Seattle Skyline
Destinations, Guides

How-to City: 36 hrs in Seattle

Seattle embodies everything that the Pacific Northwest is famous for. From pristine outdoors to excellent museums, a lively arts scene and delicious seafood, Seattle has something for everyone. There’s always something new happening in Emerald City. Recently, it was ranked the 4th most hipster city in the world! However, make sure you carry your raincoat for Seattle is notorious for year-round drizzly weather.

Olympic Sculpture Park | 7:30 AM

Start your morning in Seattle at the Olympic Sculpture Park, an open-air park with monumental sculptures. If you prefer starting your day with a run, head over to Myrtle Edwards Park across the street. Nothing feels more rejuvenating than a morning run along the waterfront! Both offer stunning views of the Olympic Mountains, the Puget Sound, and the Seattle Skyline with the iconic Space Needle piercing the purplish skies.

Pike Place Market | 8:45 AM

Join the Market Walk with Seattle Free Walking Tour (and tip your guide generously) or let the aroma of freshly cut flowers, smoked salmons, baked goodies, raw seafood, spices, or coffee lead you around. There are enough samples to count for breakfast and if you are still hungry, walk into any of these places for a sumptuous breakfast!

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Fields of tulip at Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, Oregon
Destinations, Photo Essay

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, Woodburn: In Photos

The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn, Oregon was my introduction to flower farms. Rows and rows of bright blooms swayed in the gentle breeze under a sunny spring sky. The effect is euphoric! Watching their beauty, their undeniable elegance it isn’t difficult to imagine how tulips became a symbol of affluence and luxury, and ultimately the cause of what is known as the Tulip Fever that gripped Holland in the 17th Century. However, recently the Smithsonian ran an article that debunked the madness that is associated with the Tulip Fever. Stories of sailors being jailed for eating a bulb, bulbs selling for the price of mansions, the whole country spiralling into economic ruin are all over the place but how much of it is true?

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A performer puts make up on his face outside Jackson Square
Destinations

Field Notes: New Orleans

i.

“Be safe in that city,” an elderly man had warned me before getting off at Baton Rouge. His warning had triggered the anxiety monster in me. The sky appeared moonless and I tried to remember what Joyce, the owner of the hostel I stayed at in Houston, had told me: Never let it get the better of you. The bus slithered on like a nocturnal reptile on what seemed to be raised causeways over swamps. Before long, I was standing with my over-packed backpack outside the Greyhound Station debating if I should wait for a bus or call an Uber. The air lingered on the lip of freezing. I had decided on exploring the south to appease my heat-loving tropical self but apparently, cold winters have an unhealthy attachment to me. When I arrived in Corvallis last year, the city ended up in the throes of a rare snowstorm and now the Big Freeze was rattling America’s bones. Stunned by abnormally low temperatures, iguanas were dropping from trees as far south as Tallahassee. A massive opalescent clock hung like an overripe fruit against the damp sky. Ten minutes later as I was booking a cab, a bus screeched to a halt in front of me and I hopped on. It took me less than an hour to realize that I’d fall for this city, that I’d long to come back. With their slatted windows, ornate ironwork, and brightly painted exteriors, Clare’s neighbourhood was full of some of the most beautiful homes I’d ever seen. Before ringing the bell and being introduced to New Orleans’ famed shotgun houses, I stood quietly on her porch and ached for Calcutta.

 

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Destinations, Photo Essay

Finding Home in Austin: East Side Art Walk in Photos

“There’s a freedom you begin to feel the closer you get to Austin, Texas.” Willie Nelson, the erstwhile musician, author, poet, activist (and a whole lot of other things) said this about Austin one night. I came across this quote for the first time when I was trying to figure out what to do in Austin. I wanted to see this new place, but I also wanted it to remind me of home. I wanted a definitive answer to an age-old question. “How do you make a home out of a foreign land?”

I started understanding Willie’s answer a little bit when I came across this mural.

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Home Is Where You Find Love (‘Til Death by Federico: 1201 E 7th St)

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Lady playing violin, Pike Place Market
Destinations, Guides

Walkin’ It: Pike Place Market, Seattle

It’s a pity we aren’t singing to market, to market to buy a fat pig, I think aloud as a little girl balances herself astride Rachel, the bronze cast piggy bank, the mascot of Seattle’s bustling Pike Place Market. It is named after Rachel, a 750 lbs pig that had won the Island County Fair in 1985. “Follow Rachel’s bronze hoof-prints, rub her snout, and make a donation for good luck,” Jake, our guide, announces. It’s my first morning in Seattle and I’m out with Seattle Free Walking Tours for their Market Walk. Thankfully, the sun is out and Pike Place Market is pulsating with energy.

With a crumpet from The Crumpet Shop in hand, I stand outside the crowded Pike Place “Original” Starbucks. It isn’t the oldest but it’s the longest operating Starbucks, Jake tells us. The original store was destroyed in a fire in the early 1970s. The Pike Place location has been there for 41 years and still has the original logo: a wood-cut illustration with the words “Coffee, Tea, Spices” around the Starbucks siren. It’s understandable that their logo is a siren and not a mermaid, someone quips, since not many can ignore the call of a Starbucks on a typical Seattle morning.

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