Having spent a couple of nights on the blissfully calm San Juan islands, it was time for some city action – the next stop on our road trip was Seattle. We had just one night in the Emerald City and were determined to make the most of it.

We checked into our hostel – the City Hostel, which was centrally located and relatively cheap. After a quick shower, it was time to head out and explore Seattle’s big draw – Pike Place Market. Unfortunately, arriving on a Sunday meant that everything was closing down, and we were met with a fairly deserted sight. Embracing the heatwave, we instead happened upon a Cuban restaurant and ordered cocktails. With the tropical music and the equatorial temperatures, it was hard to believe we were still in America and not Cuba itself.


We had intended to pick up some of Seattle’s famous Pike Place Chowder but it was closed, so we found a nearby restaurant and had it there instead. We had decided to keep dinner relatively light in preparation for our main stop of the night – the Hot Chocolate Cakery. Seattle was to be a night of indulgence for us, and a bar dedicated to chocolate was a definite must do.

We walked through the chi-chi financial district to the grimier, hipster Freetown area which was buzzy on a Saturday night. We spotted the cakery, which encouragingly had a line out of the door, giving us plenty of time to plot our order. We decided to go for a number of variations on the cafe’s classic melt-in-the-middle cake – milk and honey, dark chocolate and s’mores. We didn’t stop there though! The sugar kept on coming in the form of butterbeer – a concoction consisting of sparkling wine, cider, butterscotch and ginger. We also ordered the peanut butter and whisky ‘Drunken Sailor’ and some luscious sounding drinking caramel.

The absolute highlights were the butterbeer, which was warm, grapey, caramelly goodness, and the s’mores cake, which was made with smoked chocolate, making it taste like it had come straight off a campfire. The drinking caramel was also insanely good – how is this not a thing?! It’s testament to the quality of the food that we didn’t take a single picture.

The next day the curse of being an early riser struck again – I woke up full of energy at 5 AM and set off to go to a run. After about ten minutes I realised that a 5 AM run in a deserted and unfamiliar city was probably not the wisest idea so headed back. Luckily my friend had also woken up and we decided it would be fine with two of us and set off again. Our run took us around the rock museum, space needle and the waterfront. As always, a run is one of the best ways to explore a city, especially in the quieter hours before most people have woken up.


After having breakfast at our hotel, we decided to give Pike Place another try. This time was much more successful – the shops were open and the crowds were out in force. We visited the original Starbucks (which kind of felt like a normal Starbucks), stuffed ourselves with free tasters and picked up some organic wine for our upcoming foray into the Olympic National Park. One of the great things about Pike Place is that you don’t actually need to do anything there – just wandering around soaking up the ambience is the perfect way to spend a morning.

And with that, our time in Seattle was over, and we were off to the woods…


Helen Cross | @Helen_Estelle

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