(Monday, October 3)
We spent the morning at the University of Washington. I kind of have a thing for college campuses, and for as long as I can remember, if my family vacationed somewhere near a college, we would walk around campus (and for those of you who have always wondered, that’s why I have such a large wardrobe of college t-shirts). I’m always surprised by how beautiful other campuses are (no offense, UK, but other schools blow you out of the water). UW was super pretty, mostly because of the huge trees that line most of the walkways on campus. Of course, it rained most of the morning (which we’ve totally expected on this trip), so I’m sure everything is more pleasant when the sun is shining.
It’s crazy how different the style of clothing is up here. I’m used to the bright colors of southern women on UK’s campus. But here, black is the color of choice. I felt a bit out of place in my muted blue rain jacket and bright green Chacos. And the hair dye color of choice? Black, as well. I’m very much in the minority with my curly, light brown hair. It’s wild.
Getting back to campus, the coolest part was definitely the Rainier Vista. On a clear day, there’s a big opening on campus with a view of Mt. Rainier. Unfortunately, as I said before, it was cloudy and drizzly, so we didn’t get to see the mountain. But way to go, Seattle, for taking advantage of your awesomeness. (I apologize for the lack of photos in this post, but I left my camera in the car because of all the rain.)
So, we know no day is complete without some awesome food. Thanks to a suggestion from our friend, Tiason, we visited a place in the U-District called Thai Tom’s. I never would have taken a second glance at the place if Tiason hadn’t talked it up. It’s super sketchy looking (much like the rest of the U-District, in my opinion), and is kind of a hole in the wall with seating for about 15 people. When you walk in, they hand you a menu that is written on a piece of wood. Once you select what you want, they ask you to pick a heat level from 1-5. I’m super glad Tiason told us about this because I think I would have just stared dumbly at the waitress when she asked. Tiason warned us that level 5 would probably kill us, so I ordered pad thai with a level 1 heat, while Eric ordered the same with level 2. The place is so small that you can’t help but watch them cook your food, so we got to see the whole process, which was incredible, mostly because there were flames flying everywhere and the cook didn’t burn himself. It was crazy. Once we got our food, oh my goodness, it was amazing. Level 2 pad thai is definitely the way to go. If you’re ever at UW, please go to Thai Tom’s. You won’t regret it.
And that concludes the Seattle portion of our vacation.
After our morning at UW, we hopped in the car to drive to Portland, Oregon. After scoping out the route, we discovered that we would be passing through Olympia, Washington, the home of Batdorf and Bronson coffee roasters, which produces our favorite coffee blend, Dancing Goats. Of course, we had to stop there to get some coffee for the road and pick up some beans to brew at home. First of all, Olympia is a super cute town. I wish we would have had more time to explore the place. Second of all, I’m pretty sure we were the only tourists at the coffee shop, and they must have thought we were seriously ridiculous. We were taking pictures and telling the barista how much we loved Dancing Goats coffee. I don’t think they get a lot of tourists who stop in just for the coffee.
Soon we were on our way again, headed to Portland. Once we got there, it was raining (of course), and we were starving. Well, I was starving, and therefore, super hangry (hungry and angry). Our hotel was right downtown, so we decided to walk to a dinner place (I’m a big fan of these walking vacations. I hate driving anywhere and would love to live in a pedestrian-friendly town someday). Somehow, after walking around for over an hour in the pouring rain, we still hadn’t found a single restaurant. Where on earth do people eat in Portland? At this point, I was pretty much hating this city. Eventually, we stumbled upon a sort of mall area and found a food court. Hallelujah. So our first Portland meal, where the food is supposedly super awesome, was in a food court. Bummer.
We returned to our hotel a little while later, cold and wet, hoping for a better Portland experience tomorrow.