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The season was quiet, my grandkids were off school, I had nothing scheduled at my Keller Williams Realty office. So my granddaughter and I finally got a chance to head out on a long-planned and often postponed (mainly due to weather and her school schedule) adventure. We had a ourselves a grand time sightseeing and shopping surrounded in holiday bliss last week.
I have to admit, it was VERY busy, being the last shopping weekend before Christmas. I was actually surprised more people weren't at the malls. 🙂 We did have fun, in spite of the busyness. and learned some fun, interesting, and useful things, like:
- If you park at the Market, be sure to take your parking ticket. You have to use it to pay first downstairs BEFORE you return to your car and leave.
- It's really cool to watch the fish market throwing the fish back and forth periodically.
- Your kids and grandkids will LOVE a wall coated with chewed gum. Me – not so much! 🙂
- They decorate many of the trees with gorgeous lights and some of the trees with multicolored SWEATERS. They were so cute! I wanted to get a picture of the sweatered trees but never had a chance because driving in that area reminds me a LOT of San Francisco CA. There were many one-way streets, steep hills, and lots of pedestrians. Once I found a place to park, I stayed put!
- There are tons of stores within easy walking distance so your most shopaholic desires should be easily satiated.
- Our two favorite stores so far are the Dragon's Toy Box and MetskerMaps. Up til then, I had tried – unsuccessfully – to buy a map book ala the Thomas Map Books that are no longer published. Not even my local Barnes and Noble could help me. But Metsker Maps had one and I'm thrilled! I love my GPS but sometimes, you really need to see it on paper!
- Every year, for the past 21 years, the Sheraton has hosted an annual Gingerbread Village to benefit the JDRF which is committed to funding the world's best research to cure type 1 diabetes and its complications and serving the people living in its area. This year's theme was Once Upon a Time and is still at the Sheraton through January 5. My granddaughter and I walked the 6 blocks or so from our parking lot and were thrilled to be greeted by the warmth and the many staff people helping with the long line and giving out candy canes to those waiting. You can actually see the creations without standing in line. But my granddaughter wanted to see them a bit more closely – as much for photos as fun – so we did wait. On that day it was wrapped around across the whole lobby and down a hall on the opposite side and it took an hour. But we were glad we waited as we really enjoyed seeing the intricate details of the different buildings. It's a grand way to help an excellent cause. Mega Kudos to the Sheraton and all the terrific volunteers who help with this each year! 🙂
- The Space Needle gives a grand view when it's not foggy or so we've heard. Since it WAS foggy and drizzly we decided to save that for another day. However, I do hear that there are some free or cheap alternatives to it as well that are a big help for our pocketbooks. I was especially interested in Floor 73 of the Columbia Center. It gives discounts for boomers and seniors 55 and over (yay!) AND military ID AND students. So if you take a grandchild who is over 12, make sure they have their school ID with them. I plan on trying that out sometime when we go on a clear sunny day.
- There's a growing movement called Santarchy or Santacon. As we left, we started noticing a ton of Santas all around. They weren't dressed as spiffy as normal and most didn't have any beards on. Some were accompanied by other dressed up characters like a black and purple fairy. I finally asked one of the Santas what was going on and he told me to look up Santarchy where I read that, “Each December Santas visit cities around the world, engaging in a bit of Santarchy as part of the annual Santacon events. It all started back in 1994 when several dozen Cheap Suit Santas paid a visit to downtown San Francisco for a night of Kringle Kaos organized by the Cacophony Society.” This has grown and you will now find this event held at many cities around the world. Santacon shows 321 locations in 44 countries in 2013. From what I have read, including at Wikipedia, as well as what I saw there, it is primarily geared for adults, including an R-rated sign one Santa was holding up. We didn't have any problems and were already leaving. If you are planning a trip to any big city at Christmas time with kids or grandkids and that is not your cup of tea, you should be able to check the dates for the planned events come November or early December at Santacon.
All in all, my granddaughter and I had a grand time full of sweet memories and terrific family photos. We're so glad we went and are looking forward to another visit in the future – probably in the summer so we can try out those lovely view sites. If you have any suggestions for what we should see next, we'd love to hear them. 🙂