I got on the plane heading to Nirvana.
Dec 21 & 22
Squeezed my way through the narrow corridor. Pushed and shoved until I was seated. Fastened my seatbelt. Unfastened my seatbelt. My jacket, jumper, camera and huge purse — laptop included — had to be placed under the seat in front of me. This was going to be hard as I couldn’t even spread my legs apart to allow me some space into the feet area to reorganise the small department that was going to be my office, dining area and bed for the next 14 hours. In fact, a little less because this was a connecting flight from Valencia to Seattle stopping in Paris. No plug, little battery. No laptop.
Luckily for me I was on one of those atlantic flights that have a screen with many complimentary movies. I had never flown that long before and I had never seen this, so that was pretty exciting for me. Fuck work, I’m going to the movies. For the next 14 hours.
After 3 and a half movies I got to foggy Seattle, WA. Actually, Bellevue, home to Bill Gates and Microsoft. That is almost all I can recall from Bellevue, but I get the sense that Lake Washington is a nice area to live in. Then we went for a deliciously greasy burger at Dick’s Drive In in Fremont.
Next day a freshly baked red velvet cupcake was waiting for us at the Cupcake Royale near Pike Place Market. We didn’t know it yet though, but stopping for an espresso there was the perfect opportunity to taste probably the best cupcake I’ve ever had. Cupcake Royale was founded in 2003 as Seattle’s first cupcake bakery and café. The Emerald City is also known for it’s high coffee consumption, and, together with international coffee chains born here — like Starbucks, still operating at Pike Place since 1971 — many independent coffee roasters also produce the best espresso in North America.
This is, by the way, the first Starbucks Cafe:
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is a public market overlooking the Elliott Bay. The Market opened August 17, 1907, and is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers’ markets in the United States. It is a place of business for many small farmers, craftspeople and merchants. The Market is built on the edge of a steep hill, and consists of several lower levels located below the main level. This is also a very interesting characteristic about Seattle’s shoreline area. The city seems to grow downwards as there’s always one more floor beneath your feet even when you thought you were standing at sea level. The upper street level contains fishmongers, fresh produce stands and craft stalls operating in the covered arcades. Local farmers and craftspeople sell year-round in the arcades from tables they rent from the Market on a daily basis, in accordance with the Market’s mission and founding goal: allowing consumers to “Meet the Producer”.
The afternoon in Cobain’s home state, was spent visiting the EMP museum – Experience Music Project for a collection of Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix memorabilia and a musical experience in their sound labs. Seattle is home of grunge, also known as the Seattle sound, and also of musicians and groups like the aforementioned Nirvana and Hendrix, Pearl Jam, Soundgarten and Alice in Chains. By the way, the EMP is housed in a beautiful 140,000 square foot Frank O. Gehry designed building.
Finally, there’s also this building towering above the skyline that you’ll always see in pictures of Seattle. I didn’t get to see inside, nor the views from the top, but I have no regrets. As foggy as it got… I’m sure it wouldn’t have been worth it. Measuring 184m tall it is fancifully called Space Needle, but it hosts nothing more than a restaurant inside.
5 Point Cafe
The day ended tasting the hamburgers at 5 Point Cafe. At this point of my north american trip 2 winning burgers out of 2. No fails. Both tasty.
- In 1853, Doc Maynard suggested to name the new settlement “Seattle”, as an interpretation of the name Ce-Atl, the chief of both native tribes in the area. From 1869 since 1982, Seattle would be known as “Queen City”, but the current nickname is “Emerald City”, as a result from a contest in the 1980s. It is regardless also known as “Gateway to Alaska”, “Rain City” and “Jet City” (due to Boeing).
- April 8, 1994. Kurt Cobain is found dead in his Seattle house, beside Lake Washington.
- Beginning with Microsoft’s 1979 move from Albuquerque, New Mexico to nearby Bellevue/Redmond, Seattle and its suburbs became home to a number of technology companies including Amazon.com, RealNetworks and Nintendo of America.
Almost all photographs are mine.