From Ireland to Seattle – A Reunion

The thing we love most about travelling is meeting other like-minded travelers from around the world! We are always curious about other cities and countries – gotta scout out locations for our next trip! Plus, by making friends with people from all over the world, we have couches to sleep on when we visit them – just kidding!!! 😉 At the very least, we have a friend and a local tour guide who can show us around when we visit and give us the insider scoop on what to visit and see!

So, while we were exploring Ireland on our Shamrocker Adventures tour, we met a lovely Aussie – M.

The 3 of us at the The Brú Ború Dancers sculpture in County Tipperary during our Ireland tour!

We have kept in touch with her since then. When she found out she would be coming to the States for work trip, we all got excited for the possibility of a reunion!

We started looking at convenient places to meet up and eventually decided on Seattle. It was relatively cheap for M to fly to and it was just 2-3 hrs south of Vancouver.

Once we settled on the dates and location, we started figuring out the details of our weekend away – coordinating arrival times and finding a hotel room. We ended up staying a Courtyard by Marriot in Bellevue – a city east of Seattle and across Lake Washington. Hotels in Bellevue were more affordable than staying in downtown Seattle. There was also an express bus (The 550 Express) that goes straight from downtown Bellevue to downtown Seattle, making it very convenient to get around.

We didn’t do much else in terms of planning for this trip… We had all been to Seattle before, so this was more of a catch-up/wander around leisurely (read: SHOPPING) trip! It was kinda nice to not have a packed agenda of sightseeing objectives! 😉

Ioana and I left Vancouver Saturday afternoon and headed south to Seattle. Whenever I think of Seattle, I automatically think of the TV show Grey’s Anatomy, which is set in Seattle. It was cool to head into Seattle and see the iconic skyline that is featured on the show.

Perhaps the ferry that Dr. Shepherd used to take to get to work?!

We arrived into Bellevue in the evening and had a lovely reunion with M! After dropping our bags off at the hotel, we headed out for a spot of dinner and caught up on our lives since we last saw each other in Dublin almost a year ago!

The next morning, we grabbed our Starbucks (conveniently located beside the hotel lobby!) and headed out to catch our express bus into Seattle. Our first stop of the day was the iconic Pike Place Public Market!

It is really amazing how there is such a large market with a huge variety of food, fresh produce, fresh seafood, fresh flowers and handmade crafts – right in downtown Seattle! There were shops and stalls in the covered market area and also some stalls outside. We couldn’t wait to explore all of these!

But first – a selfie!

Selfie with the iconic sign!

We didn’t have any plans (except needing to get something for lunch!), so we decided to just wander through the market.

Being a Farmers Market, there were loads of fresh produce shops and stalls. The vegetables and fruits looked really fresh and many were advertised as local to the area. I love local food – supporting the local community, reducing your food miles and the food is more fresh, tasty and nutritious since it gets from the farm to your table quicker!

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How can you possibly resist those big, sexy tomatoes?!?!?! The roma tomatoes just don’t cut it!

The Pacific Northwest is known for fresh and wonderful seafood, so we walked by several shops selling seafood.

The fresh seafood at City Fish Co.

Look at the size of the salmon!

There is one particularly famous place to get your fish, along with a bit of a show – Pike Place Fish Market. These are the guys who “throw the fish” – yup, literally! Youtube it or come to Seattle and see it for yourself! They sometimes even pull pranks on customers. If you’re at Pike Place, go by their shop and stay a while. There is always a crowd around this shop as their antics are quite entertaining! While we were there, no one purchased a fish, so unfortunately we didn’t catch a picture of a flying fish! ( 😉 couldn’t resist!)

Pike Place Fish Market

Another famous part of the Pike Place Market is the flower market. There is an entire section of flower farmers – with table after table of gorgeous cut flowers and beautiful bouquets. It just brightens the entire market up! And with prices as low as $5 – $10 for a colourful, bright and fragrant bouquet, no wonder pretty much everyone was walking around with a bouquet!

Gorgeous!

Sunflowers galore!

And you can’t talk about Seattle without mentioning Starbucks. The first Starbucks coffeehouse opened here in Pike Place in 1971 and has since taken over the world! We like our Starbucks, but not enough to wait in a line that wrapped around the block! So we just looked at it from the outside as we walked past…

We walked by Beecher’s Handmade Cheese and was captivated by their “World’s Best Mac and Cheese”. So that’s what we had for lunch! Check out our visit to Beecher’s Cheese and our cheesy walking-lunch here!

A delicious bowl of “World’s Best” Mac and Cheese – super cheesy and delicious!

With our Mac and Cheese in hand, we strolled outside to the Victor Steinbrueck Park. It offered a beautiful view of the Elliott Bay and the Seattle waterfront. We lucked out again with the weather – it was rather cloudy and windy this morning, but we got some warm sunshine in the afternoon. So we were able to enjoy the weather and the waterfront views here.

Victor Steinbrueck Park – just past Pike Place!

Spotted: Mario on a Totem Pole!

The waterfront view

Spotted: Seattle Great Wheel at Pier 57, Safeco and CenturyLink Fields in the background…

Reunited!

In Ireland, we started a tradition taking “gazing photographs” – because… they look super cool?! Anyways, we thought it was fitting to continue that tradition here! I totally love this photograph. Just don’t ask how many takes it took to catch all of us in this “gazing selfie!”

We started a tradition of gazing out at the gorgeous scenery of Ireland and Scotland… So it was only natural that we continued that tradition in Seattle!

That was the end of our “scheduled” portion of the day! Our plan for the rest of the day was to wander around downtown and perhaps do some shopping! 😉 And since our shopping adventures didn’t come with any epic photographs, we’ll share some cityscape photographs that we took today.

Market Memories Mural

A bit of a different view of this iconic sign!

Post Alley

Gorgeous braids of peppers and garlic! Was really tempted to bring some home, but I wasn’t sure that would get by the border guards and I really didn’t want to end up on the show “Border Security”!

Bricks and flowers!

Bricks and a mini Space Needle!

After a couple of hours wandering the shops, we decided it was time to head back to Bellevue and grab some dinner! More to come from our trip to Seattle!

From Vancouver with Love,

Ioana and Natalie

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