Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's Rarely Sunny in Seattle!

Daria Souvorova Sweet Daria's SeattleFor weeks, if not months, I have been obsessing with my trip to the West Coast. My best friend and roommate, Rafael Soldi, moved to Seattle a few months back and I have been missing him terribly. I got a week and a half off work and showed up in Seattle, from where we planned an epic road trip from Los Angeles up the coast to San Francisco.

Daria Souvorova Sweet Daria's SeattleI arrived in Seattle on Monday afternoon and began a comprehensive tour of the city. My first afternoon there, we had lunch at Oddfellows Cafe in Capitol Hill and walked down a steep set of hills towards downtown Seattle. I was surprised at the variety of cute little shops and cafes in Capitol Hill. Rafael's uncle was grilling us salmon that night, so we stopped by Pike Place Market to pick up the fish and veggies and look around the local shops. An incredible aroma accompanied the gorgeously colored assortment of flowers and bouquets available at every other stand.

Daria Souvorova Sweet Daria's Seattle
I have been dieting lately, and a few strawberries are as close as I dare approach a dessert, so we bought a carton and continued our exploration of the city. Contrary to the sunny afternoons I was led to expect, Seattle graced us with its customary grey skies and drizzle, but there is a certain romance in pacing cobblestone streets in a light rain with a basket of strawberries in hand. We stopped by Anthropologie, because I can't seem to keep out of that store no matter what state I find myself in.

Daria Souvorova Sweet Daria's Seattle
On Tuesday, we took a tour of all the lovely little houses in Capitol Hill, as Rafael needed to convince me that it is in fact somewhat logical to leave New York and move to Seattle. All the little houses, scattered up and down the hilly roads sport green turfs and cobblestone walkways, rosemary gardens and ivy and flowering vines climbing up the fences and porch columns. Each house has a distinctly unique architecture: a little pink house may sport stained glass windows and carved columns, while the white one next door a glassed in porch and a sloping roof. Rafael's dream house matched my outfit, so I felt the need to be photographed with it.

Daria Souvorova Sweet Daria's Seattle
After brunch at Volunteer Park Cafe, a cute little cafe island in the midst of a completely residential area, we walked to Volunteer Park which is home to beautiful forest and gardens and a surprisingly amazing botanic greenhouse. After fulfilling an odd necessity to climb into a beautiful multi-trunked tree, we headed towards the park's greenhouse.

Daria Souvorova Sweet Daria's SeattleAmidst towering pine trees and shrubberies, stands a Victorian glass enclosure of quite substantial dimensions. Inside we found three distinct microclimates: The central tropical enclosure held most of the collection's orchids and ferns. Leafy palms of different varieties supported climbing orchids and air plants on their trunks. Flowering trees produced huge white and pink bell shaped flowers that drooped into the walkways. The right wing held mosses and higher humidity ferns as well as bog plants, pitcher plants and a variety of other carnivores and the left wing housed an extensive bromeliad collection as well as many huge air plants that have spent years multiplying and sending out shoots to cover all of their branchy supports.

Daria Souvorova Sweet Daria's Seattle
The rest of the day we spent wandering the cute boutiques and walking around a completely deserted lake beach, which I hear tale is incredibly populated during sunny summer afternoons.

On Wednesday, we decided to take a tour of the Seattle Underground. Seattle, a city that was built directly on the sea level and suffered for many years from muddy streets and backwash into their sewage systems. After a huge fire that destroyed the majority of the city's commercial district, the mayor decided to raise the streets between ten and twenty feet to lift the city off the sea level and eliminate all of the sanitary issues. Businesses could not wait for the streets to be completed to rebuild their businesses, thus they built entrances on the first and second floors of their buildings, thus, after the new streets were built and paved, an underground city was created which for a long time was home to excess businesses and petty crime and is now a popular tourist destination.

Daria Souvorova Sweet Daria's SeattleAfter the tour, which although cheesy and touristy, was incredibly entertaining, we headed to Fremont where we had lunch at a cute greek cafe where we received instructions on how to get to Theo's, United State's last chocolate factory that produces bars completely from scratch. Theo's factory makes use of antique machines that they bought from closing factories and estate sales and prepare unique bars of chocolate in limited runs of 2000 bars. Beautifully designed wrappers depict animals and kids holding up figs and tossing hazelnuts and the factory shop has bars stacked over wooden cutting boards where chunks of chocolate are available for tastings. I bought eight bars to bring home to friends, and to hide in my drawers for special occasions.

Daria Souvorova Sweet Daria's Seattle
We strolled through the streets and entered little shops selling vintage clothes and letter pressed greeting cards and walked up the hill to the famous troll under the bridge (featured in moves like 10 Things I Hate About You), which is incredibly tricky to climb in a billowing white dress and ballet slippers.

Early Thursday morning we boarded a plane for Los Angeles California where we visited both Getty museums, the beaches and a variety of other spots, so check back in the coming days for photos of our road trip.

Also, I recently reworked my format to allow for larger photographs which you can click on to see even larger. Woohoo!

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