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27 May – 10 June 2014

In Seattle - or rather Bainbridge Island ½ hour ferry ride from Seattle - I stayed with Ed and Sandy. Amazing people inviting me to stay as long as I liked though our connection was weak – a good German friend's older sister was au pair at Ed and Sandy's many years ago. From the first moment I was treated like family meeting countless friends, taken out kayaking and sailing many times, visiting the local farmer's market, etc. In addition I was driven all over town to fix my bicycle, stock up and do many other practicalities as preparation for Alaska. Besides being incredibly helpful and generous we had countless interesting conversations and cultural exchanges. Bainbridge Island itself is a beautiful oasis close to Seattle – hilly and overgrown with large trees, small and therefore always close to the water, a cosy little town, etc. Seattle has a reputation of being very rainy but the weather was great during my two weeks...

My Europe visit and my broken wheel delayed my trip to Alaska and as many people along the way had told me June is better than August (less rain and tourists but more mosquitoes), I decided to reverse my trip taking public transport to Alaska and bicycling back to Seattle (and if I'm very lucky I might even get headwind back through Canada). I first looked into ferry rides but they were much too expensive with a minimum of USD 650 for 4 days sleeping on the deck. Instead I decided to fly but I had to wait 10 days for an affordable ticket (USD 250 including the bike) and still Ed and Sandy had no problem with me staying. With all this extra time I got my website updated, sent couchsurfing requests to anchorage, read and relaxed a lot and enjoyed helping out around the house/garden because I seldom get to do practical work. One beautiful day I took the ferry to Seattle and biked around town seeing amongst other the Smith Tower, the famous Pike Place Market (which was much too touristic for my taste), the Olympic Sculpture Park and the Space Neddle. Afterwards I biked north out of town – along the coast – on the Elliott bike trail, across the old locks to Ballard and then the Burke-Gilman trail past the Gas Works Park and the university to beautiful Lake Washington. A great day where I met a lot of friendly, local people and finally found (at Amtrak) a cardboard box large enough to fit my bike in when flying to Alaska.

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