Special Guest Post – Kari Visits Seattle

Editor’s note: More visitors! This guest blog is by Kari who visited a little over a week ago. We love guest blogging. The blog gets content without us doing a thing! 😀  Oh, and it means people visited, which is nice too.

Well, Will’s mom is a tough act to follow, but I’ll give it a go.

I visited Will and Mary Jo in Seattle and stayed with them for three days. A lot of the stuff we saw during that time has already been discussed on this blog, but I’ll try to make my contribution somewhat original by focusing on the stuff that stood out to me.

Day 1:

My first day in Seattle I was on my own, since it was a Thursday and Will and Joni had to work. Navigating Seattle by myself was a daunting prospect, but I managed to get to where I wanted to go, thanks to Will’s directions and Seattle’s accessible public transit system. And the fact that where I wanted to go was the Seattle Center and the Space Needle. It’s kind of hard to miss the Space Needle.

My first stop was the EMP Museum (Experience Music Project). Being a bit of a nerd, I enjoyed the sci-fi/fantasy stuff more than the music stuff, but the music stuff was interesting too. There were exhibits on Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana. One thing I saw was the guitar that Hendrix played at Woodstock in 1969.


What made it really cool was that nearby there was a room with a giant video screen that played music videos and live performances (watching a huge Christopher Walken boogie to Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice” was a highlight). One of the performances that was featured was Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, playing the guitar that was on display in the museum! It was kind of surreal.

As I’ve been getting into Doctor Who lately, I particularly enjoyed seeing the Dalek, which was part of the Icons of Science Fiction exhibit.


There were items from Star Trek, Star Wars, and the Matrix films, among many others.


I really liked the fantasy exhibit as well, but I was sort of wishing I was a kid again, as I knew the kid me would have loved it. You enter the exhibit through a big wooden door, and it is kind of like you’re stepping into another world.


Again, there are many props and costumes from famous films, like The Princess Bride, The Wizard of Oz, and The Chronicles of Narnia.


It was a pleasant surprise to see pages from Bill Willingham’s Fables there as well, which is a comic book series that I like a lot.


One annoying thing about my museum visit was the large number of kids that were there that day. I did smile to myself when I heard some young girls quoting The Princess Bride to each other in the fantasy exhibit, though. It’s nice to know that that movie is being passed on to the younger folk.

After lunch, I visited the Space Needle. I had to wait in line and cram into an elevator with a bunch of people, but it didn’t take as long as I thought it would, and it was worth it. Seeing the view of the Seattle skyline with Mt. Rainier behind it was pretty incredible. (By the way, I had no idea that Rainier is an active volcano. That freaks me out a bit.) I called both my parents and said, “Guess where I am!” My mom guessed correctly.


My final destination was the Olympic Sculpture Park, which was just down the street a ways. It was nice, but I honestly wasn’t overly impressed, as there wasn’t too much to look at. I like the sculpture garden in Minneapolis better. Still, it was near the water, and I could again see Rainier in the distance, so at least the view was superior to what I would see in Minneapolis! I walked over to a nearby city park and took a rest on a convenient grassy knoll before heading back to the bus stop and the Voorhees’ apartment.


After dinner, we took a stroll around the Fremont neighborhood, and I saw the Lenin statue and made the acquaintance of the Fremont Troll. Thus ended my first full day in Seattle!




Day 2:

Will and Joni took the day off, so they were able to join me for the rest of my sightseeing. Our first stop was the Pike Place Market, which to me was like a farmer’s market and an art fair combined. There were lots of stands and shops, and many things for sale: flowers, fish, jam, honey, toys, comics and collectibles, candles, soaps, cheese, clothes…lots of cool stuff to see.


After the market, we made our way to the Columbia Center, which just so happens to be the tallest building in the state of Washington and the second tallest building on the West Coast (according to Wikipedia, at least).


We went up multiple escalators and elevators to get to the observation area on the 73rd floor (the building has 76 floors total). As you might imagine, we could see EVERYTHING. Now, I don’t want to go so far as to say “Skip the Space Needle,” since it’s, you know, the Space Needle, but: At the Columbia Center, we didn’t have to wait in line, we didn’t have to cram into an elevator with a bunch of people (just one helpful man who told us which elevators we were supposed to take), and we got to view Seattle from a vantage point that was nearly twice as high. All for the price of $9, which is $10 cheaper!



Once we had returned to ground level, we walked down to the waterfront. We looked at the shops for a little while, but didn’t have much time, since we had to catch a ferry to Bainbridge Island. We hastily nabbed some lunch and got on board. I thought it was interesting that the ferry can be steered from either end, so it can just go back and forth and doesn’t have to turn around when it’s changing direction. Much more efficient.


I can’t 100% recommend Bainbridge, since there’s not a lot to do there (unless you a) like to shop in little boutiques and/or b) enjoy kayaking). But it is really pretty! I was particularly struck by how good the island smelled, as strange as that sounds. It just smelled really strongly of growing things – plants and flowers and trees.


We enjoyed the flora and fauna (which included a raccoon and a bunch of little crabs in the water), as well as some whimsical statuary.


As late afternoon approached, we caught the ferry back to the mainland. We got a great view of the Seattle skyline on the way in.


We headed back to the apartment, had dinner, and hung out there for the rest of the night, which was capped off by my being introduced to Lego Star Wars (the video game). I learned the feeling of accomplishment that comes from finally beating one’s opponent in the pod race after running the course approximately a bajillion times.

Day 3:

My final day in Seattle began with a tour of the Theo Chocolate factory. Well, technically it began with a trip to the Fremont Vintage Mall, since we had to wait until 11:30 for the tour. The mall’s claim to fame is that parts of the music video for Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” were filmed there.


The tour was fun. We saw the equipment that makes the chocolate and learned about the different steps of the process. Best of all, we got plenty of samples! Did I mention that the factory is less than a mile from Will and Joni’s apartment? No, I’m not jealous. Why would I be jealous?


After a quick stop back at the apartment to drop off our chocolate, we took the bus to the Ballard neighborhood. There are a lot of cool shops in the area, including Card Kingdom, a board game store. There’s a café next door where you can play board games too. As I said to Will, “That’s some serious nerdery right there.”


From there we continued on to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. They’ve already been covered on this blog quite a bit, so I won’t talk about them much. It was interesting to watch the boats go in and out. I was disappointed that we didn’t see too many salmon at the fish ladder – the sea lions swimming nearby may have had something to do with it. It was cool to see them, although they didn’t stay above water very long.


It was a beautiful day, so after the locks and a late lunch we strolled around Ballard for a bit. We stopped at a park and watched kids playing in the fountains, skateboarders doing tricks, and pigeons flirting with each other…or something. Then we caught the bus and returned to the apartment.


Final Thoughts:

My first (and hopefully not last) visit to Seattle was a success! I had a lot of fun. It seems like a cool, friendly, and socially- and environmentally-conscious city. And I couldn’t ask for better hosts. J Many thanks to Will and Joni for their hospitality!


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