My Trip to Venice, Italy

Venice is a magical city. Mostly the feeling you get there. This was a city I was most excited about. I had been dreaming of visiting here for as long as I can remember.

The Island has no cars, no bikes, no vespas… to get anywhere you walk. Or if you feel like paying an arm and a leg you can take a water taxi. The water bus is a little cheaper, we took that from the mainland to get to the island.

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This was our view from the boat. Instantly you feel like your in a dream. “Oh My Gosh!! We’re ACTUALLY in Venice! Somebody pinch me so I know this is real!”

We didn’t get a hotel here, instead we booked a room on Airbnb. Which was really great because we got the real local experience. I highly suggest this site next time you travel! (Click this link for $20 off your first stay) Alex got sick so I wen’t off to try and find a restaurant our host recommended for some dinner. Ended up getting lost and passing the place about 7 times before I realized that was the place! lol!!

Venice is a very safe city. Even being lost on my first night in the middle of the night by myself, I did not feel in danger at all. The city is just tons of narrow streets and canals, it would be a little hard for someone to escape unnoticed if they committed a crime. Especially with how many people there are to witness. image

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Our host also let us know about the restaurant trick out here. If you want to save some money, you “do as the locals do” and get all of your food and drinks as “take away”. This doesn’t mean they wrap it all up to go like they do here in the states. This just means you don’t sit. They give you your food on a regular plate, wine in a wine glass and you either eat standing or you find a curb to sit on outside. And if you do this you get your items at about half the cost as you would sitting down. I found a little spot outside on the windowsill. It was an experience for sure.

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Unfortunately the food was terrible. And I thought maybe it was just a bad recommendation, but I found out later that there is no GREAT food in Venice. That I had found anyway. We definitely tried. We had some dishes that were Okay. But overall most of it was cold when it should be warm/hot and wasn’t very flavorful. But the wine was good! And I will admit I had a fun time just sitting on the windowsill drinking my wine and watching the other tourists try to find their way around. lol! (I feel your pain!)

The next day Alex was feeling a little better so we did some site seeing. Apparently the thing to do in Venice is get lost and try to stumble upon cool things. So that’s exactly what we did! First we stumbled upon some coffee and pizza to start the day.

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The pizza actually wasn’t too bad. At least compared to the other disappointing food we had. After we found a nice spot for some “take away” wine!

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And then we just explored the city. I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

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The architecture here was something that really impressed me. Like the door above and the walkway below. It was things like this that you just don’t see everyday. Just walking through here you feel the history and Italian culture.

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Later in the afternoon we found our way to St. Marks Square. To my disappointment half of St. Marks Basilica was under construction so I didn’t take any pictures of it. Here is some other parts of the square I did get.

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Gondolas are such an iconic role in Venetian history and culture. We definitely had to go on a ride while we were here. I will give you a little heads up though…. it’s a tourist attraction, so you will pay a hefty price. We paid 80 Euro for a half hour ride. And we didn’t get serenaded. But it was worth every penny!

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This was such a romantic and magical experience. I loved every minute and I was so happy I had someone special to share it with. I think the only thing that could have made it better would have been a glass of wine, or maybe even a bottle of champagne! Ah well maybe next time.

Here is another pic I took of the Gondolas while we were walking around

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Oh did I mention that on our Adventure that day we found a casino? Of course leave it to me and Alex to find a casino on our vacation. But this wasn’t just any casino, this just so happens to be the oldest casino in the world!

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You have to dress up to enter this casino so we made a plan to come back that night. They don’t allow you to take any pictures inside so all I have is this photo outside. It was a pretty fun night though. We came, we gambled, we lost. LOL! But we lost money at the oldest casino, and in Venice so we weren’t even mad. (Sorry Vegas we had to share our losses elsewhere sometime!)

The next day we only had until noon to site see, before heading to the airport for the next stop. We saw everything that we had wanted to so we found our way to get some more coffee and wine.

