We just got back from our annual trek to Seattle for the Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival (and more). I’ll post some pictures soon, but in the meantime here is a short overview of what we did. This year our friends Karl and Betty went too, first time for them. And of course our friend and festival veteran Linda Orozco went again with her friend Sam (first time for Sam too).

Maybe we’ll see you there next year…!!

Wednesday August 29

As usual we arranged for the Blue Van to pick us up. Karl and Betty came to our house to leave with us. We always allow for plenty of time to get to the airport in case something doesn’t go as planned. And this year, sure enough, the van was supposed to arrive between 7:25 and 7:40. Well, finally at about 8:10 the van finally showed up. This still let us catch our flight but it was more rushed than it should have been and pretty stressful. Shame on you Super Shuttle, I will be writing a separate letter to you. But anyway, it worked out and we had a smooth and quick Southwest Airlines flight to the Emerald City of Seattle. Did I mention that I love Seattle?

We took the light rail to the Westlake station, a few blocks from our hotel, The Camlin. It was too early to check in but they were happy to store our luggage for a bit, long enough for us to visit nearly Cyber-Dogs for some lunch. It’s an all vegetarian (and a lot of vegan) hot dog place, small but charming and the owner Tatiana is so nice. And these are not just hot dogs, they are creations and filling too. Now nicely stuffed, we took the block walk back to the hotel, met back up with our friends, and checked in. The next thing on the agenda was to get some food and drink to keep in the hotel room for a starter breakfast, late night snack, or whatever. There’s a Whole Foods nearby and I like that store, so we walked over and picked up what we needed some tasty stuff. And something to drink, that is a given, right?

Then we took the Seattle Monorail over to the Seattle Center grounds, where most of the action would be this vacation week, including the upcoming Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival. This was our 12th year in a row of going to the festival, ever since we discovered it we have gone back every year and will be going again in 2013. At the Seattle Center, we looked around at the beginnings of the Festival preparations and gave Karl and Betty a mini-tour of where things would be at the Festival. No sense wasting time studying the map during the event when you can learn where to find things in advance. The four of us had dinner and drinks at the nearby 5 Point Cafe (their motto is “Alcoholics Serving Alcoholics Since 1929”). They expanded their menu recently to include a few vegan options (Tofu Scramble, No Huevos Racheros, Veggie Buger, etc). The we took the monorail back to the hotel and met up in the courtyard with Karl and Betty, Mama O (Linda) and Sam, and Karl’s brother Ron and his son Antonio. We talked about Seattle, the Festival, movies, whatever over some wine and then it time to call it a day. A really good day, I might add.

Thursday August 30

After a small breakfast in the hotel room, we ventured out into warm, sunny, Seattle. Yes, it was warm and mostly sunny the whole time this trip. Awesome weather. Our first stop for all eight of us was the Experience Music Project / Science Fiction Museum. We all participated in the “on stage” event, simulating being in a band (Ocho Amigos, picture coming soon). Then we split up for lunch with Petra and I going to the Bamboo Garden, the all-vegetarian-almost-all-vegan chinese food place with the huge menu. We both got different combo plates that were delicious. Then back the block or two to the Seattle Center, where the EMP/SFM is located and so much more. We got the group of eight to Ride The Ducks, a land and water tour of Seattle in old military vehicles called Ducks that can travel on both. It was fun, though we had done it a couple times before on previous trips (picture soon, too). Then we spent some more time in the EMP/SFM looking around. It’s a great museum if you like music (or science fiction), highly recommended.

Next stop was the Chihuly Garden And Glass museum which is brand new on the Seatle Center grounds, right next to the Space Needle. Dale Chihuly is perhaps the best (certainly the most well-known) glass artist in the world. This museum was awesome, he does things with glass that are just jaw-droppingly good. Seriously, you have to see it, you will not be disappointed. The parts indoors were great but there was also a part outside, a glass garden with glass sculptures and figures everywhere. By then it was evening and dark and the glass garden was lit so that it was even more stunning and impressive than ever. Wow, just wow. After that we took the monorail back and looked for a place to eat. That was a lot harden than it sounds. We had one vegan, one almost-vegan, one person who has to have meat every meal, one person who doesn’t like Thai or Indian, and a couple others who didn’t really say. We ended up at a familiar chain, P. F. Chang’s, that seemed to have something for everyone. Including good drinks! Then it was back to the hotel after a very full and fun day.

Friday August 31

The day before the Bumbershoot Festival but there are some early related events that we had planned for the day. At the Seattle Center via monorail, we picked up our Platinum VIP passes for the festival. These tickets cost more but come with an impressive array of extra privileges, included avoiding most of the lines (which can sometimes be very long), free food and drinks, posters, merchandise credit, special entrances, private restrooms, and more. Well worth the money IMNSHO. We got some lunch at the Armory (formerly Center House, a food court which had been recently upgraded). It was the first day for the vegan booth there, The Plum, and their soft opening day. So we got a vegan lunch while Karl and Betty were able to find other things that they liked. Then it was time for the free Visual Arts preview. There are lots of art installations at the festival, with quite a bit more this year than last. (Visual Arts list).  I thought the quality and variety was very good this year and liked that they expanded it to two venues. In particular, the Elvistravaganza was especially fun, with lots of Elvis stuff, some positive, some fun, some strange, some rude, all interesting, with Elvis impersonators doing Karaoke and much more.

After that we went to the Starbucks on the Seattle Center grounds for a pick-me-up. Then, newly refreshed, Petra, Karl, Betty, and I walked back to the VIP area and picked up our Bumbershoot posters. Next up, it was just about time for the free preview of the Seattle International Film Festival. This is where they show 5-6 short films from the film festival, which is part of Bumbershoot. Going to the free film preview (and the free art preview) gives us a chance to see some films and art but leaves the next three days of Bumbershoot open for all the rest of the music, comedy, performing arts, food, etc. Then all eight of us went back to the 5 Point Cafe for a late dinner. Then we went back to the hotel room. Karl, Betty, and Mama O (Linda) all came up for some wine and to plan our schedules for the next day, the first day of the actual festival. We played some YouTube videos to get an idea of some of the artists, and talked about who we did and didn’t want to see. And then we called it a day.

Were you there? Did I forget anything? Did you spot a typo? Or do you just want to say something about all this? Well then leave me a comment below, I love when that happens!

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