A TRAVEL BLOG ↠ 12 HOURS IN SEATTLE

No typo here folks, you read that right — just 12 hours. One round trip, one 90+ degree day, and one infamously delayed airline to complete my Summer trip to the rainy city, Seattle. You might be wondering, “Why would anyone spend just a half day in a city full of hustle and bustle?” And to that I answer, “Why not?” It was a spontaneous decision, but being a young 22-year-old fairly fresh out of college I didn’t think I had much to lose. So let me tell you all about my quick trip up north.

To answer your first question, Matt (my boyfriend) is currently in the application process for physical therapy schools and the University of Washington is one of his top picks. We decided on a mini trip to Seattle since A) tickets were cheap B) we wouldn’t need to pay for an overnight stay and C) the majority of our mini vacation was dedicated to visiting Matt’s hometown in NorCal, so we wanted to spend more time there instead. Even though we didn’t spend that much time in Seattle, I would say we made our trip well worth the money!

Our first stop — The University of Washington. It was a quick stop at the school, but visiting here was the main reason behind our trip. Sadly, we didn’t get to explore much of their campus since the PT department was fairly small and we wanted to see other places as well. I think what made this trip a little more enjoyable was the fact that both Matt and I have already visited Seattle in the past, so there wasn’t so much pressure to go from destination to destination or having the fear of missing out. All the stress mostly accumulated towards the end of our trip, but I’ll explain that later.

I was actually super proud of Matt when we visited the department. He built up the courage to walk into the office of one of the professors there and talked to him for a solid hour. I don’t think I would have the guts to do that! Made our trip worth it even more since he was able to get some info and tips on the whole application process straight from the source. Now that the serious business was over, it was time for us to head over to Pike Place Market.

I didn’t mention this earlier but our flight was at 6:00AM and by the time we got out of the university, it was roughly almost noon. So you could imagine, we were freaking hungry! Aside from some snacks at an airport lounge, we hadn’t eaten anything all day and Matt was craving some chowder from the award-winning restaurant, Pike Place Chowder. Thankfully, we beat the lunch rush and got there around 2:00PM, so the wait wasn’t anything more than about 15 minutes. We decided to share a lobster roll and a sampler platter with 4 mini bowls of the New England Clam Chowder, Market Chowder, Seafood Bisque chowder, and Smoke Salmon Chowder. Let me save you the trouble– the Seafood Bisque Chowder is the way to go! Oh, and don’t get the lobster roll, just… don’t.

After our chowder-full lunch, it was time for a little dessert at Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt and boy did we make the mistake of not sharing a cup. Not saying their serving sizes are exceptionally large, but the chowder from earlier had us feeling some type of way. Matt got the marionberry pie and I just got the marionberry (it didn’t have the bread bits like the pie version, but I wish it did). Once we finished stuffing ourselves, we walked around the rest of the market and eventually hit the Gum Wall, where I made my mark in the town.

If you know me at all, you probably know that I absolutely despise beer (although I do find myself ordering a glass when my options are limited — hello, Guinness!). So what’s the next best thing? You guessed right if you went with a cold glass of hard cider, and what do you know — Schilling Cider House was not too far from the Pike Market (cheers internally)!  Yes, this bar was totally made for me, a shameless beer-hater and, to no surprise, our first order was a flight of 6 uniquely-flavored ciders. I can’t particularly remember the exact names of the ones I enjoyed the most (not because I was hammered or anything, there were just so. many. flavors), but I can tell you my favorite ones were the peach and pomegranate ones. Probably my least helpful tip, since they do seasonal flavors and we’re falling into autumn now. Other than the cider, I did really enjoy the setting of the bar itself. It had a ton of card games to choose from, and I guess I’ll insert here that I beat Matt 3 out of 5 in a game of Speed, ha! But we set aside our rivalry with a friendly game of Mad Gab. After a couple of more glasses and fruitless attempts at the ‘difficult side’ of Mad Gab, it was time to meet up for dinner with an old coworker of mine, Kevin.

Matt spoke very highly of the Amazing Thai Lao Cuisine restaurant, so highly that I would have felt like a damn fool if I skipped out on a meal here. If you couldn’t tell by now, we’ve had a lot of food on our trip so far. I’m actually amazed I was able to make room for our dinner, and boy was it worth it! We first shared an appetizer of  kao nam tod, a crispy rice salad — this is a crunchy, savory must-try! For our main orders I went with my safe Thai meal, a yellow curry with shrimp, while Matt surprised me with his order of kao poon. I didn’t feel too bad about my food of choice, seeing Kevin order the basic of the basic, pad thai. After a quick little game of catch-up and full stomachs, we made our way over to Kevin’s house for a brief tour and from there he drove us to the airport (true homie right there!).

