Each fall when we returned to school from summer vacation, it seemed all my teachers were programmed to require students to write or tell what they did on summer vacation. I was lucky, in that when I was a youngster one set of my grandparents traveled lots and I always had a story to tell. As I have gotten older it seems we have taken fewer and fewer vacations. I am always tucking a little money away for that proverbial rainy day or disaster. I listen to the forecasts and squirrel away more money for that futuristic retirement. When the bills are paid and the saving is done, it seems there is little left for a travel vacation. I am happy to report we just got home from a few days away.
We traveled to Spokane, a city I had only driven through in the past. We went to visit a friend who lived there. She had offered to let us use her home as a home base. We arrived to find our friend living in one of the older neighborhoods, with the large old homes from the turn of the last century, full of character, mature trees and small lawns. It was an overdose of green considering that my home in Montana never can brag about an abundance of rain in August and this year has been particularly dry.
Though the heat was terrible and humidity not much better, I did find myself sneaking in walks and taking in the architecture of the homes, the flowering plants and even the trees. The boulevards were lined with sycamore trees, creating an archway of shade over cobblestone streets. Almost every house had some kind of porch, and it was decked out with furniture, but seldom was someone out watching the world go by. I on the other hand found myself out there almost every chance I could, enjoying the fresh air, watching the runners, walkers and the visiting cats. It reminded me of summer nights where generations of my family spent the evenings after dinner outside chatting with neighbors, watering the garden, and swatting at mosquitoes.
Our hostess took us out to see parks with exquisite plantings. There were areas dedicated to roses and an English garden. There were beds of perennials and herbs. We visited a conservatory with plants too delicate for the full set of seasons that Spokane offers. It was fun to see her share here city with us.
My husband and I are ethnic food junkies and always look for good ethnic food no matter where we visit. On this trip we took a walking tour of Spokane that was part history and part food called Spokane Bites It was a great time that reminded us of how much we enjoy a visit to the city. Our tour guide was full of facts about the history of her city, recent to far distant past. The restaurants they chose were local joints, no chain stuff here. We sampled the best smoked steelhead I have ever had, along with a local brew. We had two kinds of soup at a spot may downtown workers favor that turned into a local night time hot spot each night. We sampled wares from an Italian restaurant that the owner had actually come from our neck of Montana. We had chocolates and deserts that were just grand. When we finished both my husband and I wished we were staying downtown for a couple of days because there was so much yet to explore there. We found ourselves thinking that for a day or two we could once again enjoy the mad rush of energy that comes with living downtown in a city.
Only a day later we would find ourselves back on the road heading back to our piece of paradise. That dry land in a sparsely populated state with little ethnic cuisine. As my husband and I chatted on our long drive home we agreed it was a good visit, but we were glad to be going home. It confirmed our life choices had been right for us. We had lived in the heart of the city once and enjoyed it, but we did not long to return to that life. We knew what it offered and what we were missing, but the scales of life were much more weight in our favor living the rural life in Montana.