RECAP: I (Jo) am currently* on vacation in Seattle! I thought it might be fun to try and keep a little holiday diary of sorts, a travelog if you will. Need a refresher? You can read about Day 1 here Day 2 here Days 3/4/5 here and Day 6 here and Day 7 here! So sit back and grab a cup of coffee, She and Hem is going Stateside.
Day 8 contained a mini adventure , as we decided to walk from our base in Queen Anne all the way to the neighborhood of Fremont. What better way to kick off an incredible walk? With an incredible breakfast, of course! This particular restaurant had been recommended in guide books, on twitter and by friends and just happened to be on the way. You might say that the 5 Spot Cafe had a reputation to uphold!
The 5 Spot has ever changing themes, the current one being San Franscisco, and the cafe (and its menu) is fully decked out to reflect this. There’s even a replica Golden Gate Bridge! It’s all completely brilliant, as is the extensive menu! We both went for the lightweight lumberjack, which was a red flannel hash with poached eggs & fancy toast! Toast aficionado’s will appreciate knowing that the fancy toast appeared to be some sort of sour dough. I can confirm it was not only fancy, but also delicious. It was also a bargain at $5.75 and the never ending cups of coffee fueled us for the rest of the day. Reputation: upheld.
With that, it was off to the wonderful land of Fremont for us! Often referred to as ‘The People’s Republic of Fremont’, it’s all rather quirky and fun! We had found a suggested walking tour of Fremont in one of our guide books and decided to give it a shot! The first site of interest, Rapunzel, came just as we crossed the bridge into Fremont. Poor old Rapunzel is locked up in one of the towers and is the work of local resident, Rodman Miller.
Next up was ‘waiting for the interurban’, a sculpture created in 1979 by Richard Beyer as a way to commemorate the now defunct light rail interurban that use to run into downtown Seattle. The sculpture is often dressed up, in fact when we visited the would be passengers were ready for a birthday party, and residents are encouraged to commit ‘art attacks’ to keep interest in the artwork alive.
A short walk away, under the Aurora bridge, lives the Fremont Troll! He is GINORMOUS and appears to be devouring some poor sap’s Volkswagen Beetle, giving the impression that those driving above are running a serious risk! The Troll came into fruition after a competition to design something to improve the space under the bridge (which is also ginormous). This, the winning design, was entered by a team led by Steve Badness. Visitors are welcome to climb all over the troll but I kept my feet safely on the ground.
Fremont considers itself to be the very center of the universe, so it makes complete sense that there should be a sign post to make this official. The sign is on a tiny little slab of concrete in the middle of a busy road, making the center of the universe quite a difficult place to visit. As you can see though, it’s pretty wonderful.
Next on the tour was a rocket mounted to the side of a shop! OF COURSE! It was built using a 1950’s Cold War rocket fuselage and now sits loud and proud complete with the Fremont crest, which bares the motto ‘De Libertas Quirkas”, also known as Freedom to be Peculiar. Perfect.
And what tour would be complete without a 15 foot high statue of Lenin? Not this one, that’s for sure. This controversial statue originally ended up in Seattle thanks to a local English teacher, Lewis Carpenter, who imported it when he discovered it was being sold for scrap. This was not a popular move with his neighbours who fiercely protested against the impulse buy. Unfortunately for Lewis, less than a year after signing a deal with the local Mayor that would allow him to have the statue, he was killed in a car accident in 1994. This left old Lenin flying solo in Carpenter’s back garden until he was moved to a corner of Fremont. It’s fair to say that the statue is not popular with the residents, who are very opinionated on the matter and will gladly come and talk to tourists about why they don’t approve of a gigantic Lenin towering over their neighbourhood.
We then trundled on to the beautiful Gas Works park, where I got to release my inner steam-punk princess. This park is way cool, and as it’s in Fremont, a bit strange too. It’s built on a former gas works park (you don’t say!) and still contains many elements of the old plant, either as ruins or as regenerated pieces of the park. The former exhauster-compressor building is now a giant play area for children who can clamber all over the machinery! The park also gives you a beautiful view over to downtown Seattle and we spent a lovely afternoon sitting on the hill watching the sea planes taking off.
I wore my yellow polka dot dress from Primark with my Topshop geek shoes and my Cath Kidston sail print bag!
Not technically a part of the tour but after all that walking it was definitely time for a nice cold beer! Luckily for us the Fremont Brewing just happened to be on the walk back so we popped inside for one of their taster boards. James had already been in earlier in the week to try their ‘pizza ale’ and was waxing lyrical about their selection. I didn’t manage to try the pizza but I did have a delicious grapefruit and lavender beer that was so good I was half tempted to try and fit a growler in my suitcase.
That’s it for my Seattle travelog! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it!
*OK so I’m actually home now but let’s just suspend our disbelief for a few minutes.