Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | August 15, 2016

A Long Overdue Adventure: #1

Well, it has been nearly two years since I last posted to my travel blog, and sadly this is absolutely because it has been nearly two years since I’ve taken a significant-enough adventure to blog about it. I have taken a couple of Alberta trips for work and family visits, but my Australian adventure in October and November 2014 was the last time I went somewhere new.  This is, in part, because I purchased into a condo build and was doing the  scrimping thing to make sure I could put as big as possible downpayment on the place, then because I needed to use holiday time to move out of my rental of nine years and into my lovely new home in November. Then came staff shortages on my team over the last seven months, meaning I had to put off travelling a little bit longer.

But finally, it is here – the vacation that has been itching under my skin for months.  I booked myself a points ticket to Vancouver and flew out yesterday so I could take the train to Seattle this morning – the first time I’ve ridden the train internationally AND my first visit to Seattle. I’m only here a few days before I’m back for the rest of my time off in Vancouver/Burnaby (thank you, tanking Canadian dollar!), but a new city to explore is just what I need.

I spent yesterday morning finishing up packing before a leisurely afternoon flight from Yellowknife to Vancouver via Edmonton, with a four hour layover in the airport. That allowed me to have a nice relaxing dinner at Chili’s, where I had a Margarita Mex Bowl, guac and chips, and not one but two different kinds of margaritas, because HOLIDAY. The first was a tropical sunrise margarita, I think, and the second a pomegranate. The first was a bit sweeter than I’d anticipated but good and the pomegranate a bit more tart – so maybe I should reverse the order next time.  Once in Vancouver, I taxied to the City Centre Motor Inn, which I’d chosen due to proximity to the train station for my early set off. There are pros and cons to this one. Pros: Very close to the train station (just a few minutes by cab), I felt perfectly safe, it was quiet, and it was cheap. Cons: It is definitely run down, which might be why the price is so low for downtown Vancouver. The A/C had been off all day so it was stifling, though there was A/C, and the bathroom looked like someone had just caulked over mould. The shower was also awful – half the water came out the tap, not the spigot, and it was either freezing cold or burning hot, no in between. Anyway, it was just one night, and I’ll know for next time.

I had some trouble sleeping as I do before early morning travel – I’m so afraid I’ll sleep through my alarm so wake up frequently to check it, then headed off to the Pacific Central Station. I treated myself to the business class car on the way down. I’ll know more to compare once I head back on coach, but what I can tell you is that you get to go in a much, much shorter line to check in.  I felt like a pretentious jerk getting to go ahead of people, but I am not going to lie, I liked the convenience.


Sunrise to see me off in Vancouver on my Amtrak journey to the States!

The ride was nice enough.  I might have dozed a little on the way to the border, but stayed awake surfing the wireless and looking out the window the rest of the journey. I was sadly not on the coastal side, but the view was still lovely. Once I arrived in Seattle, I got my bags and took a quick cab to the Moore Hotel, which is where my friend Robyn will be meeting up with me shortly. She flew from Yellowknife, as she’s not doing the Vancouver part.  She’s never been to Seattle, either, and we’ve never travelled together before, but I think we’ll be well suited (and it is just three nights if we aren’t).

Since Robyn wasn’t due for a few hours, I made my way out to do some exploring.  There’s a neat little park where there was music and seating and even books to read to kids nearby, which I think is nice. Then I t ook myself to Pike’s Market, which was just bustling. I didn’t explore too much, since Robyn and I will go tomorrow, but then made my way out to find a late lunch.


The famous Pike’s Market – I hope I get to see fish thrown tomorrow!

I ate at a place called Etta’s, and had the special, which was a brisket with lobster mushrooms and potatoes and some arugula and a balsamic drizzle, topped with poached eggs and toast.  Very, very good and just perfectly salted for my tastes.  I also had a mimosa and dessert, because vacation.  Coconut cream pie, which was phenomenal. Fresh coconut in it, and the whipping cream on top was not too sugared, just sort of naturally sweet.


When I was done, since I still had a few hours before I could officially check into the Moore, I went to the aquarium. I love aquariums, even when it is Sunday and crowded.  I pet starfish and touched a sea urchin, saw sharks and seals, and generally just had a good time. It is a very nice aquarium. And there were jellyfish!  I love watching jellyfish. They look like they are going “wub-wub-wub” like a heartbeat and I find it so calming.


This is one of the sea urchins I pet. They seem scary, but you can gently put your fingers between the spines and they kind of fold in to grab you.

After the aquarium, I walked back to the hotel and didn’t get lost, so points to me! I checked in. Robyn and I chose the European room. There’s no bathroom in the room – we share one down the hall, including showers. There is also no air conditioning, but I think it should be cool enough at night here that it won’t be too bad for this Northern gal (though I will admit I have the window open, fan on, and a cool cloth going at the moment after a hot walk outside), and it was about half the price of anywhere else in this area where we can easily walk to the touristy places.  And even though the price is lower, the bathroom appears better kept than last night’s cheap hotel, and the room is well kept and seems comfortable. The beds are even doubles, and I was expecting twins! There is a sink in the room, too, which is nice for the cool cloth/getting ready in the morning thing.


An excellent view of the shark.

All in all, I am already a little in love with Seattle as a travel destination, and am glad to have a friend to explore it with soon.  Tomorrow I think we will hit the market and maybe ride the terrifying giant Ferris Wheel, then head to the EMP Museum to nerd out. I’m very much looking forward to it.








  1. I’m planning on a trip to Vancouver BC next year so I’m interested to read your next set of blog posts 🙂

    • Vancouver is one of my favourite cities! 🙂 I think you will definitely enjoy your visit!

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