Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – 16-June-2022 through 18-June-2022
It’s been a while since I’ve had an adventure like this, hasn’t it? One big adventure with a few different blog posts dedicated to it? Well… Here we go! Adventure to Seattle, solo-style!
A while back, I was granted citizenship to Austria, through an update to the Austrian Constitution allowing repatriation for descendants of those displaced by war. I compiled paperwork over six months, sent it all in, and then waited almost nine months. Then, out of the blue, I get a package in the mail – a very official package with my “Bescheid” included – my new citizenship!
Now that I have it, though, I need a passport… and the closest consulate is in Seattle. I haven’t been for a few years, and I’ve never had an opportunity to either explore the city on my own or to go backpacking in the Olympic National Forest… which happens to be right across Puget Sound from Seattle…
I’ve listened to the entire Halo soundtrack, every single game, through. 27 hours of orchestral glory, start to finish.
I’ve rocked out in the office to 10-hour playlists of techno, and I’ve burned gasoline to the discography of Angels and Airwaves, Breaking Benjamin, and more.
Somehow, I’ve never listened to a single complete album by Pink Floyd.
I mean, I’ve listened to Roger Water’s solo album, Radio KAOS, countless times… but the band that made him famous? Never listened. So that’s what I did on the drive up to Seattle. Listened through Pink Floyd, cruised the I5, and enjoyed the wind in my hair.
I arrived in Seattle almost exactly when I aimed to, thanks to some lovely lack of traffic, and quickly got myself checked into the hotel I’d booked. Now, I could have gone with a standard Hyatt or Marriot… and I could easily have booked some fancy penthouse suite on AirBnB… but frankly, both of those would have been expensive. I was hoping to just enjoy a relaxing adventure where I could get a sense of Seattle itself, and sequestering myself away in a fancy apartment or a sterile hotel didn’t quite do it for me.
Instead, I’d booked a room at the Panama Hotel – A hotel, to be sure, but one with an interesting history… It was a cornerstone of the “Japantown” district of Seattle, from before World War II. Which, if my dear readers remember their history, was emptied of its populace during the war. Those people were sent to internment camps in the central United States under the (hopefully) now infamous Order 9066.
When they were removed, many couldn’t carry all their belongings… and so stored them in the Panama Hotel. Many of those belongings are still on display at the hotel, in a small tea shop below the rooms. Their previous owners never able to collect them.
When I saw this hotel, I knew it was the right place to stay. It was perfect symmetry – I was in Seattle to reclaim what was taken from my Grandfather… so it was right that I at least pay homage to a group that suffered a similar fate.
Without diving into a history lesson (Feel free to review the links below, if you’d like more background on the Panama Hotel), the hotel was perfect. It was lived-in! The room was small, but comfortable. It had a shared bathroom and shower, and I felt like I was back on the road again during my earlier adventures, staying in small hostels. The tea shop was a perfect morning haunt, and it was perfectly located so that I could wander around town when I wasn’t at my Passport appointment.
And did I wander! I tracked over 7 miles every day of simple walking.
I wandered the waterfront, explored small parks, and appreciated the interesting graffiti art that I found all over town. I followed whatever path I felt at the time, and reveled in the freedom from timelines and tasks. The simple joy of wandering, and enjoying the world around me.
Two places of note that I want to mention specifically, though:
– Whiskey Bar. Aptly named, I went here two nights in a row to sample there amazingly impressive selection. Whiskey and scotch all the world over… including a brand-new Israeli distillery that ages their whiskey in the dead sea!
– Fuji Sushi. A restaurant right across from the Panama Hotel, they had amazing sushi! I mean… just enjoy the photos. I can’t even describe how good it was, and how full I felt by the end!
I don’t have too much else to add, here. I enjoyed, I wandered… what I said above. It was lovely!
As an extra – Some of the street art that I saw!
And, an extra-extra – but more somber extra – a beautiful memorial that I found one evening while wandering the city. A collection of names, but also of quotes from the past… a reminder that any conflict is always about death, and that each tallied death in a conflict is a unique life lost.