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It was very interesting to see in Venetian culture as well. Sitting at the wine bar we saw a group of locals walk in, have a glass of wine and then head off to work. We sat and thought about this concept for a bit and realized how great it would be to live that way! Imagine waking up and walking this small island everyday, stop at your favorite wine shop, and head in to work. And these weren’t young people, these were older men who looked like they had been doing this for years. Talk about living the good life!

After our morning wine we still had some time to kill so we walked back to St. Marks Square to hang out for a while.

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And that was our trip to Venice! It was short and sweet. We were told that we could see Venice in about 2 days and it was the best advice. We literally saw everything and felt ready to head to the next city by the time we had to leave.

Some fun little bits/tips about Venice:

1. It is VERY touristy. I think most places you go you wonder who is a tourist… Here I wondered who was a local. There are more tourists versus locals here in Venice on any given day. And I think the ratio was something crazy like a 5 to 1 or 5 to 2 ratio.

2. Despite the beauty of Venice, you can’t help but wonder if Tourism is taking over. I often felt like it was Italy’s Disneyland. There were so many souvenir shops all selling the same thing.

3. Wear COMFORTABLE shoes! You will be walking a ton! And unless you want to pay hefty prices, you won’t have many options on places to sit.

If you ever had an interest in visiting Venice I would definitely recommend going sooner rather than later. There is still so much culture and unique beauty here if you are open to noticing it.

Have you been to Venice? What did you love so much about it? Let me know in the comments below!

And that was our trip to Venice, Italy! It was short and sweet. But Those will be some everlasting memories I am so glad to have! Hope you enjoyed this post! If you enjoy reading, make sure to subscribe by putting in your email address and never miss a post! Ciao Grazie!

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My trip to Paris, France

I’m not going to be one of those travel bloggers who reports that everywhere I go is all butterflies and rainbows and the most magical experience of my life. Why? Because that’s all I read about pre my first trip abroad and guess what… It wasn’t my reality.

With that being said….I LOVED Paris. Okay, let me back up… I ended up loving Paris. The first couple days I was still in shock. It wasn’t this picture perfect french paradise everyone makes it out to be. Its dirty, and a little run down and guess what.. its just another city. But once you get past the shock of all of that, you see it is full of beautiful historical and breathtaking culture. No really it is! The touristy areas are a bit dumpy. But I think its because there are just masses of people who just leave their trash (this really made me mad) and Gypsies on every corner hassling you. But if you ignore that you appreciate how beautiful those landmarks are and then you move onto the not so touristy areas, where you see the real Parisian beauty.

The night we got there we were pretty tired from traveling. Our hotel was right next to the Eiffel Tower so we walked around for a bit and then grabbed some dinner at Le Bailli de SuffrenIMG_6940 IMG_6941 IMG_6942

I thought the food was pretty good. Although from the Tripadvisor reviews it says this place can be a hit or miss. All I know is that the chicken was so moist and delicious especially compared to other places we went to. I also tried Croque-monsieur (the dish with the egg on it) which was really yummy and of course “Frites”. It’s not the high end french cuisine but all in all I left happy and thought it was pretty good.

Our first day we decided to wake up early to go to the Louvre. We got there right when it opened and there was already a good amount of people in line, luckily it didn’t take too long. (When we left the line was crazy long so I was glad we got there early.) I hear there is another entrance that is quicker… but the courtyard is really beautiful. I really love the glass pyramids and the sky was helping with a nice beautiful cloudy background. I would love to come back one day and just sit and people watch in the courtyard and take pictures of those beautiful iconic pyramids. Maybe during a nice sunset!

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This place is HUGE! I mean you can easily spend a whole day here. But after a while of looking around I was getting hot and irritated from the mass crowd of people so we looked for the Mona Lisa and left.

It was so much smaller than I thought. But it was really cool to see it in person after seeing it in History books your whole life. Just prepare to fight the crowd of people to get a close up.

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One item on my france bucket list was to get a crepe so we found a little stand… it was soooo good!! If you are going to Paris… a crepe is a must! I mean… just look how good it looks! And as an American we aren’t too familiar with Nutella. Europeans LOVE their Nutella, now I see why and its my new favorite thing! lol!

