After a much needed night’s sleep following the excitement of Thursday’s airport fun, we were all ready to start a vacation. There were a couple of little things we needed to take care of and decided to get those out of the way first so that we could spend the rest of our time just having fun. We needed to get my Dad listed as a driver on the rental car, pick up our actual train tickets for our visit to Seattle, and visit a mall to purchase “we’ve been to the U.S.” gifts for people back in England. We parked by the Union Station, fortunately located only a few blocks from the downtown branch of Dollar Rent A Car, got my Dad’s name added to the minivan, picked up our tickets from the station, and then headed off to Lloyd’s Center. Shopping and mall trauling ensued, resulting in gift purchases, lunch at the food court, and speculation once more that electronics are far cheaper in the U.S. than in England.
That evening I had planned to take everyone out to the Farm Cafe for dinner. If you haven’t been to the Farm then I can highly recommend it for an affordably exquisite place to eat. Unfortunately, we arrived just before eight o’clock and it’s affordability and quality played against us as the estimated wait time was a little over an hour and the patio and bar were already full. I quickly made reservations at Le Bouchon for nine, which was still an hour away but meant that we weren’t just standing around outside on the street. Instead we visited the Rogue Ale’s Brewery on 13th and Glisan for a couple of drinks, which is right across the street from the restaurant. The authentic French atmosphere and delicious cuisine were a big hit with everyone. We were finally able to raise our glasses in “cheers” and enjoy being together as a family without any other distractions or commitments for the first time in six years. So ended a great Friday and the start of what promised to be a wonderful vacation.
On Saturday we went to OMSI. Peter had never been, but had heard many stories and was very keen to visit. I have seen OMSI three times now and still always find plenty of new stuff to see. There is such a density of information and exhibits on display that it is difficult to take it all in, even with a full day available. In addition to the floor exhibits, we saw “Greece” at the OmniMax, got tickets for the U.S.S. Blueback, and also for the Planetarium show. As Ellie put it “If we’re here, let’s do it all!” The “Greece” movie wasn’t the best of the iMax-style movies I’ve seen but still presented stunning visuals and contained many “cool factor” shots of Athens. I never get tired of seeing the submarine and had a much better tour guide than last time, which makes such an incredible difference. At the Planetarium we saw their “Journey into the Universe” show, which was the best of the three Plantetarium shows I’ve seen by far. We interspersed the shows with tours of the various room exhibits and actually managed to pack an incredible amount into one day. By late afternoon the temperature was really rising though and, having been there for over six hours by then, we decided to call it a day. To cool off, we headed back to the hotel for a swim. Later that evening, I introduced everyone to Apples to Apples, ordered in a couple of pizzas from Papa Johns and we spent the night laughing, joking, and catching up with each other. There are times I miss my family and then there are times that I think the distance is what helps to keep our relationship so strong…this was certainly one of those nights where I wish they lived closer so that we could hang out together and play games more often.