Seattle was quickly becoming a weekend escape from my life in Chicago, and I was looking forward to my visit with Alejandro. It was almost one year since I visited him last, but this was an entirely different trip for two reasons: (1) We were going to attempt running a 1/2 marathon together (13.1 miles) and (2) I was visiting him by myself. Alejandro and I have been good friends since we lived and traveled together in Spain in 2007 and for some reason, he let me convince him to run a 1/2 marathon with me in his home town. Granted, running the race was only a small part of the fun waiting to be had on this long weekend trip, but it did give me that extra umph I needed to fly out and spend some quality time with one of my favorite people.
As soon as I made my way through the airport, and after one of the world’s best hugs, Alejandro handed me a napkin and said ‘Breakfast’. Inside was the breakfast of champions- a chocolate truffle too good to describe. We dropped my pack off at his place and went to explore the city. He took me to visit his coffee shop, which to this tea drinker looked as serious as it smelled. We visited the famous Pike’s Place Market in search of a very specific baking essential for Alejandro and ended up enjoying a wine tasting with two vineyard owners on a visit from Italy.
Since the big race was looming just over the edge of the next day, we decided to take it easy and visit a chocolate factory called Theo, which prides itself on being the only ‘organic bean-to-bar’ chocolate factory in the USA. There were PILES of chocolate to sample- everything from spicy, orange, dark chocolate and in between. It was out there for the tasting (and buying, if you could afford to take a bar home with you).
The race was an exciting event with over 25,000 participants and a new band every few miles. Cheerleaders lined the course and yelled us on our way, while volunteers passed out cups of water and sports drinks. Coming down into the city from the highway gave us a prime view of downtown, and we finished in style with bagels and orange slices waiting at the finish line. It was obviously a physically exhausting event, but I was looking forward to the rest of my time with Alejandro. Chocolate, coffee, time with a fantastic friend and wine- what more could this city throw my way? I guess we’ll find out next week.