I’m doing the dishes, it’s August 10th, and I see a yellow leaf fall off a tree, slowly, almost like it’s dancing. It surprised me. Did I just witness Fall making its way in? It reminded me of a trip we took in 2015; because so far in my life, I had to wait past October for anything remotely resembling Autum.
It’s October, and I know leaves have changed colors, they’re falling off the trees, the wind is chilly and a jacket is much needed, at least somewhere in the world, but not where I lived. I was 5 months pregnant, and had the worst summer; the temperatures were so high that more than one day I was near fainting and had to vomit more than once – and this is a lot considering I never experienced morning sickness and it was all due to the heat – if I’m normally close to intolerance when it comes to the heat, you cannot imagine how bad and well beyond intolerance it got while pregnant. So we’re in the 10th month of the year, and it’s still hot, but luckily, we had bought plane tickets and a week-long trip planned, so I was about to catch a break, a nature filled break.
We flew into Portland at night, got a hotel room near the airport and slept. We woke up ready to explore. And this was one of those trips where renting a car was a very bright idea. The weather was perfect too, we needed no more than a thick sweater or nice warm jacket, you know, regular warm clothing.
We begun the day driving to Multnomah Falls. The views, the drive alone, the waterfall, all too beautiful. The “hike” up was very doable for our then 2 year old and my pregnant self. A nice, slightly sporty start to the day. Then we drove back into the city, walked around the South Park Blocks with a coffee in hand and munching on a croissant. And is it weird that we had never been able to jump in a pile of leaves? ‘Cause it’s true. So there went a good half-hour, nay, an hour, just laying over piles of leaves. And after a quick tour of downtown, we took off. Yes, we skipped visiting a brewery, which I won’t next time we’re in Portland, but being pregnant and not able to drink, it just wasn’t appealing.
We took 101, so we headed to Cannon beach, the iconic coastal shore, which is spectacular and we were lucky to have arrived just before sunset. It was an incredible scene. But it was getting dark quickly, so we continued our drive up to Seattle, surely when we finally made it, straight to bed.
We did the touristy thing our first day in Seattle, walking downtown, visiting the first Starbucks, had yummy dinner in an Irish Pub, and then got ready for Canada. Next day, early morning, we drove up and stopped in Steveston, because I watched Once Upon a Time for the first few seasons and it was really fun looking at a place were a TV series was filmed versus a regular set. It’s as charming as it looks on TV and finding Storybrooke spots around was weirdly satisfying. And we continued our way and went straight to check-in at the hotel, one small detail that changed the way I book hotels: avoid parking fees, and search for complimentary parking, ’cause it’s an expensive detail to overlook. And the first thing to do once settled was, clearly, a walk around downtown all the way to English Bay; then dinner, and voilà, bedtime for my toddler.
- The market in Granville Island, ate fresh berries and bought a toy for our so-far so-well-behaved boy and let him roll down the grass hill in Ron Basford park, besides the picture with the Canada flag comes out great.
- Stanley Park, we drove around and stopped in key spots, like the Totem Poles, which are incredibly interesting for me. I have a confession that could ensure months of bullying: I watched the Brother Bear movie and it just really stuck with me. I don’t know how accurate it is, and I’ve read about it a little after my Disney created this obsession for me, but ever since I’ve been particularly intrigued by totem poles and the Aurora Borealis is really high in my bucket list. Now, I know it was set in Alaska but these are authentic Totem Poles and it made me smile seeing them right in front of me.
- And to catch a grand view of the city from Grouse Mountain.
Back in Seattle after my successful first encounter with Canadian lakes and beautiful scenery, we went off to check the Space Needle off the bucket-list; I bought a flower bouquet in Pike Place mkt, not with the purpose of taking them back home, but because they were gorgeous and in an unexplainable way, it made me feel good to have them.
I remember when I took my first job, in a call center (I was 18 years old if I remember correctly), in our training session they made us watch a film talking about team work, efficiency, motivation… the stars of the film, were the employees of the Fish Market in Pike Place, so when I passed by and saw them throwing that big fish, whoa, I remembered. And it was one of those random things that made the trip more fulfilling.
Having heard Nirvana in my teenage dreams, yes, we drove to -the- house, and I felt a little bit of a creep. It sort of turned my stomach, the vibe; it’s a beautiful neighborhood and it’s not like you can see anything, but little bits of the news kept popping up to my head, it was the twilight, and the trees were overwhelming, so it created a very specific kind of darkness, and the spread out foggy views… it was quite the feeling.
But snapping out of it and back into the rest of the trip, the last two stops we made were the cherry on top. Immersing ourselves in the green, green, green of the Olympic National Park. I let my toddler throw pebbles in Lake Crescent, feed the ducks, and we tired him and ourselves out with a hike. And on the way back, ferry.
Taking the ferry was a dream come true. In my hometown in Mexico, we’re only familiar with ferries if you’ve either watched Grey’s Anatomy or have been in one. But driving your car into a huge ship as a passenger, that I had never seen or thought about. I, of course, knew about the ferries for the first reason I mentioned, so excuse me for seeming too lame, but I was incredibly excited. Another check in my list.