Our vacation, part two

Arriving in Seattle was noteworthy for a couple of reasons. One, getting there meant we had crossed the country for real and not just in a "we're driving cross country" sort of way. We'd driven from one coast to the other. If you want to get technical and annoying, we'd driven from the Chesapeake Bay to the Puget Sound, but let's not get like that. The other nice thing about arriving in Seattle was it meant we'd reached the second part of our trip, the part where we drive down the west coast and, maybe more importantly, the part where we know a lot of people. Friends and family we can visit and stay with. We're excited to see them.

First was our friend Eric. He was an MD/PhD student at UNC when J was there and now he's doing his residency in Seattle, where he lives in a great apartment (with a fountain in the courtyard!) in Capitol Hill.

Staying with Eric not only meant catching up with a good friend, but it meant that we had an excellent tour guide. Like I said, I've been to Seattle before, but just for a short visit and the only thing I could remember about the city was a general sense of loving it and checking out Pike Place Market because that's what everybody does.

Eric took us to great restaurants and bars, went to the Seattle Art Museum with us and pointed out many other cool things to do in the city.

On our last day in town he took us to Green Lake, where we got to see all the native Seattle-ians exercising, walking their dogs and enjoying the good weather after some rain that morning. It was a place we would have never known about on our own and going there meant our visit to Seattle was this well-rounded mix of hip hangouts, wonderful food, typical touristy stuff, outdoor activities and, of course, really good coffee.

And we didn't even have to look at our guidebook once, which was nice, because seriously, I love the guidebook, but when you're trying to be all nonchalant in some cafe and you discreetly pull the behemoth which is the Frommer's USA guide out of your bag, well, it's pretty clear that, as much as you wanna be, you're not a local.