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Trip Report Salmon, Starbucks, Steves, Shopping & Sunshine: A Seattle Trip Report

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For several years Seattle was at the top of my "go to" wish list. For whatever reason I had a really strong desire to check out the Emerald City, maybe it's all the great things I've heard about how laid back the people are, or how beautiful it is with mountains and water everywhere, OR...

OK, it's also the hometown of travel guru Rick Steves. Well to be honest, not actually his hometown, but really close. Europe Through the Back Door is Rick Steves' company and having been on 5 Europe Through the Back Door tours I was itching to see how things worked at "mission control" in downtown Edmonds, Washington, a short drive from downtown Seattle.

In October last year I got an email from Europe Through the Back Door saying they were having a "Test Drive a Tour Guide" Saturday event in Edmonds. Not only would there be seminars on all the tours in their tour line up but almost all of the Europe guides would be descending upon Edmonds during this time and there would be a big tour alumni reunion.

When I read the email my mind started wandering. Wouldn’t it be great to meet the guides who would be doing my Basque Country tour in May? Wouldn’t it be great to hear about some of the destinations I’m yearning to go to (and some that I love to relive)? Wouldn’t it be really great to see some of the guides who guided my previous tours?

With all these musings swirling around in my head, I checked the Delta Airlines website to see what airfares were for mid-January. What luck I had on the first look, roundtrip airfare with taxes was just over $300 from Savannah!

It didn’t take much persuasion to convince my intrepid travel companion (my mom) to spend a long weekend in Seattle. I was able to get a friends and family rate at the Crowne Plaza Downtown Seattle. And after that, we were ready to see this gem of a city.

Friday, January 15, 2010
What was I thinking when I booked a flight leaving Savannah at 6:30am????

We arrived at the airport and were through security at 5:30am. Things were looking good when the plane was boarded and the door closed, we were ready to go! Then we sat there for 30 minutes while the plane was ….de-iced…why oh why did this have to be the coldest day in the southeast. Generally I wouldn’t be so concerned, but our flight time for our Atlanta to Seattle leg had been changed and we only had about a 20 minute connection time. For me this is tight…I get very antsy and usually prefer at least an hour connection time, but I didn’t have much of a choice.

Once we got off the plane we rushed to our connecting gate and we made it just in time. The plane was boarding and we got in line. As the gate agent scanned our boarding passing we got a very pleasant surprise….we were upgraded to business class!!!!! Ahhh, five hours in a comfy seat and breakfast was served! It really does pay off to be a skymiles member!

We arrived in Seattle about 20 minutes early and yes, it was raining! But the flight path to the airport took us right over the center of Seattle and it was clear enough to have great views. We made our way to the Grayline Seattle Downtown Airporter Shuttle (http://www.graylineseattle.com/airportexpress1.cfm) I had pre-booked tickets online before leaving home. I purchased 2 roundtrip tickets at $18 each. It was a short ride into the city and we were fortunate the Crowne Plaza was the second stop on the shuttle and we didn't have to ride around to 12 other hotels before we got to ours. Of course it was the opposite when we departed and we did see 12 other downtown Seattle hotels, but we're not complaining. However, days after I booked the non-refundable shuttle tickets I saw an article saying the new light rail line between the Seattle airport and downtown Seattle had just opened. Next time I definitely will try that option. I don't recall the exact cost, but I think it was around $3.00 for a light rail ticket into the city.

By 11:30am we were in the lobby and checking in. We had a great corner room on a high floor. It was comfortable, clean and had 2 huge windows. The view was of the I-5 freeway, but there was that “being in a city feel” to the view that we loved.

Coming up next...an afternoon shopping spree followed by a really good Italian meal!

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