, his father ate a lot of seafood at local popular restaurant (another Man Vs Food find), we all rode on a ferris wheel over the water and caught the monorail back to the hotel. All in all it was a good day.

The next day we woke very early to catch the ferry to Canada. It was not a good trip!  Mama was thrown up on as we left the dock and got to wear parfume a la Zacarais for the entire day!!!  However, the rest of the day was pretty good. Dad tried to hire a mustang to drive around the Island on for the day, but Zac's seat didn't fit, so we ended up with a regular sedan. We drove to the most beautiful gardens and walked around for a few hours; through traditional Victorian and Japanese gardens, and a spectacular rose garden that took your breath away. We also saw a butterfly garden and ate at wonderful seafood restaurant with the best entrees EVER! The entire day it was wonderful to be on the ocean and to not be in America for just a little while. However, we noticed how much we had acclimatised to the US when everything was expensive, and we didn't have to tip!

Early the next morning, after a big breakfast at a cafe that sold sausage rolls, I got to visit my very first castle, set at the highest point of Victoria. It was very pretty, with each room 'restored' to a different period, illustrating the history of the building. We then returned to town and strolled through all the quaint little stores in the cold. The town reminded us a lot of Kiama so it was that small bit of familiarity that made it feel homely. We ate lunch at a pub full of cricket memorabilia, which Tristan LOVED! The funniest part was not a single staff member knew anything about the sport - so you could tell it was just a gimmick. After a long day we caught the ferry back to Seattle and our American life.

After a late night, Zac and Mum had a sleep in the next day and Dad went off to the Boeing factory to see the 747, 757 and 787 being made and got to walk factory floor. From all accounts he was like a kid in a chocolate shop. That afternoon we went to the world fair grounds and visited a very 'unique' museum, the (Experience Music Project) EMP museum, that focused on music, science fiction and pop culture. Despite loving each of these genres, I must admit that we felt very uncultured there. It was great to look at, but I don't think Tristan and I were 'artsy' enough to enjoy it. From there we went up the iconic Seattle tower for a beautiful view of the city and harbour, and caught the monorail and train to China town for a meal with flavour.

On our final day in Seattle, we went for breakfast in the IT district of town. (Seattle is home to both Microsoft and Amazon). It was AMAZING! I'm still salivating over the French toast and berry condiment bar! From there we went to the Pacific Science Centre and had Zac sitting all by himself at one of the floor activities - very exciting - and we went to a Tutankhamun exhibit with about 1000 other people. While very crowded, it brought back some great high school memories of Ancient History class. After a quick lunch of a meat pie (!) we caught a taxi back to the airport for the long flight home.

Seattle was great.  It was only a small city, and reminded us in some ways of Sydney. The food was great, I enjoyed catching public transport again, and it was so nice to spend some quality family time together. We also liked Victoria, Canada.  It was just like the little towns we grew up near and hold so dear. But most memorable of the trip was the water - we miss it much! It was unreal to spend a few days living by it again.

Sending you all much love
Tristan, Penni and Zac

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