Sleepless in Seattle: A Nostalgic Travelogue
A lot of things have changed since I last visited Seattle in June 2017. For one, I am no longer engaged as I write this.
Guided by a vlog I published immediately after that trip (see below), I am now navigating through memories I've long been avoiding, just so I can immortalize this beautiful Seattle trip in the best way I know how: words.
After all, despite everything that has happened, current situation included, I will always look back at the past year with pure gratitude. It was the year that I truly tested the expanse of my comfort zone, flew to multiple destinations on my own, and started discovering what life meant to me. I had a great time in Seattle, and it deserves to be remembered that way. :)
We were sleepless in Seattle. Literally.
Seattle was our first destination in the United States for this trip, and the week I spent there was mostly lived in enthusiastic grogginess. I was excited, for sure, but I remember feeling like floating from one activity to another, and waking up in the middle of the night to pitch black nothingness. Multiple times I had trusted melatonin to help me, but most times it still failed.
When I arrived at the airport from a connecting flight from Seoul, I was exhausted. The weather was uncharacteristically warm, and so my airport hoodie was awkwardly wrapped around my waist as I tried to lug around two heavy suitcases full of Filipino pasalubong (I'd brought them for my family in Chicago). I met up with Andrew, who had flown in from Tokyo just a couple of hours prior.
The day we arrived was also the day of the Seattle Pride Parade, and our Airbnb just so happened to be situated on the street where they held it. Since we couldn't access that road, Andrew had to drop me off at the corner so I could check us in and get the parking pass for our rental.
The roads were full of glitter as Pride Parade participants gallivanted in their colorful outfits, holding up equally colorful placards. I was wearing my go-to flight attire, which was a striped black and white shirt, high waist jeans, and white sneakers. Yeah... I should've done more research.
After a few minutes of walking around and pretending to know where I was going, I finally decided to ask a spectator where the building I was looking for was. He stared blankly at me for a good awkward moment, and then finally said, "Oh wait! I know that building! I live there!"
He directed me to a brick mid-rise across the street, one of the first few buildings I had passed when I got out of the car earlier. Welp.
After a successful check-in, we settled in, got comfortable, and took a looong nap. I don't remember what happened next.
The rest of the trip was a blur, mostly because I am putting these into words roughly 7 months after it all happened. But some of the highlights included the following:
- Finding this gem of a pizza place called Rocco's
Pizza is Andrew's favorite dish, and Japan is not exactly the best place to find it. So naturally when we arrived, this was number one on our eat list. We found Rocco's, a lively bar just a couple of minutes' walk from our Airbnb, saw a pleasing pizza sign, and instantly knew we had to try it out. We fell in love with the menu and the draught beer selection, making this bar a Seattle favorite. We ate here twice. We don't ever do that on trips, so that says a lot. Lol.
- Eating our way through the Pike Place Market
More food! The Pike Place Market is an absolute delight. I was so enamored by how well it was preserved, from the neon signs and wooden floors, to its charming comic book stores and dazzling thrift shops. Definitely right up my alley. But beyond its quintessential old era aesthetic, the food options were just glorious. Oh god, the food. We tried these awesome sandwiches whose restaurant name I can't remember (I'm sorry!!!), the iconic Piroshky Piroshky, the Crumpet Shop, candy apples from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and loads more I've forgotten but definitely enjoyed. When you have nothing to do in Seattle, just eat. Oh and the fish-throwing stuff was fun, too.
- Seeing the Space Needle!
I have always wanted to see this landmark ever since I was a child, mostly because I wondered if it was a UFO or a space station replica on earth. As it turns out, it is neither, but I was delighted by the tour either way. It was fascinating reading about its history and construction process, all while actually seeing the view from the Space Needle. Mount Rainier showed itself that day, too, and I thought it was beautiful. Funny story: Andrew wore a green shirt, so he lost his torso when we had our photo taken on the green screen. Seattle consumed him. He became Seattle. (See vlog for context. Lol)
- Visiting the Chihuly Museum
I love museums!!! Getting to know cities through museums is one of my favorite ways to travel as a tourist. There is just so much history, culture, and life captured in a single exhibition, and I can't help but marvel at them. The Chihuly Museum is a grand display of craftsmanship, beautifully created by renowned glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. This was right next to the Space Needle, so you can just imagine how gorgeous the whole setting was. My heart is full just thinking about it.
- Exploring the Seattle Aquarium
If I were more adept at science (and if I didn't have this irrational fear of the open sea), I might have pursued a career in marine biology. Something about majestic marine life just calls to me. I don't know if it's its elusiveness or its vibrant beauty, really, but I just know that visiting sustainably-run aquariums make me happy. (No sea parks, please!) We had a brief encounter with an octopus and went through all of the building's levels leisurely, enjoying every exhibit and reading through all of the small notecards. Little aquatic joys.
In between these highlights were moments spent alone in our Airbnb, working remotely from my laptop while Andrew was in Tacoma for work. I'd walk to the CVS down the road, buy myself bottled coffee and chips for breakfast, pass out in the middle of the day because of jet lag, and then a few hours later, welcome my uniformed beau home.
It's a little melancholic actually, writing all of this now. But nonetheless, my heart is grateful that any of it happened -- happy that now I don't have to forget.
Watch our Seattle trip below: