I’m back from the Pacific Northwest – a little worse for wear (unattractive sneezing and coughing abounds) but with a satisfied feeling of successful travel and the smug afterglow of being moved into United’s ‘Economy Plus’ seats on the way home.
So, Seattle first. The home of Starbucks and Amazon, as well as the famous Pike Place Market, one unexpected thing which we noticed immediately was that its inhabitants can be a little… blunt, let’s say. I grew up in London, and no-one there ever hung up my call on the apartment entryphone in order to let themselves in first.
Not that this stopped us from enjoying the city, and we packed in the obvious tourist destinations: dinner in the Space Needle, taking the ferry to Bainbridge island, touring the EMP Museum (see Dalek, below) and the Central Library. Together with newly-minted Seattle resident (and not at all rude) Michele, I also checked out the Northwest Folklife festival which happened to be on: think handmade “SAVE THE BEES” t-shirts on Greenpeace activists, fun music and a strong smell of pot. (Less predictably, you can also buy jewellery there which is made from ammunition. It takes all sorts.)
For the second half, we caught an early Amtrak train down to Portland. (I miss trains.) Portland had an unexpectedly spread-out feel, but still with plenty of parks, green spaces and easy walking. “OUR FEMINISM WILL BE INTERSECTIONAL”, announced large letters in one window we passed, “OR IT WILL BE BULLSHIT”. We found fewer obvious landmarks to photograph, but kept eating delicious food: a particular shout-out to Salt & Straw, whose rhubarb crumble ice-cream is something special.
Some people have described the Northwest as their favourite corner of America. It’s not mine, but I can see why it might be. Both cities are certainly well worth a visit!
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