Alaska Cruise, Day 1, Seattle

First full day of the Alaska adventure, and all is good. We flew to Seattle with no problems, took the super-efficient light rail into downtown, checked into our (very) modest Airbnb (more on that later), and had a nice walkabout from Belltown to Pike Place Market.

The highlight of that evening was a random discovery of a super waterfront bar/restaurant, Six Seven. Perfect waterfront location with commensurate views, spacious bar seating area, and excellent bar snacks and wines by the glass. Discovered a new wine that I liked a lot, a Pinot/Syrah blend (no, really) branded Rudeo. I’d buy that again in a heartbeat and will try to find it. Combine that with a lobster roll-ish slider and a mussels/clams bowl, and all was good.

We had a disappointing stop in Pike’s Market at Matt’s on the Market, where I had expected to be wowed by the food and atmosphere, but it was only so-so. We didn’t do a full dinner; just the charcuterie plate, and it was good but not the great we expected. You win some; you lose some.

We returned to our amenity-free B&B for a reasonably restful night. The next morning we got a nice surprise. We planned to drop our luggage off at the departure terminal and just browse around in Seattle until the scheduled 1pm boarding, but when we arrived at 930am we learned that we could start the checking in and boarding process almost immediately. Sold! That gave us an extra 3-4 hours to explore the ship, make some event appointments and have an already-paid-for lunch on board.

The Seattle departure was thus easy and fun for us – we missed all the long lines and got to do some things ahead of the crowd. And the view of the city and Mt. Rainier was beautiful. Looking at Rainier, I wonder why it doesn’t get the same coverage as Mt Fuji in Japan – it’s every bit as dramatic as it looms over the city.

Back to the Airbnb of the night before. This is the Airbnb stay that will make me very wary of them in the future. Austere to an extreme (basically a bed and a small rickety table, no Wifi, no TV, no couch), house rules written by Attila the Hun (every possible transgression threatened with penalties, fines and expulsions), and quite pricey. Just generally low value and unwelcoming (think TSA). We would’ve been better off staying in a modest hotel near the airport. Lesson learned; look really hard at the Airbnbs. In my observations of late, their value relative to plain old hotels has gone way, way down. I’m still trying to decide how negative a review to write, but I’ll let it sit for a day or two before I write one.

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