Flat Stanley arrived toward the end of our stay in Seattle. Unfortunately he missed the few sunny days we had at the beginning of the week. Seattle's temps in January average 48 F. The week we stayed to sit with our grands, the temps were in the mid-30s and chilled you to the bone. The always moist air iced into a thick fog that covered trees and bushes with crystals of ice. It made the foliage look sugar-coated.
Each morning we walked the older kids to school and were amazed to see some of their school friends in shirt sleeves while we shivered in our winter coats. Hardy folks those Seattle area people. but then they are used to a misty rain most mornings. The climate is described as temperate or oceanic mild. Trees and bushes grow well in the climate and the area has huge pines that grace the landscape.
The city of Seattle sits between Puget Sound on the Pacific Ocean side and Lake Washington to the east. From there, the metropolitan area spreads out to the east where we were located in Redmond, home to the huge Microsoft headquarters complex. The Microsoft complex is like a huge university sprawling across acres of land with multiple buildings that make it a small community in itself. The Microsoft influence can be seen all over the area. The mall in the nearby city of Bellevue has a large Microsoft store to wander through and play in with all the latest MS hardware and software.
Even further to the east lie the Cascade Mountains. On clear days their snow capped tops stand out against the blue skies. When the sun clears the air and the clouds part, you can glimpse Mt. Rainier in the distance. At first glance you might think the mountain was named for the notorious claim that the area is always rainy but no, it's named for a man, Rear Admiral Peter Rainier.
Now that Flat Stanley had arrived, the question was what would we do to show him around? Our grands decided that we'd start with a trip to their favorite restaurant, Wibbley's Gourmet Hamburgers in Bellevue. It's a little restaurant in a small strip mall but had the greatest hamburgers. I looked closely and sure enough, there seemed to be a slight smile on Stanley's face.
What to show Stanley next? The Space Needle? The Farmer's Market? The Original Starbucks?