We were extraordinarily lucky in our vacation timing, as when we left the D.C. area there were temperatures above 100 degrees and thunderstorms causing widespread power outs. During the first few rainy days locals were apologizing for the weather; we gladly informed them that no apology was necessary. Our flight out to Seattle was straightforward; the only point of note is that this was my first flight where Southwest had both the technical capacity and legal authority to offer wifi on the flight. I passed on this revolutionary opportunity as I didn't feel like paying the fee, $5 if memory serves, although some future flight will no doubt dun me for my internet addiction. The airport itself was a bit more exciting as we got our Seattle transit smart cards: One Regional Card for All (ORCA). That said, we misused our Orca cards on our maiden trip and managed to miss the validation stations. We felt chagrined about that we docked our cards on the way out rather than the way in.
We used a Budget rental car place off 4th Street; it was a great location and we were relieved that they let us immediately leave our car in their garage as parking in Seattle starts at $4 for a half hour. We walked over to the Seattle Public Library on advice of Kate's coworker. The design is quite distinctive and modern with curves on the outside and any number of observation points and views out as well as towards the often open architecture on the inside. My favorite gimmick was the book spiral, depicted on the left. The hallway gently ramps letting bibliophiles walk through the entire Dewey Decimal System without needing to use stairs or elevators.
After seeing the library we walked down to Pike Place Market, known for its fresh fish and produce and thus quite a pleasing olfactory experience. We bought groceries and flowers and walked by the shops on the lower level. Kate was excited to see the original Starbucks, although she put off her pilgrimage through the line until later in the evening when the line was shorter. After seeing the market we enjoyed a late lunch at the nearby Crepe de France, which surprised us by the ampleness of their entrees. Our lodging was a timeshare in Birch Bay, some hundred miles to the North near the border, so we did not stay too late in Seattle. The journey up was beautifully adorned by fog which clung to the hills in a manner that I found difficult to capture on camera despite reminding me of Kurasawa films.