For our last full day in Seattle, we decided to try our hand at kayaking, which we thought would be a unique way to see what the city has to offer. On the recommendation of a friend of ours, we headed out to the University District to rent a couple of kayaks from the good folks at Agua Verde Cafe & Paddle Club. . After signing the requisite waiver and handing over some ID, I figured we’d get at least a couple of moments of kayak safety lessons. You know, in case we tipped over or something. Instead we were handed our spray skirts and led down to the dock. Moments after slipping into our kayaks and having the foot pedals (for rudder control not propulsion) adjusted, we were paddling the waters of Lake Washington.
Trish took to handling her craft right away quickly and expertly making her way across Portage Bay as I clumsily struggled to steer and paddle with any sense of grace or style. After a few minutes of getting my sea legs, I caught up to her, and we headed through the Montlake Cut into the large bowl of the Union Bay section of Lake Washington. Each side of the Cut is painted with colorful slogans from crew teams from the University of Washington, which borders the lake. It was fun reading the signs filled with chest-thumping bravado designed to inspire the local crew teams to victory from water level.
Emerging from the Cut we paddled to the right to take in what we thought would be a view of the Washington Park Arboretum, but instead turned out to be a closer look at one of the local freeways. In danger of ruining our mood with sounds of traffic on 520, we decided to turn around and head back to the dock to take advantage of the other service Agua Verde offers-good food. After a leisurely meal and a couple of beers we headed back to the hotel for the midday rest.
Sports Day continued into the evening, when I headed out to join a group of runners for a store run put on by the Seattle Running Company. I usually run alone during my training runs, but, since I was on vacation, I thought I would take the opportunity to participate in the local running scene. And I’m so glad I did. I had already run a couple of times during my stay, and had a great time running along Lake Union and through Pike Place Market. But running with the SRC I experienced a beautiful, challenging route I would never have found by myself. Tuesday night’s run is generally a four to six mile affair, and this evening’s route was a six mile loop starting at the store, shooting straight through a Capitol Hill neighborhood before emerging into Volunteer Park. From there we veered downhill into another neighborhood before getting in a little trail running in Interlaken Park and finally running through the Arboretum where we turned around and headed back uphill to the store.
It was a terrific, beautiful run, and I even enjoyed the unpleasant uphill in the park. But I was so intent on not getting lost, I stuck behind one poor soul for quite a long time during the run. When I was certain of the way back I picked up my pace a bit, but I felt I had perhaps ruined the other runner’s reverie. Turns out I had nothing to worry about, and after finishing up he and I chatted for a while and enjoyed the camaraderie running engenders.
Back to the hotel to shower and freshen up and then out for our last big meal in Seattle. We chose to stay close to home and ended up at Barolo,
where tradition and innovation merge in modern comfort; Italian ancestry and family spirit, encased in a warm and inviting setting surrounded by wax-dripping candelabras, Italian glass chandeliers, a 20-seat communal table, comfortable booths to watch the action in the room or a cozy table for two to catch a private moment.
In other words, a beautiful upscale environment which treated us to fantastic service and flavorful food. Trish chose fresh, organic greens for her salad, while I felt like such an “elite” with my radicchio, arugula, and Belgian endive salad which was much lighter than yesterday’s bleu cheese bomb. Trish’s smoked salmon filled ravioli caused her to swoon with delight, while my gnocchi disappeared quickly accompanied by, yes a white wine, CMS Hedges White, a Chardonnay, Marsanne, Sauvignon Blanc blend. It sounds a little like the vintners second-class line of wines, but it tasted delightfully French and was a Washington wine which I’ve been trying to stick with this whole trip.
A slow stroll back to the hotel, and our adventure in Seattle was over. We’re flying out tomorrow, and we’ll have nothing but snapshots and a lot of great memories of our trip to remember the city by. Speaking for both of us, we had a terrific time walking around and experiencing what the city has to offer. I don’t want to offer a laundry list of what we liked and how fantastic everything is, but Seattle and the surrounding area is beautiful, and the best compliment we can pay is the promise we will be back.
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