For the weekend, Jasmine and I did something a bit more chill: we hung out in our local parks in Bellevue. While we say that we live outside Seattle, our house is actually a little bit closer to Bellevue, which is certainly on its way to becoming as big of a city as Seattle. Overall, the park scene in Bellevue is OK, nothing too crazy, with a couple of nice little parks to go check out.
The best part about the parks trip is that Bellevue has an awesome cafe scene – even a Kiwi or Aussie couldn’t complain about their coffee. So we certainly sampled both the wares of the cafes as well as the air-conditioning in the mall in between park visits. A very fun and chill way to spend a day.
Marymoor Park has a velodrome! We will have to take the bikes one day and go for a spin.
Marymoor is also right on Lake Sammamish. Now with bonus waterlilies!
The bird watching path was actually a nice little hike.
Downtown Park had a really cool circular water feature with waterfalls and a reflecting pool.
Also, I heard America loves its flags…
After nearly a year in the Seattle area, we still hadn’t hiked around Mt. Rainer even though it is there just staring always at us. So we drove around to the northeast side and hike up the Mt. Eleanor route to a delightful alpine meadow with some awesome views of Mt. Rainer. It was a very chill hike for us, maybe only 1500 ft elevation change, and only 15 miles so we just got to spend the day looking at the sights and eating bagels by a creek.
Overall, the hike gets a 9 out of 10 – and if it weren’t for all of those pesky mosquitoes at the start and end of the hike – it would have been a solid 10. We will certainly go again.
The start of the hike was about 1 mile to Lake Eleanor.
The alpine meadow was one of the coolest places to walk around, just for the views.
We kept walking back down the trail and prettiness continued to occur.
Then we got some stunning gorge views of Rainer.
One creature enjoyed the mosquitoes.
We decided to do our normal new city deal in Victoria, i.e. walk around entirely too much and try out the weirdest restaurant we walk by. Victoria is quite a good city for this, with only one issue: it was bright and sunny for 18 hrs a day. This is actually delightful, unless you are outside and forgot your hats… We had a great time and only got mildly dehydrated and sunburnt.
Victoria has a fair bit of good cafes and also quite good high class pub food. We also went to one amazing restaurant, Fishhook, which was a delightful French-Indian seafood restaurant. For tasty food density, Victoria is currently #3 behind Sydney and San Francisco.
As far as the walking went, there are actually a number of delightful parks and beaches to go walking in. The water was quite cold in the straight of Juan de Fuca, but that made it all the more delightful to stick your feet in. The only walking downside in Victoria was a lot of construction, but welcome to the Pacific Northwest – or maybe even the west coast in general.
Overall 4.5 out of 5 – would certainly go again!
The wind of the straight is perfect for kites.
The Haro Strait is a bit calmer than Juan de Fuca.
Now with Jasmine chilling by the lake.
Sunset over the Pacific. We got additional paraglider content.
Back before we went to NZ, I pulled my old Nutcracker sweatshirts out of storage and cut them up to make a small quilt. However, I wasn’t able to finish the quilt before we left. Due to luggage constraints, the quilt went into storage and it sat unfinished until we moved to Washington. By then, it had been long enough that the quilt was no longer on my priority list and it sat unfinished in a cupboard.
About a month ago, I came across the quilt again while looking for fabric for a different project and decided to pull it out and finish it. Much to my chagrin, it only took about two hours to finish. On the plus side, it’s done now!
I did Nutcracker for a long time…
Inspired by this, I also knit myself a pair of ballet shoe slippers.
The yarn was previously only used for the knit mice I made.
They’re a little silly, but I like them. I always wanted lace-up ballet shoes!
So in our lack of planning ahead, we went up to Victoria in British Columbia and our first day up was Canada Day! One of these days we should actually plan more…
In any case, we took the Victoria Clipper up, which I believe is the longest boat ride I have taken, being just a bit longer than the Inter-islander in NZ. It was in a surprisingly small boat since it is only people, no cars. Jasmine is the Queen of no motion sickness so she spent the whole time wishing for a more exciting ride, whereas I felt a little rough and used it as an excuse to have all of the Ginger Beer (I’ve been called worse) and ginger candies that I could. The ferry was actually quite nice, but I think that the sea plane is still a bit cooler.
As it was the 150th Canada Day, it was a bit hectic but quite a lot of fun. They went to town on the fireworks display over Inner Harbor so we were well compensated for our lack of 4th of July fireworks. And get ready for the next post with some more Victoria pictures!
BC Legislature building went all out with the Canada Day Festivities. No poutine pictures unfortunately.
Victoria had some surprisingly nice old buildings.
The aforementioned seaplanes.
Dear the US: Get better cafes. Victoria kicked Seattle’s butt in cafes.
And Fireworks! On the 1st.