An Amazing Layover
Although I have written about it before, it is such an experience for a large family that it deserves another post: Travel, specifically air travel.
Almost everyone hates travel, it is tedious, it is lengthy and expensive. There are very few endearing aspects of the journey, despite the parable advising us to enjoy it. I would submit that the intensity of which one hates travel intensifies in proportion to the amount of people in the traveling party. Hence I have a healthy disdain for family travel. Further, this last trip was a semi-emergency move adding another factor of speed into the mix, ergo doubling the hatred once again. Why such disdain you ask? Let me explain.
1. Booking the trip: Most airlines and travel sites max out passengers at 6. Therefore I am looking at a minimum of 2 reservations per trip. A slight pain and an extended amount of frustrating hours on the computer.
2. Most “special fares” have limited seats. I have found that limit to be around 5 seats. So imagine finding a great fare, trying to book 6 seats, because that is the max, finding that when you go from 5-6 the seat price doubles. This in turn leads to more hours on the computer.
3. Now-a-days you pay $25-$40 per checked in bag, this adds up, especially when you are moving.
4. Getting checked in with a large family, with lots of bags, in a crowded airline counter line is hectic at best and certainly not fun.
5. Going through security with a large family, with lots of carry-ons, in a crowded Disney like line makes you long for the airline counter line.
6. Finding seats together for a family of 7-9, on a short-notice trip, is like finding a clean car during break-up in Alaska.
Needless to say our most recent trip, of 4700 miles, was quite the pleasant adventure, full of middle seats, multiple airlines and two separate travel parties arriving at two different times. All this after two days of travel research in which I came to the conclusion that; renting a car, driving to 2.5 hours to Orlando, me and Ben flying Jetblue and Tra with the rest of the clan flying American, both parties meeting in Seattle where we would gather our truckload of bags, layover for 20 hours, before continuing on to Anchorage was our best course of action. It turns out I was right.
I wasn’t right because of the travel, I was right because of the layover. We made the most of our time in Seattle spending the day in outright tourist mode. The layover was truly amazing.
We started with a great train-ride downtown to Pike’s Market, a must see in Seattle. There was food, flowers, gifts, handmade wares, food, activities, music, clothes, food coffee and more food. It smelled like a fair, it sounded like a busting train station with talented musicians at every turn and it was very enjoyable. There was so much to see and so much to eat. We did our best, with Piroshky Piroshky being our favorite food venue. It is a must try when you hit the market. Whether you crave sweet or savory, the piping hot soft filled dough will melt your hearts and melt in you mouth. This was not the most amazing part of our trip.
The market lead us to the wall of gum, another must see for those who enjoy the color and smells of old gum. It is actually a pretty incredible sight. I would venture to say there are millions of pieces of old gum stuck to an old brick wall of every shape, size, smell and color. It looks as if a million colorful candles melted into the wall, and smells of mint, fruit and bubble gum. If you concentrate not on how nasty it is, it is quite beautiful. This was not the most amazing part of our trip.
We then rode the monorail over to the Space Needle, where we dropped an large amount of coin to go to the top. The view was pretty awesome and breath takingly windy. It was 360 degrees at 604 feet up in the air. We could see everything and everywhere. Pictures do not do it justice. This was not the most amazing part of our trip.
The most amazing part of our trip came as we were riding the train to downtown Seattle. The trains leave every 10 minutes from the airport. We ate breakfast and hit the next train, no agenda, no time frame, just out to explore. As we traveled we enjoyed the sparsely filled car spinning our heads back and forth to see the scenes. Then, 3/4 of the way through our ride, the train stops, and one person joins the ride. Tracy and I both looked at each other and were amazed to see it was my cousin Amos. Amos doesn’t normally ride the train, and specifically not that train. He forgot his keys that day and just happened to have to take the train. So in a city of 620,000 people, our paths crossed, briefly on one of the over hundred trains that day. No plan, no inkling, just a random path cross during our 20-hour layover. His jaw dropped when he saw us when he figured out who we were so far out of context. The more I think about it, the more mind-boggling it was to me. It was pretty amazing.
The layover was worth the headache, worth the late nights yelling at my 27 inch glistening Mac screen as I watched ticket prices change in front of my face, and worth lugging our luggage for the one night and day spent in Seattle. It is a time we will soon not forget.