After lunch we found our way to Notre Dame. This Cathedral is Breathtaking! The pictures really don’t do it justice. But once again… mass crowds of people. (I just wanted 1 photo! lol!)

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The detail on this cathedral is just mind blowing. Every little piece… every little arch… every statue… its really amazing to see.

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Here is a picture of some of the saints… I thought it was interesting that one of them is holding his head. lol.

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What made this church the most exciting though was the inside. We didn’t even realize we were there on a sunday and they would be in the middle of mass. Words can’t even describe the feeling you get when your inside and the choir is singing. They really knew what they were doing when they built this. And there are chandeliers lining the halls lit by candle and beautiful tall arches.

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You can’t help but feel closer to God walking through this place. It literally takes your breath away.

Another Item on my list was to see the Bridges with all of the “Lovers Locks”. Shortly before our trip they had announced they will be removing all of the locks so I was pretty bummed about it. But we walked over there anyway and to my surprise they still had some up!! While I was busy snapping pictures of it, Alex was super sweet and surprised me with our own lock!

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As busy as this day was already, we wanted to trek to 1 more spot before dinner which was the Arc de Triomphe. We got there just before the sun was setting and it was the PERFECT spot to be.

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How is that for a nice sunset?! (If you remember from this summer I was trying to capture the perfect sunset).

For dinner that night we walked around and found Bistrot Le Champ de Mars

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Alex was really wanting some French Onion Soup. I wanted to try what he had the night before which was the chicken and frites. The soup was better though. The chicken here was very dry.

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But you just can’t beat a night of drinking wine and soaking up the streets of Paris. This is when the magic starting happening for me. This moment right here.

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Another item on my Paris bucket list was to get a good picture of the Eiffel tower. One at night when it sparkled and one in the day time. Here is what I got!

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The next day we tried to get up to go see the Catacombs, but to our surprise they are closed on Mondays! Go figure. lol! So we enjoyed some Cafe Lattes while figuring out what to do next.

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Yum! I tell you sitting on the outside of these little cafe’s never gets old. Especially if you love to people watch. Or if you are like me and just love to sit and soak in the atmosphere and the memory of the moment.

We decided to go look for a market next. We ended up in this beautiful area of Paris and boom… we got stormed on. Literally stormed on! I’m not talking a little rain, I’m talking about it raining so hard that the umbrella wasn’t keeping us dry, and the wind blowing so hard that it ended up breaking our umbrella in half!! lol!!! But when the storm let up a little I got this shot that I am absolutely in love with.

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To make the day that much better…. we walked all that way in the storm to find out the market wasn’t even there. (thanks internet tippers) But the adventure was still totally worth it. We of course had to stop and get lunch since we were in a new area.

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We found this little spot called La Fontaine. I couldn’t find it online to share the link, but it wasn’t the greatest spot anyway. It was good just not great. Not like you’re missing out on anything spectacular if you don’t go. The cheese plate was a plus though and of course the wine was great!

After our adventure in the storm we took the metro to Champs-Élysées. Incase you don’t know, that’s a famous street for shopping. We didn’t really care to shop much, but we found this interesting store that had this GIANT slide! Which we of course had to ride.

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LOL! This was so fun! We had a blast riding the slide and had a very interesting experience with their “race car simulator” Although that was probably just a be there kind of moment. If you go there I would recommend getting 2 slide tickets and skipping the simulator. Just trust me on this one. lol!!

Now I’m sure you have heard of the french dessert called macaroons right? We went to the store called Ladurée which is said to be the first bakery to create the yummy dessert. They were delicious by the way. We had to go in and buy some.

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Put this place on your Paris bucket list! Seriously!

Ok now if you want to know a place to eat in Paris that is an ABSOLUTE MUST get excited because here it is. It’s this little spot called La Jacobine. This place was AMAZING!

