We are members of a Facebook (FB) group called “Every Passport Stamp” or EPS in short. This closed FB group, created in October, 2015, are for serious travelers who would like to visit every country in the world. The FB group promotes discussions, sharing of information, and sometimes leads to group members sharing journeys together. We were seeking some information to help us to finalize our upcoming fall trip to several East African countries. Carol S, a member from the Seattle area, responded to our questions with super helpful information. We ended up booking the Ethiopia portion of our trip with the tour company she mentioned. Furthermore, a good portion of our East Africa itinerary ended up mirroring her recent trip.
Serious travelers love to talk about “travel”, just like hockey enthusiasts love talking about “hockey”. Another member, Carol G, also from the Seattle area, had posted a note on EPS to do a group meetup for members of Vancouver and Seattle area. So after exchanging a few chats with Carol G, we discovered that she and her husband had joined Carol S and her husband on the same East Africa trip that we corresponded for information. What a small world! We all agreed that meeting up at the end of June was a suitable date, as they all have trips already planned for July and beyond. No other EPS members from these two areas could join us, as they were all away traveling.
What a wonderful day it turned out to be!
Seattle is certainly not an exciting destination for Canadians from Vancouver. We go there to fly, to shop, or occasionally to attend a sports event or concert. But when you are there on a sunny day, hosted by locals who are travelers, it was an absolutely amazing day.
Carol G and her husband Jeff, an avid water sportsman, instinctively knew we would enjoy kayaking within the calm waters of Lake Union, and seeing the Seattle skyline from that perspective in contrast to the normal skyline view from land.They were spot on. We enjoyed paddling close to the different floating home neighborhoods on the Lake. Some were luxury modern structures, some vintage, all unique in their own way. Carol pointed out the most famous floating home from the Tom Hanks classic, Sleepless in Seattle, somewhat low key compared to the newer houseboats, but recently changed hands at two million dollars!We paddled for 90 minutes north towards the Lake Washington Ship Canal that flows out to Elliott Bay via the Ballard Locks, then back near the Gas Works Park. Then we paddled to the eastern part of the Lake before heading south towards the Museum of History and Industry.
Lake Union was very quiet when we first set out on our kayaks. But by the end of our kayak paddle, the lake was humming with other kayakers, stand up paddlers, tourist boats, and float planes taking off and landing in the center of the Lake.True to the nature of a serious traveler, after the kayaking, Carol G thought we would enjoy learning about the bohemian neighborhood of Fremont Village nearby.Fremont village is a quirky slice of Seattle, home to creatives, foodies, and techies alike, with public art, craft cocktails, and funky finds around every corner. Originally a separate city, it was annexed to Seattle in 1891, and is named after Fremont, Nebraska, the hometown of two of its founders Luther H. Griffith and Edward Blewett.Carol acted as tour guide and led us on a most interesting and comprehensive walking tour that started with the Troll under the Aurora Bridge, and ending with the colorful Sunday Fremont market.Among other highlights were:
- A 53′ Cold War era Rocket, standing below the building named “Saturn”
- A gigantic and controversial statue of Vladimir Lenin
- “Waiting for the Interurban” statue, which has been decorated in celebration of every occasion
- The Bridge Way Mural
- “Dinos” – horticulture sculptures of baby and mother dinosaurs
- The many great spots for craft beer and coffee, including Fremont Brewery
Lastly, Carol teased us to judge for ourselves whether Fremont is really the center of the universe!In the evening, Carol G and Jeff hosted a dinner for us, and Carol S and her husband Mark, at their marvelous lake view home on Mercer Island, located at the center of Lake Washington. This island is connected by bridges to Seattle and to Bellevue, and is considered to be a top-50 suburb in the United States.
Over a bottle of wine and Pacific Salmon grilled by Jeff, we had more animated conversations on which countries we have been to, which countries we have yet to visit, and which countries that should or should not be counted as countries. A most memorable day spent with like-minded people.