America ‘merica!

David and I have recently been on the most amazing holiday. I’ve several motivations for blogging about the trip when I’ve not got around to it for previous holidays (sorry, Iceland). Firstly, everyone’s been asking about it so I feel a tad more justified in indulgently telling all. Plus, I want to. I’m happy to repeat the stories because it makes me remember all the cool things we did. And finally, I found some of the most useful stuff for planning this holiday and others in the past was the blogs and comments that people have written, just like this. So it would be nice to contribute in some way.

So I’m not going to give you a blow by blow account (although I happily will, if you want!), or tell you every single place we ate and everything we did. I’m just going to pick and choose, and share the things that are popping into my head all the time as I think about our holiday. [edit: turns out everything pops into my head so this blog is a lot more comprehensive than planned! I’ve had to split it up…]

The first thing anyone asks is – what was the best bit? I genuinely can’t choose. Yellowstone was everything I hoped for and more. Watching orcas in the Salish Sea was by far the most moving experience. And San Francisco was fabulous. So basically ALL OF IT.


We started our adventure in Seattle. The best bits:

Pike Place Market – yes, it is chock full of tourists. Hoards of them posing outside Starbucks. For someone who struggles with crowds, it did get a bit overwhelming. But we still really enjoyed exploring and our various foodie discoveries:

Breakfast – Le Panier

Snack time – Piroshky Piroshky

Lunch (nicest, sandwiches, ever) – Michou

The first evening, we ate here on recommendation and it was delicious.

Another night we drank cheap margaritas and I learnt that my husband (partner of 7+ years) doesn’t really like tequila. The nachos were fairly standard, but the tacos were delicious! They literally make tacos from any meat going – duck, pork, cod, rabbit, beef cheek. Go go go!

Whale watching. Unbelievable. We organised our trip through Clipper Vacations because they were the only operator that left from downtown Seattle with a lunch break in Friday Harbor. It was a long day, and when we went for dinner we were a bit off balance being back on dry land (and not because of the margaritas!) Completely worth it though.

Beneath the Streets – a great way to spend an hour or two, particularly for history / architecture types.

Obviously we did the Space Needle – we booked online via the app all of an hour or so before we went and it was completely worth it given the queues. It was much more fun than I anticipated with some super views.

Space Needle

The Space Needle

View from the Space Needle

View from the Space Needle

Where to stay?

Finding accommodation for the whole trip was tricky, we wanted somewhere reasonably nice and fairly central for both cities because we only had a couple of days in each but were still on a budget. When we got to searching, it became obvious that the cheapest option is to go for shared bathroom facilities but we decided that balancing budget with having the best experience we could meant spending a little more for our own bathroom. After a bit of digging and reading lots of reviews, we went for Hotel Max. For both Seattle and San Francisco we found the best deal going direct via the hotel website.

Image: Hotel Max

Image: Hotel Max

Decor and helpfulness was superb but our first room was SO. NOISY. They did move us with no trouble, but we heard a guy next to us getting checked into our old room and I wondered how often they have that problem. Still, location was perfect and David appreciated free Craft Beer hour! All the little quirks add up to a great place for a city break, including the mini bar credits you get for forgoing housekeeping!

Next up… San Francisco

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