Ah, I love having the day to myself in a foreign city. I think wandering around, without a specific place to go, is one of my favourite things to do. When the journey is the destination.
After leaving my hotel, I strolled down Denny Way and up Broad Street to get up close and personal with the Space Needle. I admired all the details of its architecture– the lines, angles. Several abstract designs surround the tower, too. Huge red tubes, massive silver ornaments and a monstrous zig zag.
The air was crisp, much like Toronto. Rusty yellow maple leaves covered the gravel sidewalks. Luckily I charged my camera; I was feeling snap-happy. A few friendly people stopped to chat in-between clicks.
I had heard about the Public Market down by the water, in the core of the city, and wanted to check it out. I opted to take my time and go by foot, instead of taking the bus, noticing lots of restaurants and boutiques along the way. I got to peek down the streets at the bay when I passed each block. The slope reminded me of Vancouver. The slope in fact, was part of a spit (a deposited landform made from sand that connects into the sea), I learned.
I reached Virginia Avenue where I had to carefully hobble down a steep cobble-stone path. I must have looked ridiculous; I had my arms out for balance like a tight rope walker, taking tiny steps in my heeled knee-high boots. Eventually, I got to the base street and was thankful to regain a normal walking pace. I made it!
Right away, I came across a band of lively jazz musicians performing on the street and joined the people clapping to the beat. The market’s spirit was contagious, and samples were plentiful. Every corner I took, I was offered to try a new type of pear. They were everywhere! I stopped to ask one of the employees why pears, in particular, seemed to have celebrity status. It was because they were in season. They sample different types of fruit or vegetables based on the month. Ahh, gotcha.
I also found samples of interesting jam, homemade dips and … my love, cheese. But alas, they were not the reasons why I visited the market today. I was on the hunt for Seattle’s best clam chowder. Apparently, it was glorious here in the fish market. After asking the locals where to find the best of the best, I was (unanimously, out of 5 people) directed to Pike Place Chowder. A small, café-like place tucked away in a charming alley, it wasn’t fancy (the bowls were paper, the spoons plastic) but it was indeed, glorious.
There were many different kinds (even a delicious smoked salmon one that I got to sample) but I had to try the classic – Traditional New England Clam Chowder. It had red potatoes, celery, onions, white pepper, thyme and of course, clams! De-lish. I wasn’t even hungry and I ate the whole thing. It had a nice, thick, creamy texture and they didn’t skimp on the seafood, either.
After staying awhile to digest, I went closer to the water and enjoyed the shades of grey sky over the land across. Nearby, I found a box of knit hats and gloves made by a warm-looking elderly lady – perfect for rummaging through. A man with a nice thick hat of his own was playing a tune on his piano behind her (yes, an actual piano was hauled outdoors).
Yup, Seattle and I got along well.