Ahhhhhhhhh...........  <-- That's what happened when I went to Seattle.  One big exhale and release.

The trip was exactly what I needed and wanted: A perfect blend of cathartic solitude and social fun times.  After all the no-baby drama from the past few months, I needed to get away and get lost in the beauty of someplace new.  I didn't choose Seattle; it chose me.  And I'm so glad it did.  

I jammed a lot of living into those five days and did tons of fun, interesting, and healing things, but here are the highlights:

Walking around Pike Place Market.  What a great way to get a feel for the region.  This was my first stop after checking into my hostel, and I spent my first afternoon wandering the market, eating, admiring, and just roaming with no schedule.  What a treat.  Between the abundant people-watching, the food, the street performers, and the craft vendors, I felt like I understood the soul of Seattle after being here for a few hours.  I wound up coming here every day for one reason or another.  It is an amazing place that really makes Seattle what it is.  Oh, and the water is gorgeous.

Speaking of the water...  This was taken from the waterfront area by Olympic Sculpture Garden.  I went for the sculptures and left thinking, "did I see any sculptures?" I mean, who can focus on art when this is the backdrop?  I spent a good chunk of time down here by the water, thinking and letting go.  Ironically, as I was letting go of some of my heaviness, the sun came out behind me and lit up Puget Sound and the mountains.  It was one of those perfect moments.


It was tough to leave the waterfront area, but I had other things I wanted to see and do, including a trip to Seattle's Central Library, which is an architectural gem, by the way.  When I was talking to a local about my plans, she recommended that while I was near the library, I should visit Columbia Tower and check out the views.  She actually suggested I visit the Starbucks on the 30th floor, which I did, but afterwards I decided to go up to the observation deck on the 73rd floor.  Seeing the water, mountains, and city from this perspective was amazing.


And speaking of amazing...  These were taken at Dale Chihuly's Garden and Glass museum, which is located in the shadow of the Space Needle.  It was one of the most awe-inspiring and beautiful museums I've been to.  It really blows your mind to see something that is usually so hard and rigid transformed into something fluid, organic, and natural looking.  And the color - oh! the color.  Wow, it was something.

The real highlight though, was the time I spent at Bloedel Reserve.

Bloedel Reserve was why I went to Seattle.  When I was researching Seattle, I discovered this place and read that they had a section devoted to moss.  As a pretty big moss fan, I was compelled to come here.  But then I read an article about this place in the Seattle Times and knew I had to come here.  The article talked about how Bloedel Reserve is the ideal place for people who are healing from personal tragedies and need a bit of solace.  BAM.  I knew I had to come here, and built the whole trip around visiting the Reserve.

It was more gorgeous than words can articulate.  Outside of the National Parks I've visited, Bloedel Reserve is the most beautiful and healing place I've been.  It's 110 acres of meadows, forests, moss, zen, labyrinths, ponds, and straight up PEACE.  It's wild yet manicured; isolating yet comforting.  It was the true highlight of my trip, and I will never forget the hours I spent there.

Oh, and the ferry ride back to Seattle was pretty cool, too:

My final highlight was seeing my oldest friend, Heather.  Let me clarify, she's not my oldest friend in terms of age; she's my oldest friend is terms of how long I've known her.  We became friends in the 2nd grade, and she moved away in 3rd grade, but somehow someway, we've remained friends all of these years.  I have to say, it's awesome to sit across the table from someone who knew and loved you when you were 7 years old.  Everything about our lives is clearly so different now, but in that moment, I looked into Heather's eyes and saw my 7 year old best friend.  I hope that when we're 87, we can look into each others' eyes and still see "us".

After dinner, Heather took me to Kerry Park, which offers a killer view of Seattle.  

It was a great way to end a truly wonderful trip to the Pacific Northwest.  I got exactly what I needed, and then some.  Thanks, Seattle.