Layover in Seattle
I neither like nor dislike airports. I go, mind my own business, and it’s typically a painless process on the way to an exciting destination. I left Las Vegas early on Cinco de Mayo, knowing I had an 8 hour layover in Seattle on my way back to Bend. I actually don’t know why I purposely booked a long layover on the back end of trip. I created a rule for myself a few years ago that I don’t make important decisions when a) I have a migraine and b) when it’s dark out (don’t ask). So, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t thinking clearly when I booked this adventure, but here we are.
I hadn’t visited Seattle since I was in college and was considering moving. At the time it was one of the only cities that had a hospitality program that allowed you to obtain a Bachelor’s in conjunction with a 2-year technical degree. However, a couple of months before I finished Culinary school, SOU came out with a similar program and I headed to Southern Oregon instead.
The last minute plan was to try and check my bag for free at the gate so I didn’t have to store it, which is sometimes offered on full flights. No such luck this time, in fact it was one of those flights that is so empty they reiterate the importance of sitting in your assigned seat so the plane is weighed out evenly, a statement that seems so sketch to me and causes a considerable amount of unease at 5 A.M. In the end, the middle seat in my row was unclaimed so I could sit crisscross- it’s the little things!
This particular flight had an alarmingly high rate of adults that can’t follow instructions, and I developed a newfound respect for flight attendants who have to remind people of the fairly straightforward rules that are on every flight ever. I actually used to want to be one, but now I laugh at the thought because we all know keeping my facial expressions in check would be a full time job in itself. I don’t judge too harshly because what if they are new to flying but damn, can you imagine falling for someone only to find out they are one of those people that has to be told they can’t have their sh#t strewn on the tray table at take off? Or that light with the seat belt, yeah that means sit the ef down. Deal breaker.
After a quick 2 hour flight we landed at Sea-Tac and I silently scolded myself for not remembering to bring a backpack for walking around the city. I dropped my luggage at the airport storage for $8 and took the light rail to the city. It’s $6 round trip and takes about an hour to get there. I got off the rail at Westlake and walked straight into Nordstrom Rack. I didn’t even mean to, it just chose me. Before I knew it I was in line with a new backpack; ready to explore Pike Place Market. It’s the most picturesque of markets, so no descriptions were needed. I put in my headphones, and wandered aimlessly for 3 hours.
I didn’t go to the Space Needle because I’m lazy and didn’t feel like walking the extra mile. Also I’d been up before and I’m not so sure I need to see it again. After stopping on the back deck at Ivan’s for clam chowder, I had about an hour left and decided I should fill this time with an activity. The Great Wheel is a couple blocks back towards the market from Ivan’s, and at $14 it’s half the cost of the Space Needle.
I grabbed a beer before just in case it was a total snooze fest but much to my surprise there was a bar as you board, with completely sealable sippy cup tops so you don’t spill. I can’t believe these aren’t at music festivals, this is exactly what I need when I’m dancing. The wheel goes around 3 times and I was last to deboard, so about 15 minutes up in the air with amazing views of the city, I was impressed.
All in all I spent 2 hours on travel to and from, 4.5 hours in the city, and then I had an hour to kill at the airport (bar) before heading back to Bend. The last time I did this kind of thing was in Taiwan (see it here), and it was one of the best days of my time in Asia. Although the stars aligned with the timing and weather for this one, I may have to make a habit of doing this in cool cities if I’m feeling inspired!