Our first mistake planning this whole trip, and I failed to mention this earlier, was booking with Spirit Airlines. If you know anything about flying, you would know that Spirit is infamously known for delayed flights. Our original flight was scheduled to depart at 9:45PM but with all the inevitable delays, we didn’t take off until about 12:30AM. Matt and I were incredibly exhausted by dinner time, I had been awake since 4:00AM! With all the flight delay notifications, we took a little nap at our gate waiting for boarding times to be announced. I guess with us being so burntout, we didn’t hear our boarding time and completely missed it (by this time the departure time was 11:30PM). The front desk people were very short with us, rude, and didn’t even look us in the eye during our little fiasco! You get what you pay for. I was way too tired to express how stressed I was so I just sat there in awe, trying to figure out where we’d sleep for the night and how much we’d have to spend to get a new flight. After about 10 minutes, the Spirit employees told us we can board because, wait for it… THE FLIGHT WAS DELAYED AGAIN FOR AN HOUR. At this point I really wanted to express my frustration but I was just glad to have a flight back home. If there’s anything I’ve learned on this trip at all, it’s that I’m never booking with Spirit ever again, no matter how ‘affordable’ they are.

That ends my short trip to Seattle! I decided to try a different style with this post in particular, so let me know your thoughts. I’m going to try to make a set schedule for my blog posts, so please bear with me. Thanks for sticking around this far.

  Calamari, out.

p.s. thanks Matt for the pictures 🙂

 

A TRAVEL GUIDE ↠ THE LAND OF THE RISING SUN

It’s been a long time coming, but one year later and I finally decided to compile a concise list of tips and suggestions for traveling to Japan – so welcome to my first blog post! Being the crazy, Japanese enthusiast that I am, I did tons and tons of research for Japan travel, so here’s my personal take on travel tips so YOU don’t have to spend hours researching yourself.

Japan isn’t just about their sushi and ramen. Be adventurous and go outside the typical Japanese dishes you see (but I won’t hate you if you went to Ichiran Ramen more than once). Vegans, be warned– the “craziest” thing that I ate in Japan was an uncooked horse dish… I’m not telling you to straight up order a platter of raw horse meat once you hop off the plane, but just don’t be the basic tourist that just eats 2 or 3 different things. You might want to try okonomiyaki, yakitori, omurice, and if you have an extra penny or two, wagyu beef.

Their cafes are a huge culture shock. Whether you’re an animal lover, an otaku for anime, or a robot fanatic, there will most likely be a cafe for you! I was able to fit in not one, not two, but three different cafes during my stay in Japan – the hedgehog cafe, the robot restaurant, and a maid cafe. The Robot Restaurant definitely screamed tourist trap but it was surely a unique experience. There is an endless selection of cafes in Japan, like vampires, owls, gundams, etc., so be sure to add the best one that fits your interests to your schedule.

You need to go to Tokyo Disney. No, no I’m not suggesting you go, I’m actually TELLING you to go. You’ll understand when you see the prices. You can purchase a 1-day pass to Disneyland for what is roughly equivalent to $74 USD. Yeah, that’s  about $100 cheaper than the overpriced park hopper ticket for a single day at the Anaheim location. Need I say more?

Japan doesn’t play with their seafood. I’ll keep this part short, since the Tsukiji Fish Market is actually scheduled to change locations, but I’d say paying a visit to the largest seafood market in the world is a must. I took a tour (not recommended, you’re better off on your own) that gave me access to the restricted inner wholesale market, and it really opened my eyes to not only the culinary arts of seafood but also the hard work and dedication that is put into this business. There’s also lots of free samples, can’t say no to that!

Don Quijote will probably take most your money. Alright, I’m exaggerating but let me tell you, this discounted chain store will do your wallet some damage. Being the shopaholic  that I am, I paid multiple visits to Don Quijote and you’d understand too once you walk in there! It’s basically a one stop shop to find your snacks, toiletries, clothes, souvenirs, home goods, and Waldo (joking- but I wouldn’t be surprised if they had something of the sort). Wish we had one of these in Cali, but target will do for now!

Google images do not do their gardens and shrines justice. Heck, this blog post won’t do them justice so here’s a couple of my favorite ones – Kasuga Grand Shrine, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Hama Rikyu Garden, and Kiyomizudera Temple.

Their festivals do not disappoint. Depending on the date of your travel, you may get a chance to check out some really cool events! Luckily for me, I went during the Obon season, which is basically their annual celebration to honor the spirits of those who have passed. These festivals were probably my favorite part of my visit to Japan so here are the ones I attended – Asakusa Lantern Festival and Mantoro Lantern Lighting. Make sure to check an event calendar before you go!

Now, if you wanted to completely ignore all these tips and suggestions for your vacation or if you were just too lazy to read, why are you even on this post? Just kidding. If you’re more of a visual person, you can watch my little video compilation of my 10 day trip to Japan last August here!

Feel free to shoot me a DM on Instagram if you wanted me to share my way-too-detailed-it’s-almost-unnecessary itinerary sheet with you! It’s complete with addresses and prices for food and transportation.