On the way into Seattle today we had the unique treat of seeing the participants in the Rock & Roll Marathon. They walked, jogged, and ran in the closed down express lanes of the freeway, and as traffic crawled by, we rolled down the windows to cheer them on! It was really inspiring to see the athletes giving their all.
We drove around downtown to check out the tallest buildings in the city, trying to decide which would give us the best view of the entire area, but the clouds were rolling in, so we decided to start at Pike’s Place Market instead. It was a good decision, because no sooner did we park, than the sky opened and it started to pour.
With not an umbrella in sight (apparently I am not a Washingtonian anymore), we made the Pike Street Hill Climb and ducked into the market, soaked but invigorated. What a hill! And with four children in tow (one strapped to my chest), it felt like a serious accomplishment. A network of staircases that climbs from the waterfront to the market, the Hill Climb attracts constant foot traffic made up of locals and tourists alike, and gives a gorgeous view.
The children and I had a great time poking around the market, leisurely strolling the halls I loved in my own youth. We stopped to rub Rachel the Pig, feed her some money and “check in” on Facebook, then had to visit the fish market. The kids loved watching them throw the fish around, especially Cameron, who had seen previews of the Fish! motivational videos. After the show, the girls ran up to get their photo taken with one of the fishmongers.
One of the best parts of a visit to Pike’s Place is finding the hidden shops in the multi-level maze that is the market. It’s like discovering a wonderful secret when you wander into a bead shop or bookstore or discover bags and knick-knacks at the end of a winding hallway deep inside the market. By then you are far from the crowds that dominate the upper levels, and feel as though you are privy to a little bit of magic. It was quite the treat to bring my children in on this memorable piece of my childhood.
Our exploring done and our legs tired, we finally crossed the skywalk and took the elevator back to our car. The rain was really coming down, so our original plan of Seattle Center would have to be tabled for another time. Someone asked where Bill Gates lived, so we decided a drive was just the thing. I set the GPS on my phone to take us to Lake Washington Boulevard and we schlepped through the city.
Despite the weather, it was a fun drive through Seattle, and we soon found ourselves on the shores of a volatile and gray Lake Washington. We drove to Seward Park, where we had a snack and watched the waves for a while. What a gorgeous place to spend an afternoon – it was really too bad it was raining!
Next we drove over the bridge to Mercer Island so we could see the lake from that shore before heading back to the hotel for dinner and a dip in the pool, exhausted from a busy day.