Monday, February 16, 2009

O Canada

Joe and I got a kid-free weekend (thanks Grandma Kathy and Aunt Melissa) so we took a trip up to Victoria in British Columbia (that's in Canada, Clare). We rode up on the passenger ferry and rented a car when we got there so that we could explore. We drove around the beach and saw various bays and coves. We could see Mt. Baker and the Olympic Mountains across the waters. We also walked around the downtown area and saw the British Columbia Parliament Building (or parliament building, I can't remember). The architecture was heavily Victorian and stunning. We also took a tour of Craigdarroch castle, minutes from the downtown area, built by one of the wealthiest men in B.C. in the latter-half of the nineteenth century. The castle had a fascinating history. The family who built it was plagued by all kinds of drama, mostly of their own making. James Dunsmuir, who commissioned the house, built his empire on coal and mistreating his workers, and actually died a year before the completion of the castle. The castle became a military hospital and eventually a college. They are still restoring parts of it, which was interesting to the process. We had a great time, the Canadians are so friendly we did not want to leaver. More pictures and travelogue to follow...

Heartbreak Hill

On the morning of Valentine's Day, some of my running buddies (Melissa and Stephanie) and I did our first 10k. The race director told us when we showed up that the course was pretty flat with the exception of "Heartbreak Hill." Melissa and I ran together (Stephanie has a lot more speed than we do), and made to our first big hill, which was huge. It was straight up! So after that we thought we were good. Until we realized there was another, more subtle hill that never ended. We had to run the course twice because we were doing the 10k. The hills caught us off guard, but we still did a really great job!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Urban Adventures

Joe had a free afternoon so we checked off a couple of Seattle attractions that have been on our list. First we went to the Gas Works park on Lake Union. This a park is landscaped around an old gas works built at the beginning of the twentieth century. A bunch of the structures are still there. The former exhauster-compressor building has been turned into a children's play barn. Madison, upon seeing the play barn, remarked to Joe that "this park is not for kids, Dad." The park did have some nice views of Seattle, and the gas works was pretty fascinating, but Madison was right: not for little kids.

After the park we headed to Fremont to check out the troll under the bridge there. And there really was a huge troll under an overpass there, and the kids really were pretty scared of it. It definitely gives one an indication of the little things that make Seattle truly unique.