I got an email from Nick last night asking if he could write a post for my blog about our trip to Seattle… think he’s bored out there on his own! Obviously I said yes so here is Nick’s account of our amazing Seattle trip!!
Hello from Seattle,
I’ve pinched a section of Lindzze’s blog to fill some time in whilst I’m stuck alone in my South Renton Marriott, needless to say I’m pretty bored and have decided to write this.
To give a little background I’m out here on a course at a certain aircraft manufacturer, no prizes for guessing which and Seattle has been my home for the past 6 days and another 3 to go!
I had the pleasure of my fiancé Lindzze joining me for the first part of the trip (which is the bit I’m going to focus on) starting a week ago today in the Premier Inn at Terminal 4 LHR. This flagship Premier Inn is a little untapped gem for those flying out of Heathrow with a short walk to free buses around the airfield or Heathrow Express to the central terminal area, it’s our go to hotel when travelling from Heathrow.
With an early flight we decided to try the Plaza Premium lounge in T5 which did nothing other than impress us, as a Yorkshireman I love a good deal and getting sausages, fresh orange juice and a choice of eggs at breakfast goes a long way in my book. Having thoroughly pleased my taste buds and steering Lindzze away from spending many pounds in one of T5’s designer shops we boarded our 777-200 G-RAES to take us to Sea-Tac, being greeted by new White Company bedding and amenity kit in British Airways Club World, this continued with the new food service and presentation. Without being too biased it was a really pleasing service and a much needed change to the previously outdated Club World experience.
After an unusual dry flight (bar the obligatory champagne before take-off) for me we landed into a cloudy Seattle Tacoma and quickly made our way to the rental car building. Visiting America as true petrol head always conjures visions of big block V8s encompassed inside the fronts of Ford Mustangs, Dodge Chargers and Corvettes, so with that in mind we made our way to choose between Hertz’s finest Toyota Corolla or a Chevrolet Cruze, I opted for the latter as it’s the closest I’d get to a Chevvy this time. Driving into downtown Seattle being overtaken by cars as big as their dinners in our less than endowed Cruze to spend more in parking than we did in car rental does bring a sense of inferiority that could only be felt in this country.
Landing day for Lindzze and I always involves a bit of exploring, a nice meal then bed and Seattle is no exception. Having been here a few times Lindzze wanted to show me the must touristy spots which were on my to do list, so within quick succession we managed to visit Pike’s Place Market – a sensory overload or fresh fruit, fish and flowers.
Swiftly moving onto No #1 Starbucks which is over the road from the market and have the compulsory coffee and photo here, plus a little giggle that the Starbucks girl is actually topless! With coffee in hand (it was needed by now with a jet lag) we walked back past the market to see the Gum Wall, whereby it’s become tradition to stick chewing gum along a relatively short space of wall which has created a colourful and fragrant yet slightly nauseating experience, still a must see.
Day 2. Up early and greeted with wall to wall sunshine for a light breakfast in our room followed by a gorgeous pastry from Dahlia Bakery, we jumped in the Chevvy for a short drive (long enough to realise the right hand pedal only makes the car louder and not faster) up to Everett; the spiritual home of many aviation enthusiast. I had a little bit of work to do up there and had managed to get Lindzze in with me although she had to be a team blue employee for the day. Following this a tour of the Final Assembly Factory for Boeing’s long haul aircraft, a visit here is an absolute must for anyone remotely interested in aircraft. It is the largest building by volume in the world with its own microclimate and full of eagerly awaited new aeroplanes destined for airlines worldwide, it was an absolute privilege to go beyond that of what is normally seen by public getting up close to the processes, sounds and smells of aircraft production rubbing shoulders with the guys and girls working in this awe inspiring facility who are so clearly proud of what they do. Lindzze was totally mesmerised and I was so happy I got to share this experience with her, her smile was so big walking round the factory and I knew I’d done good as we say!
To prevent a massive come down after the exhilaration of being allowed to walk the production line seeing 787s, 777s, the 777X wings, a 747 and a 777 in build, we had a short drive around to the visitor centre to spend a small fortune in the Boeing gift shop and to enjoy a spot of lunch watching the endless procession of GA and the odd Boeing movement including the Dreamlifter on the ideally located runway (in full sun for the photographers amongst you) and oggling Air Italy’s first 737-Max8 with adjoining red carpet ahead of its imminent unveiling. Before getting turfed out to make way for the Italians we made our way to the beautiful Mill Creek area of Seattle to meet with a friend of mine and his fiancé and her dog for a few drinks and a spot of dinner before driving back into downtown Seattle at dusk.
Still riding the wave of excitement from the previous day we headed into Pike’s Place market for breakfast at Lowell’s on Lindzze’s recommendation, giving me the first chance to really take notice of the mountains that provide Seattle with a spectacular backdrop and appreciate how blessed we were for another day of endless sunshine. Soon after we were at the Museum of Flight which nicely adjoins Paine Field, another place of pilgrimage for the self respecting Avgeek. A fantastic facility that gives an in-depth history of flight and the development of Boeing. It is home to some real treasures of aircraft, many of which can be boarded and appreciated up close and personally.
After walking around here until our feet could take no more we sat outside and watched an enviable about of GA movements like nothing I’ve seen before, 2 aircraft on each runway almost constantly for hours and hours on end. We were then treated to two F- something or other fighter jets departing in close proximity setting car alarms off and giving the Americans a sense of pride which they would normally get from a bottle of spray-on cheese.
Once tired of their whooping and shouting we drove back into the city to ascended the must do Space Needle, which was unfortunately mid-renovation but gave unrivalled views of the breathtaking Mount Rainier and beautiful mountains surrounding the city. Wanting to complete our Seattle bucket list we then hiked up to Kerry Park to see the city from this famous vantage point, stopping off at the Seattle Centre Park and fountain en-route. Both of these are a must do if you’re lucky enough to get a warm sunny day.
For our last day with our now much loved Chevvy Cruze and in Downtown Seattle we started off at the crumpet shop for breakfast, unsurprisingly having crumpets. We had also dropped on it being the day of Seattle’s colour run, where we watched a large crowd of overly-fed Americans covered in powder paint and foam walking the three miles whilst playing on their mobile phones, as their shorts got slowly eaten by their backsides leaving us poor spectators seeing more full moons than a Jaffa cake advert. What a way to end our time in Seattle city centre!
Having mourned the handing back of our hire car and moving on to a rather sleepy part of South Renton I won’t bore you with the rest of my trip. Lindzze is now home after what looked to be another great business class flight on her favourite airline of choice and her trusty Airbus which she says is still her number one although Boeing has grown on her! I’m left out here finishing my training truly in love with this city. Whether it’s GA, biz-jets, commercial or military aircraft that you’re into, or just want to see a city full of culture and in the prettiest setting of any city I can remember, Seattle has it all with a genuinely warm welcome.
Thanks for reading!
Side note: thanks for reading Nick’s post, we took LOADS of photos and these are just a selection, if you want to see more of my photos I’ll be posting them on Instagram and Twitter. If you don’t already give me a follow please! Links: Instagram Twitter
Thank you for reading!