Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Travel stories: The S in Seattle stands for Sounders!

So here we go for my second travel story. After doing my first one on Portland I guess I owe it to my Seattle friends to do them next to end the rivalry. We did Seattle as our next stop right after our stop in Portland last year. The same guy who hooked us up with his friends over there was now letting us stay in his flat with himself and his roomie.

Seattle is the biggest city in the state of Washington on the american west coast. With roughly half a million citizens it's equal to Portland but the city feels bigger and more wide spread. Seattle has a lot of Swedish history and I can really understand why, the weather is really similar to Sweden at least summer time. Another thing Seattle is famous for is it's coffee. Now us Swedes take our coffee seriously. We think the coffee served mostly throughout the states is more like brown tea. Coffee in my opinion should be black as midnight on a moonless night as stated by the famous agent Cooper. Now the further north you go up the west coast the better the coffee you get. In Seattle it's pretty damn close to what we drink over here. Maybe not a surprise since Starbucks hails from Seattle.

So we arrive at our friends house whom will now be referred to as T he lives with his friend D in the Fremont area of Seattle. Right away walking in to their flat i knew this is gonna be super. T & D are the most chilled out guys ever. Having met with T the spring before in Sweden I already knew he was a great guy. The fun thing with T is that in the same way I'm obsessed with the U.S and american culture he's very passionate about Sweden where he actually lived for awhile and learned to speak Swedish. Anyways, after unloading or bags in the bachelor pad we headed down the street to get to know our new friends over a few pints. Buckaroo tavern is one of Seattles oldest dive bars and me and M just love dive bars. They have a good 25 different beer on tap and the interior has seen it's better days for sure, but that only adds to the charm. They have an outdoor patio facing Fremont ave where we spent a few hours getting introduced and taking in the atmosphere. When we were as the wonderful untranslatable Swedish expression  "a bit round under the feet" we headed down to the more central parts of the Fremont area to see some of T & D's friends perform at the High Dive. The venue has shows pretty much every day of the week and is a perfect place to pick up on the local scene.

Early next morning we were woke up early by T to see the world cup game and what a way to wake up! T is the inventor of the fabulous drink the manmosa! The manmosa is simply a mimosa when drunk by men, a drink made of champagne mixed with OJ. Champagne is in Europe strongly regulated and can only be grown in certain parts of the Champagne district in france thus earning the right to put the name Champagne on the label. In the US however that does not seem to be the case and you can much to our amusement buy cooking champagne at the local food store for 8 dollars. So there we are enjoying the play offs of the world cup and drinking manmosas in the morning. Now that's vacation! T had to go to work so we spent the day exploring Fremont. We went for breakfast at Roxy's Diner after having it recommended to us by T & his friends. This place is just awesome. The menu is packed with great diner food and a good selection of vegetarian dishes. All to affordable prices. They also have a breakfast cocktail menu. Gotta love it! Well fed we hit the streets. Fremont is packed with small ma & pa shops as well as some great vintage shops where the best one was probably Fremont Vintage Mall. I'm drawn to make a comparison with Portland and the Mississippi area but it's not quite fare to either of them and Fremont doesn't have that hipster feeling you sometimes feel in Portland, it's more laid back.

After resting a bit T took us down to the Ballard district to have diner with him and his girlfriend M. The Ballard district has a strong Scandinavian heritage and is also where if you are lucky you might find the crews from The Deadliest Catch show when they are not out fishing crabs. After testing out some fine local microbrew that I'm sorry I cant recall the names of(think one was called Immortal IPA) T & M  took us to La Carta De Oaxaca. We told them we loved Mexican food which in the US is the best ever food to eat after all the bars are closed, but this was Mexican fine dining. If i remember right dedicated to a certain area in Mexico called Oaxaca. The food was gorgeous. Not only regarding to taste but even in presentation. We sat at their outdoor heated patio and had some nice margaritas with our enchiladas and what not. Sorry that i cant remember (might be the amounts of tequila) but i think it was rather affordable. Not cheap but good value in reference to the quality of the food. We continued to a bar with pool tables that i cant remember the name of but if anyone recognize the place from the photo please let me know! We had microbrew by the pitcher and it was an awesome night!

Next day which was our last we finally headed downtown to the touristy stuff. Our first stop was Pike place market and we grabbed the bus there. I can recommend to anyone traveling in Seattle to go by bus. Cheap, on time & safe. Also if you are traveling within the city center it's also free. Don't be afraid to ask people in the street to help you find the right station. People over all in Seattle are vey friendly. Pike place market was maybe not what we expected like most tourist traps usually are. Go there, take a photo and move on is my suggestion. Right by it lies the first ever Starbucks which was fun to see since its our place of comfort and good coffee in the US(bare in mind we don't have Starbucks in Sweden yet) but we soon abandoned downtown and headed for the gay area of Seattle, Capitol Hill. The reason I even say the gay area is that me & M have realized whenever there is a gay area in a city it's usually one of the most liberal and friendly areas. Now we were only there daytime but we did some great shopping and I really felt that if given more time I would wanna check out the nightlife there. Coming back to T & D we got ready for the big night. T is a huge football fan(Americans read soccer) and as it happened his favorite team the Seattle Sounders had recently signed one of Sweden's top players Fredrik Ljungberg. They were playing this night so we headed to a sports bar near Fremont to watch the game. The fun thing about American football(again read soccer) fans are that they are so passionate and they love to drink and sing their anthems but there is no violence! In europe the violence is kinda taking over the real sport. Myself, who was once caught up in a derby in Glasgow, Scotland between Celtic & Rangers love this approach to the game. Drink, sing and have fun. Wish we could adopt that here! Couldn't have been a better way to end our fabulous stay in Seattle. The sounders won, we had a great time and ended up drinking all night in some club downtown.

Before we left the next day we visited T's workplace. He works in a tourist shop and I tell you good people. This place is the best tourist shop I've so far been to. If your an aspiring globetrotter as myself and ever hit Seattle, visit this place!!! They have everything! Are you lucky enough T will be working and this kid will hook you up with whatever you wanna know about traveling. I'll leave you with their website if you're interested and a salute to Seattle in form of a video. Seattle! I will see you again!
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  1. The bar was called "Lock and Keel". Great Write up.