“So, where will you go next after here and Orlando?” A shopkeeper at Georgetown, Washington DC, asked me after we talked about the (my) trip there to US. Remember when I said that almost all of the shopkeepers in Georgetown were ultimately friendly?
“Not much. I’ll go to Seattle after the Orlando trip,” I said, putting back the bag I just looked around back to the display rack.
“Oh, wow! You’re going to west coast?” He widened his eyes. I looked at him, a bit surprised and confused seeing his excessive response. “That is totally awesome! People said west coast, especially Seattle is really nice. I, myself, have never got the chance to be there. It’s too far away from here,” he continued.
This time, I widened my eyes. Felt a bit surprised again as I thought that most of Americans must have been going to visit almost every states of their country. At least, Seattle, a seaport city at the west coast. Turns out, I’m just that fortunate to be able to visit a couple of states in US on my first visit there, while their very own residents didn’t always have the chance to visit other states.
It took me around 7 hours flying from Orlando, with 1.5 hour transit at Chicago O’Hare International Airport before I arrived at Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) International Airport. One thing I realized when I stepped down the plane was… Seattle has a super nice cold-weather, although it was summer. Enough for me to be in such a hot, humid weather on the previous city – I just felt that good to be in that weather in Seattle. This time, I was there purposely for another business trip. If previously I had sort of business conference, the event that I was going to attend in Seattle is more into a series of technical workshops to learn and adopt every single new technologies/solutions that year. Being there for a week with a super packed event schedules, I didn’t feel like a tourist. This city felt super homey for me instead… just like my own home-country that I don’t ever wanna leave.
I stayed at Sheraton Hotel, which is located just next-door to the event venue. I didn’t have any plan, really. As I came there without any intention to visit any tourism spot, I just spent my time exploring the city (mostly alone) in between the full event schedule. Ratih was with me for a couple of days, then she left back to Indonesia on the 3rd day because she didn’t join the event. It was nice though, because as I’ve said, the city is very homey. It was nice to walk around by myself just to visit nice coffee shops, bakery, or restaurant in town. It was a bit scary though to walk alone at night because there are less people here compared to the previous cities that I visited. Mostly what I did there is eating or chilling out at the cafe. :p
The Crab Pot Restaurant & Bar
On Sunday, we went to Seattle Premium Outlets located in Tulalip (well, I guess shopping still became the main destination from us). The outlets there are pretty much the same with Orlando, but since it was my last week in US – I didn’t think as much when I was in Orlando to buy something, lol. Almost one day walking around the outlets (I cannot believe how human body can be so reliable and forget about tiredness when it comes to shopping haha), we dropped by Walmart store near the outlets. I think it was the biggest Walmart store that we visited in US during our trip. The last thing to do that night was… of course, eating some good dinner!
We went to this seafood restaurant, called The Crab Pot Restaurant & Bar, which is located in Bellevue. It took some times to go from Tulalip to there. Luckily, we still managed to get the seats and ate there, even though it was almost the last orders. The restaurant is closed at 9pm. It was a nice restaurant though, and located just beside some kind of lake. We got seats by the window and we got such a nice view. There are several seafood (mostly king crab) package in the menu. We ordered one and ate together. Of course, it came the best along with… BEER! 😀 About the taste, it was not bad – but I prefer the Red Lobster Restaurant in Orlando. But still, it was great since we couldn’t find this kind of king crabs in Indonesia.
Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room
Everyone knows that the number one coffee chain around the world, Starbucks, was born at Seattle. They opened up their first store here. As a coffee drinker, I drank Starbucks a lot although its taste is not that great though. It was simply because they are everywhere. But, I never knew that hey, Starbucks has a great coffee too! This place is located not too far from the conference venue and our hotel. We just need to walk up a bit to the corner of Pike Street and Melrose before we could find this huge place. The atmosphere was great, the interiors were amazing, and the service was very nice too. And, they sell various menus which are unique and not available in any other common Starbucks store around the globe. And the most important thing, is of course, the roasting beans! The bean roasting is fully on display and designed as a centerpiece to the action inside the room — there’s even a one-way mirror above the restroom’s open sink area so visitors can watch the back end of the operation while washing hands. Love this place to bits! I can’t remember how many times I went there during my stay for one week there.
Microsoft HQ at Redmond!
It always feels great to be able to visit your company’s headquarters. Especially, since it’s Microsoft. Yes, Microsoft – with its huge and sprawling headquarters! From Melrose street at Seattle, we took a bus to Redmond. It only took us around 20 minutes to be there. It gave me chills when I finally set my foot on Microsoft HQ – or people often called as Microsoft Campus. There are around 120 buildings spreads around Redmond, WA area. The main point is the Microsoft Building 92, or the visitor center, where you can visit its exhibition and also the company’s store which sell a lot of Microsoft’s merchandises and PC accessories. You know what makes me felt great the most to be there? It was the moment when you are able to tap in your employee badge and got in there. :p
Mount Rainier National Park
The best travel trip is the unexpected one. It was my last Saturday in Seattle. Actually, it was my last day too since I have to fly back on Sunday. After a long week full of training, I just made a simple plan: to go around the town by myself and tried out every bakery and coffee shop in the city. However, the plan changed when I met my friend’s ex-boss. We spontaneously went to Mount Rainier, which is located (supposedly) 1.5 hour drive from Seattle. I said, supposedly, because we ended up spent around 3 hours on the road due to heavy traffic. However, it was a very nice experience. We went through villages or rural town area along the road until we arrived there, at the Mount Rainier National Park.
Mount Rainier is one of the highest mountain in the U.S. state of Washington. It is considered as one of the most dangerous active volcanoes in the world, but also one of the prettiest mountain where you still can see the glacier ice and snow even in summer time. And it is reachable! You just need to go trekking for around 1 hour from the national park, until you can see, reach, and touch the ice. The view is amazing too! And the best thing about this impromptu trip is that when you can met amazing people just like that. One of the nicest people I’ve ever known and I’m grateful for that. 🙂
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is one of the oldest public market located in the Elliot Bay, waterfront Seattle. What I love about Seattle is that everything is walk-able. I didn’t need to take any public transportation or Uber to go anywhere, any interesting place that I’d like to visit. My plan to go around the town and tried out every bakery (Seattle has a bunch of the nicest bakery in town!) came true at my last day there. I woke up early morning and went to visit the Pike Place Market at around 8am. We had a breakfast first, a very nice and simple breakfast with great smelled French coffee. I forgot the name of the restaurant, but the taste of the breakfast is unforgettable. There are a lot of bakeries and coffee shop, also nice restaurant in the market. The first Starbucks store is also there. What an amazing closure of my whole Seattle trip before I jumped to the airport at 11am and caught my other 21-hours long flight.
Homey. No other word can describe Seattle precisely from my personal view than homey. I wish I could go back someday. Or maybe living there? Getting education there? Who knows? 🙂