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The service here was fantastic, which if you have been to Europe you know that’s pretty rare in itself. The food tasted so fresh and flavorful. I had to try escargot at least once. How often am I in France? So I got that as my starter and Alex got the French Onion Soup. Both were Excellent by the way! I never thought I would find snails tasty. lol!!

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I can’t remember the names of our dishes but I ordered whatever sounded really french and tasty and just went with it. lol.

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If you think this looks delicious? It tastes even better! So rich, so flavorful, meat cooked to perfection. It really felt like we were spoiling ourselves to some fancy french cuisine without spending a fortune. I Definitely recommend this place! But wait one more thing… We had to have dessert.

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We had the Tiramisu. BEST…. TIRAMISU…. I… HAVE… EVER… HAD! Not even joking. And of course I had to throw in a latte.

That was such a crazy day, 2 spots being closed… getting stormed on. But it made for great memories. Just goes to show that even when things don’t go as planned you can still have a great time. (Or at least look back on it as a messy adventure). LOL!

Our last day in Paris was a shorter one. We only had the morning to early afternoon to get in what we could that was left. Going to the top of the Eiffel Tower of course was a must and since the lines get insanely long (especially in the summer) we decided to hit that as soon as they opened in the morning. We actually got there 30 mins before they opened… I highly suggest this if going in the summer.

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Look at that view!!

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As someone who is very scared of heights…. it was totally worth it! And here is a view from the other side.

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We attempted one more time to see the catacombs but the line was already at a 4 hour wait so we didn’t make it to see that. So we browsed around the shops and found this awesome market with crazy cheese!

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And that was our trip to Paris! At first it was a little shaky. It was the first city outside of the states for me, which gave me a little anxiety. Navigating a new country was a bit nerve-racking too. But it all wore off and the city is definitely a city I would love to return to one day.

Have you been to Paris? How did you like it? What recommendations would you give? I would LOVE to hear about it so comment below!

And here I leave you all with some little randoms about Paris:

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  1. I loved the walk signs! Most people might not even notice but they are different than here in the states and I thought they looked cool. haha!

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2. I saw these posters plastered everywhere. Its photos of the Kennedy’s. I still don’t know why these were there but I thought it was neat. If anyone knows why please share!

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3. McDonnalds in Paris has a dessert and cafe counter where they have macaroons!

Hope you all enjoyed this post! Au Revoir!

My Trip to Portland, OR 


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Portland is a beautiful, eclectic, weird place full of great food, great beer, and an awesome vibe. It has a Downtown city feel but is Surrounded by water and trees. You really can get the best of both worlds here. Portland is exactly as fun and weird as you think it is. Street markets with booths full of handmade items, stores full of hipster-esque products, all the restaurants and breweries come with something unique, something different. You don’t find much “basic” stuff here and that’s what makes it so special.

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See, they even like to remind the residents! lol!

I didn’t get to spend nearly as much time here as I wanted to. I really just decided to come for a day during my trip up north to visit my brother and sister-in-law. As they share my love for food and beer, they had an awesome day planned out for me! We started off the day with some coffee (the coffee here is amazing! doesn’t matter where you go, just get some coffee!) and bagels at Bowery Bagels. These bagels by the way are not just ordinary bagels… they are super delicious, scrumptious, take a dozen home with you on the plane type of bagels. You can’t have just one! After that we went walking around the area (we walked a LOT that day!!) There are so many cool and unique things to see in Portland. Even just simple stuff like this GIANT Chair on the sidewalk.

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What I meant was that I’m actually in the land of giants and snuck up on their chair for a photo opp… just kidding. But its stuff like this that make this city so unique!

Next stop on the list was Rogue Brewery! As excited as I was to go here, I have to say it wasn’t the best for beer tasting. Most of their off the wall must try beers are only available in the bottle. But I still got to try some yummy beer and mark off Rogue Brewery from my brewery bucket list! SCORE!!

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The next place on their list was Ice Cream!! They took me to this very unique and popular spot called Salt & Straw. And apparently they have a spot in LA too! This place was so good, we waited a good hour, hour and a half in line… it was well worth it. Just the flavor options alone will make you want to spend the whole day there trying samples!

