It weirdly reminded me of camp to wake up first in the top bunk and have to creep slowly down the ladder and quietly grab my toiletries and try not to make a sound as I opened and closed the heavy door. Sharing a room with four other girls had been easy, because for the most part I hadn’t seen them (besides my friend, Giselle, who had come with me, of course). The hostel bathrooms and showers were down the long hall, but I didn’t mind that much either. I’ve camped in worse, showered in more public places. Definitely peed in more public places as a hiker. (Sorry, TMI?) Overall, I had a great first time staying at a hostel and would like to do it again.
After getting ready, it was time for some walking. Since we’d been getting lifts the previous day, we still didn’t have bus passes. That was fine by us, because we were excited to finish our morning in Vancouver and not spend a dime on transportation. We walked about an hour to the Granville Island Market – a colorful outdoor/indoor market with fresh food, coffee, goods, and more. We kept seeing these “cinnamon records” at every pastry shop, so Giselle grabbed one for us to try. It was basically a big thin disk of a flaky crispy sweetness. It was good – but I had my heart set on a bagel and some fresh coffee!
From there, it was time to walk back to the bus station. This walk was going to be a good hour and half-to-two hour walk, but honestly it was a nice way to say goodbye to the city. We walked through a lot of parks (one almost every two blocks or so) and thought about how nice everyone had been and how much greenery there was, and how maybe people were nicer because of how much greenery there was in the city.
Our bus trip home was directly opposite from the disgruntled driver we’d had on our way in, with a man who gave us a tip on how to get free bus rides and who made jokes like he was a professional tour guide. And, in the span of just over twenty-four hours, we arrived back in Seattle. The bus dropped us off very close to Pioneer Square, which we’d been to earlier, but if we walked through it we could get to Pike Place Market. Essentially, a market to a market, with lots of walking and miles in between.
On our way, we passed the infamous gum wall, which just felt like a gross wall of trash and spit. It looked cool with all the colors, but it was still gum not in a trashcan. We got to Pike Place kind of late in the afternoon, and to be honest, it was kind of underwhelming compared to Granville’s market. It was much, much bigger, but felt duller, and much more touristy. Pike Place was packed with people, with cheap trinket shops, and produce stands that didn’t seem all that fresh. I don’t mean to hate on it – it was still worth going to – but it was a letdown in comparison.
I spotted the Starbucks original store, and originally had wanted to go in since I a Starbucks barista for so many years, but the line was long and at a standstill. I was low energy and kind of over it. I saw an ice cream stand and hurried over for a pick me up. Unfortunately, the person in front of me got the last of the flavor I wanted. I stepped out of line and was wondering when it would be time to go. Then Giselle spotted a little shop with ‘Piroshky’ and our lives were saved. We waited in line but it was so worth it – that food brought us back to life.
From there we went back to exploring Seattle. We spent a bit more time walking around Pike Place Market, thought about getting an uber or lyft, but decided we could make the walk back to her brother’s place. We were getting in our steps, but feeling pretty good. After catching our breath, relaying our exciting 24 hours to our host, and chugging water – we took a lyft to Fremont. They dropped us in a crowded area with the cutest plant and vintage shops. I was bummed things were closing and we hadn’t known what a great area it was. I spotted the Center of the Universe sign (which honestly wasn’t as great as the internet made it out to be), and then we walked a little further to find our Troll.
This sculpture was pretty infamous, and since we were headed to the Gas Works Park anyway, it made since to find him. I don’t know if it was the fact that two little kids were running around and crawling down his arms, if it was how deserted the area was, or if the dust blowing up looked like perfect tufts of breath – but I was into this Troll. I’d been excited by the Sign and not so much the Troll based on internet reviews and pictures, but boy was I wrong. It just goes to show, you never really know what your own journey delights will be when traveling.
Finally, we made our way to Gas Works Park, just as a ragtag band of misfits started playing. They had all sorts of instruments, kind of like an impromptu jazz band, but definitely didn’t dress in uniforms or anything. They seemed to have just decided to all meet up, play some fun public music for the sunset spreading across the skyline. We’d be heading to one last dinner shortly, but it was a good start to a goodbye.