Sunday, April 24, 2016

Groupon-ing Our Way around Downtown

Apparently I purchased some Groupons around the same time and they were all expiring in the same month. As we both recovered from a nasty cold, we rushed out and celebrated our crawl back to good health!

I heard that the Sky View Observatory has a better view than the Space Needle and is less crowded. It did not disappoint!

Columbia Center

View of downtown from the 73rd floor


Area where Mike works - posh

Area where I work - grimy

After taking in Seattle from high above, we headed over to Gameworks to indulge in an afternoon of video games ($15 Groupon for an all day game pass with some points for ticket-dispensing games). I remembered when Gameworks was opening for the first time in downtown Seattle in the late 1990s, my brother and I were super excited to test out the latest arcade games there. The arcade area hasn't changed much since then, but they've added a computer gaming area on the second floor. I think I'm getting too old for the loud environment, but I did enjoy spending our ticket game points at the photo booth!

Say "Cheese" - y

On another weekend, we got to know the seedier history of Seattle by taking a "Beneath the Streets" walking tour. The tour took us around Pioneer Square and shed light on what life in Seattle was like at sea level (now underground) in the downtown area from the 1800s through prohibition.

Shady Entrance to the "Beneath the Streets" Tour and
Pioneer Square with Chief Seattle's Bronze Bust

Entering a speakeasy from an alley

The coolest tidbit we learned was that all the glass squares on the sidewalks were actually the skylights built for the underground (or sea-level) passages for shady businesses after the city raised the ground to prevent flooding. The remnants of these skylights are everywhere around Pioneer Square!

Skylight glass from the surface and
Skylight from an underground comedy club

I'm glad that we can still do fun things around downtown and not just associate it with work!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Seattle, "der Lenz ist da!"

Ever since we moved to Seattle, everyone we met has been telling us how everyone here lives for the Spring and Summer. It's supposed to be exceptionally beautiful.

Well, Spring has finally arrived, and it's glorious! I can't help skip a bit every time we step outside when the sun is beaming, and the cheer in this 1930's German song really reflects how awesome this time of year is (yes, I'm aware of the sexual innuendo in the song but it doesn't negate the joy of the season)!

"Veronika, der Lenz ist da" by the Comedian Harmonists

The moment it got warm enough to think about heading to higher ground, we headed out to Twin Falls in North Bend just beyond Snoqualmie east of Seattle. We are a bit out of shape so the trail was just challenging enough to make it seem like we're getting a workout without completely discouraging us. I want to work towards doing longer and more challenging trails at Mount Rainier by the end of the summer.

Really cool plant along the trail

Twin Falls

On the way back towards Seattle, we stopped by Snoqualmie Falls, which has become a major tourist attraction, but it's well worth battling the crowds when the falls are at its fullest.

Snoqualmie Falls

Getting photobombed by our friend

We took advantage of another beautiful weekend to check out the Washington State Fair in Puyallup southeast of Seattle. State fairs are kind of the same from state to state with the requisite fried foods, rickety rides that you pray won't break while you're on it, and farm animals. But it was still worth soaking up some vitamin D while hanging out with friends!

Favorite food from the fair - warm scone with raspberry jam

The thing that did us in at the fair and had us calling it a day was me accidentally winning the ring toss. Poor Mike had to endure the humiliation of carrying the monstrous stuffed animal to the hero!