Sunday, December 20, 2009


 Early yesterday morning, my friend Judy and I climbed aboard a Hesselgrave tour bus for an all-day trip to Leavenworth, a pretend Bavarian village in the Cascades. The 49-passenger bus was almost full, and I had been warned that Leavenworth is pretty much of a tourist trap. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it was a good thing to do once and experience... once.

We climbed through small towns with picturesque names like Grotto, Gold Bar, and Skykomish on our way over Stevens pass. This pass through the mountains is at just over 4,000 feet and had a ski lodge at the top, and lots of snow. When we arrived in Leavenworth and were shunted into a secondary parking lot for buses, I looked out and saw quaint Bavarian style houses and... people. Wall to wall people. Apparently they were all there for the final Saturday's lighting of the Christmas lights. Here's a picture of me after we arrived. The crowds grew from this point.

We had been given a tip to find a place for lunch off the main street, which would allow us not to fight the shoulder to shoulder crowds. We found a lovely little place called The Alley Cafe, and sat down to a beer (for Judy) and a glass of wine (for me) and a very good lunch. When we left our little cafe, we found that even MORE people had arrived, and there was little to do but follow from one shop to another, fighting to make your way through the crowds. It's worth enlarging the following picture just to capture the day's feeling.

We did find a bookstore, but even that was impossible to navigate. We thought we could just park ourselves at a bookstore and browse, but there were too many people everywhere to do that. So, after a few hours of difficult crowds, we made our way back to the Alley Cafe and parked ourselves there for a small snack. Once it got dark, we went outside to see the lighting of the town's buildings, listened to Christmas carols and made our way along with the rest of the cattle to our bus.

I left the house yesterday morning at 7:30 am and returned home at 9:30 pm, glad to finally be back home. I got another taste of how different the world is today than it was when I was young, just in sheer population numbers. I thought of an old science fiction movie called "Soylent Green" that showed people shuffling joylessly along from place to place, following the herds of people.

I did have the chance to spend the day with Judy and we talked and reminisced about the old days. All in all, I'm glad I went but I'm also glad I don't have to do that again.


  1. Yuck! I hate crowds and especially Christmas crowds. They are all usually grumbling about how much more they have to do to get ready for this "joyous" holiday. Makes me that much happier that I no longer get caught up in it. I'll leave it to everyone else...thank you.

    The lights look beautiful...but so not worth the whole day to see.

  2. Yeah, crowds have a way of getting on one's nerves. I'm thrilled just at looking at the deep snow bank in the second photo. The lights are wonderful: At least worth one trip.

    Good picture of you!

    Merry Christmas!

  3. Holy Moly...what a crowd!
    I got a chuckle out of your reference to 'Soylent Green'.
    The scenery from the bus looked very pretty.
    Sunny :)

  4. OMG! That movie! Yeah, I know the feeling. Like when we went to Gatlinburg in October. It wasn't the place we saw as kids... It was bumper to bumper shops to buy souvenirs. I, too, say glad I "been there, done that. Don't have to go back!"

  5. Hi DJan, You are very brave..I don't like crowds..I probably would have gone back to the bus..either that or got a ride over to Wenatche!!
    Soylent Green, now that is true recycling if I recall correctly! LOL
    Wonderful lights on their Main Street! :)

  6. I'm not very good with crowds either... hence why Dick and I didn't actually go to the party I helped decorate for. Good to see the other half though?

  7. It was an experience, right? I occasionally enjoy that sort of thing if it's expected and I'm in the right frame of mind. Who you're with also makes a big sounds like you had great company!

  8. This place must be nice in January – but then the lights may be gone. You look really cute in that picture. I don’t like crowds either but my husband hates them. My daughter’s in-laws are from the state of Kerala in India and visit there every year. They asked us to come and stay for a while but I hear the crowds in India are terrible and it is like your picture, but every day. I don’t know if we’ll ever go – mostly because of the crowds.

  9. WE haven't been there yet but will try to find a quieter time to visit, if we do decide to go. The lights are beautiful but not sure if I would make the trip just for that.

    I did enjoy the photos and the tour through your eyes.

  10. Hi DJ, just drop by to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


  11. Holy cow, that place was crowded. A personnal shopping nightmare for me. Luckily I make most of my gifts so I don't have to shop much. Merry Christmas DJan!

  12. Holy Smokes!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I guess it turned out to be a people trap for sure.

    I don't think I saw that many people in our town since Pope Pius XII came here and drank a cup of coffee at the Coffee Pot.

    Anyway, it was something to see.

  13. I hear you. I would MUCH rather be alone in the middle of the woods taking photos of nature. ha


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