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Seattle to Minnesota

Posted on September 23, 2012 by Holly Hayes
Part of: Solo UK and France by Train

Greetings new and old blog readers! I have just begun my main photography trip of 2012, which I'll do my best to document here. The trip will be about six weeks long and starts with some family visiting in Seattle and Minnesota before continuing on to the UK and France.

The journey began on Wednesday, when David and I drove up from Portland to Seattle. We spent a few hours downtown as well as across the water at Alki Beach, taking lots of pictures and just enjoying one of our favorite cities.

Starbucks Headquarters

Starbucks Headquarters, which was originally built for Sears as a catalog distribution center in 1912.

Seattle Cityscape Seattle skyline

Seattle Architecture

Closer look at some Seattle architecture, including the Old Federal Building (1933), which I quite like.

Aerial View of Space Needle This awesome aerial view of the Space Needle and Experience Music Project was taken by David. (He is available for hire at Evergreen Aerials!)

Experience Music Project
Experience Music Project (EMP) by Frank Gehry

Experience Music Project

Tree shadows on the EMP

Space Needle

Space Needle with Monorail and EMP

Space Needle

Space Needle detail

Seattle Skyline The view from Alki was extra cool this time, thanks to a dramatic fog bank across Puget Sound.

Seattle Another lovely aerial photo by David

Between Sky and Sea A little boat emerging from the fog

Seattle Skyline The fog had completely disappeared by the time we left.

As you can see, the weather was lovely for our day out, as always. As always, you ask? In Seattle*?! Yes indeed, we have had the most amazing summer in the Pacific Northwest, with hardly any rain since June, almost constant sunshine, and temperatures in the 80s and 90s. So summer ended abruptly for me when I left Seattle! These were some of the relevant forecasts before I left:

Sadly, Seattle was the only part of the journey on which David will be joining me. He recently began getting lots of work for his cool new small business, and doesn't want to leave just as it's getting going. We also have a tighter travel budget than usual this year, and I can travel cheaper alone - I was able to get all my flights for free using miles and rewards, and have booked some seriously small hotel rooms that would never work for the two of us. So I will be doing my longest solo trip ever, working hard at getting lots of photos and information for Go Historic and Art History Images.

So, after a nice seafood dinner, David drove back down to Portland and I stayed at my aunt's house. Then, at the ungodly hour of 6:54am the next morning, she and I flew to Minneapolis-St. Paul so we can attend my cousin's wedding on Saturday. (Portland also flies direct to MSP, but I thought it would be fun to visit Seattle and spend a bit of time with my aunt. I was right.)

Delta Plane at Seattle Airport Our Delta plane in the dark and fog.

Although it was horrifically early, the flight did have its merits - I got to hang out with my aunt as planned, and more importantly (sorry, Janice), I got to sit in First Class for the first time! She had booked a ticket in First, and I wanted to sit by her, so what choice did I have, really? :) And I was able to afford the price (in miles) because it's only one short segment - I'll be rejoining the sardines in coach for the rest of the trip, sadly. I also find that tickets tend to be a bit cheaper from Seattle than Portland.

First Class Cabin

First Class was pretty great. It wasn't quite as fancy as I'd expected, I think because I'm used to seeing the international version (as I pass by it), but it was still so much better. Much wider seats, tons of legroom, some free stuff (checked luggage, drinks, etc.), less people to share bathrooms with, and better service. We were asked if we wanted drinks all the time! But the food was still terrible.

Holy Legroom, Batman! Lots of legroom

Plane Food Rubber food, but nicely presented (complete with mini-tablecloth!)

In-Flight Wi-Fi Wi-fi is now available on most domestic flights (in any class), which is great. I didn't bother for this short flight, but I hope it might be available on international flights someday.

In Minneapolis, Janice's friend picked us up from the airport and we had a very nice lunch in the Mall of America, which is just a few miles away. Then they headed for Janice's hotel, and I happily installed myself at a large table in Starbucks inside the mall, with all my luggage in tow, sipping a chai tea and taking advantage of their free wi-fi.

Mall of America Mall of America Starbucks Office

My grandma picked me up there a couple hours later, and I'm staying in her historic house until Tuesday.

On Friday I took a nice photowalk around St. Paul, including a complete self-guided tour of F. Scott Fitzgerald's neighborhood. (Photos to follow in a future post if I can somehow find the time!) The weekend was full of fantastic wedding festivities, and tomorrow my cousins are going to show me some modern architecture in Minneapolis.

On Tuesday, I fly to Glasgow, and from there I'll work my way south through the UK and northern France until early November. Aside from the absence of my favorite travel partner, I think it should be a very productive and fun trip. If you want to virtually join me, check back here regularly - I'll share highlights as often as I can!