If Amtrak was going to drop us off in Seattle, we might as well spend a day or two, right? We got back to our roots by couch surfing which we hadn’t done for a long time. It felt really good to stay with a total stranger again. If you’ve never tried it before, that probably sounds a little weird, but we like meeting new people and making new friends. It’s also nice to be reminded that there are humans who are good to each other for no reason.
After getting to our couch surfing host and getting to know him, our first downtown stop had to be that classic Seattle institution – Cow Chip Cookies. We sampled these cookies last time we were in Seattle, and couldn’t wait to come back for more. They’re as delicious as they are pricey – a gooey, chocolatey splurge.
But this is a post about Seattle, not cookies, so let’s continue…
But this is a post about Seattle, not cookies, so let’s continue….Our host suggested we go to the top of the Columbia Tower, rather than the Space Needle. We decided to go for it. Once we got to the 40th floor though, we decided not to shell out the large ticket price. There were huge windows everywhere, and glass doors in front of them, so we could see the city views from where we were! After a covert snapshot or two, we returned to street-level and headed off to the Seattle Central Library Library.
The library is an architectural marvel, so we were excited to finally go inside. My favorite feature was the “book spiral.” Four of the upper floors have a continuous ramp that slowly spirals you through the Dewey Decimal System without ever having to take stairs or an elevator to another floor. We also loved the magazine archives which have issues from pretty much every magazine you’ve ever heard of (and a good deal of those you haven’t). We had fun looking up birthday issues, and Stephani even found the very issue of Arizona Highways magazine that made her fall in love with and almost move to Arizona many years ago (she’s moved on).
Up next was the Seattle Underground Tour. Here’s the short story: Seattle was originally built on marshy wetlands that had a tendency to flood. After a devastating fire, the decision was made to rebuild Seattle a little higher (kind of like the underground tunnels in the Magic Kingdom) in order to avoid future flooding. The original streets were shored up with concrete walls, and new streets were built overhead so that what was once the second floor of a building was now at street level. This left a whole warren of underground tunnels which are full of all kinds of history – including the gravity-fed flush toilet which was new to Seattle, and invented by one Thomas Crapper. (For real!)
That evening, we caught up with our friend, Josh. We both used to work with him in Philly before he relocated to Seattle. We spent the evening playing games and reliving old times. And just like that, our time in Seattle was over. All that was left now was a mileage run on our way home.
What’s a mileage run? Well I’m glad you asked. A mileage run is when you take a very cheap flight just to rack up the miles. Usually this is done to achieve status with an airline. This time, we had a different goal. JetBlue was offering 75,000 points if you (a) had at least 50,000 points with Virgin Atlantic (the competition!), and (b) took any round trip flight with JetBlue. I have always wanted to take a mileage run flight before, but we never found one we could take that we deemed worthwhile. Until now!
Okay, stay with me… our ticket home from Seattle had a long layover in Oakland. We used that time to take a 45 JetBlue minute flight to Long Beach, California and then another back to Oakland. This cost us about 75 bucks, and earned us 75,000 JetBlue miles. Each! After that, it was just a matter of flying home to Philly and spending almost five whole days(!) trying to catch our breath before heading out on our next adventure.