If Days One through Three were the beginning of a love affair with Seattle, Day Four was the consummation, because that was the day I was introduced to ... Fremont.
Also known as the Center of the Known Universe, Fremont is a unique Seattle neighborhood that revels in its peculiarity. (The unofficial motto is "De Libertas Quirkas" - or "Freedom to be Peculiar" for the non-Latin speakers.) Public art is absolutely everywhere, and you can spend a very satisfying afternoon rubbernecking your way through the streets. In fact, that's exactly what my handsome host Blake and I did.
Here's a partial list of the neat things we encountered:
- A multitasking signpost pointing visitors toward such random locations as the North Pole, Machu Picchu, Solaris, and Xanadu.
- A huge statue of Lenin salvaged from Slovakia after the fall of Communism.
- The Fremont Troll - a huge concrete beast hiding under the Aurora Bridge with a captured Volkswagen under its huge hand.
- Two large topiary brontosauruses purchased from a children's museum.
- A huge cold war-era rocket attached the corner of a building.
We wandered through a handful of fantastic vintage stores (including the Fremont Vintage Mall - where I bought tiki-style salt and pepper shakers - and Deluxe Junk - with what I later discovered was a Dutch french fry mascot standing outside) and hit Roxy's Deli for some french fries (What can I say? I'm highly suggestible.) and an Irish coffee. Oh, and a hot as hell waiter whom I surreptitiously videotaped so that I'd have a visual reminder of him. Please don't judge me.
We left the Fremonsters behind, and traveled to Gas Works Park. While we were there we saw two bums and a gaggle of nerds beating one another with foam swords. I loved seeing the remnants of the gas light plant, but we had to leave pretty quickly as we were rapidly losing daylight.
As we headed to Kerry Park and its beautiful view of the city, Blake told me about a recent controversy regarding underwater billboards. I was immediately intrigued. Late that August, signs for Ivar's - a local seafood chain - had been found anchored to the bottom of Puget Sound. Supposedly, restaurateur and renowned self-promoter Ivar Haglund had believed submarine travel through the Sound to be inevitable and wanted to get a jump on the competition, submerging the signs back in 1955. A mere week before I arrived on the scene, the folks at Ivar's admitted that the whole thing was a hoax. I don't care. Still neat.
We returned to Blake's apartment where he cooked us dinner, which we unfortunately had to wolf down in order to get to a screening of "An Education" on time. After the movie, we visited a - ahem - lovely little gay bar called The Cuff. The place had fake "stone" wallpaper stapled to the walls, so you can take it from there. After some exhausting rounds of drinking and judging, we left, stopping by Dick's for some late night eats, and no, the irony isn't lost on me.
It was a relatively sedate end to a fantastic trip. Big love to Blake, Charlie, Dean and Brett for introducing me to such an amazing town. I will be back.
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