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And as far as most popular and well-known place that I had heard of before going to Portland, was Voodoo Donuts. They of course had that on the list too! But we decided to wait till later in the evening because that line will also take hours. I would definitely recommend going later, they are open 24 hours so you don’t have to wait with the rest of the crowd. And as there was still a line when we went it was way smaller than it had been earlier that day, perfect for an after dinner desert option!!

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My brother got the famous maple bacon bar. Ohmygolly did it look scrumptious. I just had to get the Voodoo Doll one though. It’s cool because it comes with a pretzel and when you stab it into the donut, jelly comes out! it’s so weird and cool!

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The next place we went was actually my favorite place yet. It’s called The Big Legrowlski.

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It’s not a brewery or a bar, but a growler station. I’ve never seen a spot like this before. They carry all kinds of different beer and their list is ever-changing. You can get tasters for cheap and try each one if you want! I think I tried a fair amount there. If you like it, you can get a pint, and if you really love it, get a growler!

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Besides the great beer options, what made this place so great was the owner. He was so friendly and really made the experience a fun one!

And that was my day in Portland! I definitely have to thank my brother and sister-in-law for planning out such a fun day! And I can’t wait to come back and see all the new places they have on their list! Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it and got some good ideas for your next trip to Portland! Have you been there before? What are some of your favorite places to go?

Cheers!

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My Trip to Washington

I’m not going to lie, I never thought Washington would be one of the states that would steal my heart… But it did. The fact 2 of my best friends live there definitely helped, but being born and raised in Southern California all I could think about was how GREEN and beautiful it was!

 

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These pictures were taken at a place called Deception Pass, where we went hiking through all the beautiful trees.

 

Anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE coffee. Coffee is the best, so of course when you’re in Washington you must try a coffee house! We went to a coffee house called Waterfront Coffee Company in a city called Edmonds. They had the coolest names for their sizes so I had to take a picture!

 

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Of course no good coffee house comes without an awesome talented barista who makes your coffee look beautiful like this

 

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Besides coffee, my other favorite thing is of course food. So I told my friends while I was there I wanted 2 things… a good food place and some good beer! They did NOT disappoint! In Seattle there is this small little place called Beth’s Café. OH MY GOODNESS, if you ever go to Seattle you HAVE to go there! Unfortunately I was so excited to try the food that I forgot to take a picture of it, but the place is so unique that I got a couple pictures of it to share with you all. When you walk into the café you are instantly surrounded by walls and walls of colorful pictures. And when you get sat at your table, your host gives you menu’s, a stack of plain white paper, and some crayons. I’m not creative but I did draw some fun Harry Potter references. As for the food I got what’s called a “Northsider” which was Cheddar, swiss, and american cheeses, Chili, and onions piled onto a large mound of hash browns, topped with tomatoes. Served with sour cream and salsa. If your a vegetarian or like the occasional “non meat dish” they offer a vegetarian chili that is AMAZING!

 

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Seattle is also one of the homes to the Pyramid Brewery. A few years back me and my boyfriend visited the one in San Francisco and it was really good, so I thought I would see what Seattle’s location had to offer.

 

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My favorite was the Blackberry Rye. It was one of their special only served in house beers so I bought a growler to take home with me!

Also in Seattle there is a bar that serves tons of craft beers, its called Uber Tavern. This place was also very unique because all of their tables had board games molded onto them! I went in the fall so they had this pumpkin spice ale from a brewery in New York. Really Delicious!
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Drinking beer and playing scrabble, it was a fun night out! (even though I lost)

 

The last part of my trip was walking around and exploring downtown Seattle. We went to the fist Starbucks at Pike Place, and did the underground tour. Sam’s are very popular in Seattle.

 

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And that was my trip to Washington! The green, the gloomy weather, the good food, coffee, beer, sites, friends…. it was all just amazing. And the people are so nice! I can’t wait to go back!

 

Have you visited Seattle or other cities in Washington? What places did you go to? What are some other must see/try places? Leave a comment I’d love to hear about your experiences!