While I haven’t made much headway on my other four resolutions for 2007, I just accomplished the fifth one–a two-week vacation. From September 5-19, I visited Seattle, Vancouver (BC), and Portland. Two weeks was definitely the right amount of time to decompress from work and its typical concerns.
Of the three cities I visited, Vancouver impressed me the most. It’s the only city I’ve ever visited with a public transit system that can take you from the heart of downtown to the base of a mountain (Grouse Mountain). Stanley Park is a two-in-one attraction because it’s home to the Vancouver Aquarium too. Harbour Centre (in downtown Vancouver) has a Space Needle-like observation deck stuck on top of it that gives you a 360-degree view of the city. Vancouver was easily the most expensive of the three cities where I stayed. Some Canadians must be doing quite well financially, because there appeared to be an abundance of late-model Porsches on the streets.
Seattle was the first city I’d visited that had wi-fi on its public buses. It also proved to be as hilly as San Francisco. I got to enjoy plenty of great seafood there, though I didn’t see any flying fish at Pike Place Market. Seattle was also more of a college football town than I expected. There were fans everywhere in Washington State Cougars and Washington Huskies gear. There were also a lot of orange-shirted fans from Idaho (the Huskies opponent the weekend I was in Seattle). The most interesting thing about the Space Needle was the exhibit inside where you could view time lapse photos of Seattle over a 24-hour period taken from cameras mounted on top. The monorail was underwhelming, but I was quite entertained by the Experience Music Project and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. People in Seattle have a great sense of humor.
The only really “touristy” things I did in Portland were check out Vista House and some of the waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge. There’s a lot of forest and great hiking out there. The only thing missing was sunny weather (which Seattle and Vancouver had no shortage of).
One thing I wish I’d done in at least one of the cities was some cycling. Each one of them seemed quite bike friendly.
Now that I’ve spent a couple weeks in the Pacific Northwest, I can see why people are ditching California to move north.