Exploring The Pacific North West

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Time is a funny old thing isn't it? It feels like just two minutes ago that I was sat in the airport excitedly waiting for our trip to begin, and yet at the same time it feels like I've lived 10 lives since we left our little house in Leeds just over two weeks ago. This trip has been so full of joy and rest and travel and experience and conversation that I feel like a different person to the one sat on the plane to LA, writing this post and dreaming about the adventures spread out ahead of her. As predicted, the past two weeks have given me the space and distance from real life that I needed to scheme and dream and plan for the future, and I'm so excited to get home and get started.

But before I do, I need to tell you about the last leg of our trip. We've spent the last 5 days in the Pacific North West, visiting two cities that have long been on our travel bucket list: Portland and Seattle. We arrived in Portland tired and depleted after a hectic couple of days in San Francisco, and for a short while I wondered if we'd tried to squeeze too much into this trip. We were already exhausted, and I worried that another two city breaks on top of everything we'd already seen and done would break us.

I think that could have been the case if we were visiting two more cities like San Francisco, with so much to see and do and hoards of tourists on every corner, but thankfully, Portland is a lot more low key. The whole vibe there is relaxed, and our friends who live there reassured us that the best way to see the city was to eat, drink and shop our way around it. Bingo!

And so we spent our three days there doing exactly that. We ate some totally incredible food, tried to tick off as many brewery visits as we could (Portland has more than any other city!) and lost a fair few hours to the amazing Powell's book store. We hung out with our friends, hiked in the forest and generally just relaxed in the sunshine. It was bliss, and just what we needed after an amazing but overwhelming trip so far. I'm definitely going to be writing more about Portland as it fast became one of my all time favourite cities, but I don't think I've ever visited somewhere that felt so liveable. We thoroughly enjoyed our time there, and I'm so glad that we got to experience a bit of relaxation on this trip, as well as all the big sights and bucket list items.

From Portland, we took the train to Seattle, which was an amazing experience in itself! The three and a half hour journey takes you through beautiful woodland and past gorgeous lakes, and Sam and I spent the whole time gawping at the view out of the window. It was much more enjoyable than my regular train commute to London, that's for sure.

We'd booked a fancy room at our hotel in Seattle, knowing that this would be our last stop on the trip and that we'd want to do some relaxing before the long journey home. I knew it would be pretty, but we were both totally blown away when we arrived - we had a huge penthouse suite, complete with views of the city and a bathtub to die for. I was in heaven, and for about the 600th time on this trip, felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

Sadly Seattle hadn't quite got the memo about summer (although the locals reassured us that it rarely does), so we spent our first night here wandering around in the rain and rocking our matching anoraks. So chic. Thankfully the sun came out again yesterday, and we got to explore as much of the city as we could in a day - highlights include Pike Place Market (which I have wanted to visit for years and totally didn't disappoint), the Nirvana exhibition at the Museum of Pop Culture and the Capitol Hill area, which was teeming with independent shops and bars. We have barely scratched the surface of this beautiful city, but I'm hoping we'll be back in the Pacific North West again soon to explore more.

And now I'm sat on the window seat in our beautiful hotel room, looking out as the rain pours down on the city again and waiting for our cab to the airport. I can hardly believe that this trip has come to an end - it has been everything I had hoped it would be and so much more. I can't wait to process all of the experiences and memories and lessons and share them with you all.

But for now, I'm excited to get home to my little kitty cat and a proper cup of tea!