A Travellerspoint blog

locks and ladder

semi-overcast 16 °C

All locks look alike but it was a long time since we had seen one, so we enjoyed the time that we were stuck in the middle of the canal that joins Washington lake with the sound. As an add-on we saw a harbour seal who was looking for a meal in this space in between.
Next to the canal salmons are invited to move back from the sea to their native river through a separate mini-canal and spawn the next generation. The ladder is so named because in order to manage the difference in height between the (low) sea and the (high) lake they have to jump over a number (21 in the case) of hurdles. Halfway there are windows that show the water between two of these hurdles, and we can watch the fish preparing themselves for the next jump. This is supposed to be the mating season for the “steelhead” salmon species, but somehow the late spring also seems to trigger a delay in their instincts. All in all we see two fish who obviously were not sexually mature and we wondered what they were doing there. When Lisa was last here, there were hundreds of very mature animals Still, we tick the box.

Posted by jefvincent 07:17 Archived in USA Comments (0)


semi-overcast 14 °C

Most of our hikes in Kenya include a steep climb to arrive a viewpoint, a 5 minutes contemplation of the vast view and then a much faster descent to the point of origin. So far the state of Washington presented us with flat but arduous coastal walks. This time we returned to our familiar pattern. 1 hour drive away from Seattle we crossed a beautiful pine forest in about 1 hour, increased our altitude by 300 meter, had a sandwich, took the mandatory pictures and went down with the satisfaction that righteously comes with a job well done.

Posted by jefvincent 06:56 Archived in USA Comments (0)


overcast 12 °C

When we arrived in Seattle Lisa had armed us with a todo / tosee twopager that was the synthesis of her 5 years of local expertise. This one was high on the list.
Taking off on water. Never done. Discovering the complexity of Seattle’s’ land and water, yess. Getting a sense of orientation. Nope. Having a wonderful time. Absolutely.

Seattle is a vast suburbia surrounding a small city centre. Now that the spring is taking off with full force to make good for the 1 month delay, we saw the greening of America against the backdrop of the Cascades on one side and the Olympic mountains on the other. We saw the Bellvue buildings of Microsoft and almost touched the towers of downtown, understood the link between Washington lake and the sound, peeped in the kitchen of the large mansions that will soon be flooded thanks to the global warning, and realized with satisfaction that by then we will live on the highest point of Seoul.

Posted by jefvincent 18:01 Archived in USA Comments (0)


the pictures date from more than 1 week ago and if I understand the logic of this blog correctly they will be displayed in their chronological order. If you want to see them best is to select them through the tag “troll”.

overcast 12 °C

An extension to the beer chapter. It is 8:30 PM. A giant concrete troll crawls out if his hole under a bridge over the highway. A line of more than 100 connoisseurs takes shape. At 9 PM, a car of the beer patrol arrives and the crew sets up a stand next to the troll. We move forward and receive an indelible smiley drawn on our hand and a ticket with a number. Then we go home.
The next day we can check on the web site of the brewery if our ticket number qualifies us to become member of the fanclub of the brewery. The lucky ones have to register and will be invited to special sales of unique vintage bottles. Beer madness. Beer bubble?
None of our 4 tickets was lucky. So sad.

PS: the pictures date from more than 1 week ago and if I understand the logic of this blog correctly they will be displayed in their chronological order. If you want to see them best is to select them through the tag “troll”.

Posted by jefvincent 09:09 Archived in USA Comments (0)


overcast 12 °C

Lisa and Ryan have a passion for beer, with a specialisation in sour beers. We Belgians think that we are the champions of the beerbrewing universe, but during the first days in Seattle I discover a vibrant microbrewery scene that generates an amazing variety of tastes. I’m not very familiar with the new developments in Belgium, but I’m tempted to believe that here there is less respect for an nonexistent tradition and that the experimentation is more bold, with mixed results. We didn’t feel the need for the beer with coffee flavor, but there were other amazing brews far beyond the plain lagers that we usually have.
Each brewery seems to have a flagship café and we visited a few. Besides the liquid their design was also interesting. The population was varied and Lisa and Ryan told us about the beer loving community, the beer exchange platforms between different areas on the West Coast and all the other aspects of this vibrant microcosm.

For me, a mass production consumer who normally sees beer as booze that goes very well with nyama choma (grilled goat), it is interesting to see how beer is treated like others treat wine. The way the aroma is described, the analysis of the ageing (often on bourbon and wine barrels), the hunt for vintage bottles and rare brews, the type of glass that is used for tasting. Each beer gets an “IBU grade” according to the level of “hoppiness” (the higher the IBU, the hoppier) and there is a wild competition between breweries to come up with innovative hop hybrids and to produce another unique product. Sometimes the prices are also close to very good wines. In the process I discovered a new term for flavours: “tart”. According to the dictionary it just means”sour”, according to Ryan it is a subcategory of sour and refers to a fruity component. And it seems to be important for beer tasting. The most common beer type was “IPA”, or Indian Pale Ale. The Indian origin is lost in time, but the beer is solid and very tasteful.
Besides the brewery-owned bars we also visited “normal” bars with up to 40 different types of draft beer. We tasted and toasted and tried and decided that there is a lot we like. Let’s see what we find in New York.

Posted by jefvincent 08:45 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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