One would be hard pressed to find three more unlikely friends: Thirty-something Erik, manager of a Cleveland hotel and destined for greater things. Middle-aged Jill from rural Ohio, who makes her living selling fine crafts at street festivals. Then there is me, Alice -- retired, married, living in Oklahoma and hooked on gardening and the Internet. Yet friends we are and have been for years.
When Erik won a sales contest including
free airfare to anywhere in the country,
it seemed natural to him to add some
frequent-flyer miles and invite Jill and
me along for a dream vacation. Seattle
was chosen after a three-way email
discussion, and we made our plans to meet
in Seattle in the middle of June 1999.
I met Jill and Erik at the airport where they had rented a car, then we checked into our suite at the downtown Residence Inn. We were treated wonderfully well. Our fifth-floor balcony overlooked Lake Union and I'm sure it was the best seat in the house. The view of the harbor was spectacular by day and night.
Our first morning found us taking a ferry to British Columbia. It was obvious before we got off the boat that Victoria was a special place. Flower baskets hung from every lamppost along the waterfront and city streets. Victoria's old-world charm was hard to resist. The building here is the famous Empress Hotel.
Jill and Alice had High Tea at the Empress while Erik
opted for a more substantial meal in the restaurant downstairs.
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