OK, so I may have lied just a little bit. I don’t see how you can blog about Portland and NOT mention beer in one way or another. However, this is my take on our holiday thus far!
I’m loving Portland – a quirky, slightly weird and wacky city, with heaps of stuff to keep us busy.
Our apartment is on the west bank of the Willamette River (saw an otter just near our place on our second morning!) and in a really handy spot – close walking distance to shops, bars, cafes and all forms of public transport. We literally walk out our front door, up and over the railway tracks at Union Station (about 45 stairs … not that I’m counting!!) and we’re at a main TriMet MaxLine train stop. So we have been having fun riding the TriMet around town to see where we end up (usually jumping off whenever Shane spots a brew-bar or pub that needs investigating!). We have also been doing quite a lot of walking, which is good considering the amount of calories we have been consuming with all the food and grog!
The weather has been fantastic – most unusual for Portland at this time of year. It is normally very rainy, but we have had beautiful clear, crisp sunny days with only yesterday and today being quite overcast and showery. It is supposed to be sunny again for the weekend, which suits me, as we have booked 2 wine tours back to back – on Saturday we are doing the Columbia Gorge Wine & Waterfalls Tour and on Sunday we are doing the Willamette Valley Wine Trail – I will report on them in another post next week (if I can remember after all that wine!)
The first signs of spring have begun to show (early due to the run of slightly warmer sunny weather), and there are streets lined with cherry blossom trees and some of the prettiest magnolia trees I’ve ever seen … my favourite is the magnolia tree near Union Station which was just budding when we first arrived and is now almost in full flower. (See main picture below).
Despite my dislike of beer, I have actually found the 2 tours we did, plus some of Shane’s own tasting adventures quite interesting. I have even tasted a couple of sour beers that I thought were OK – not enough to drink a whole beer though! We’ve had a lot of fun walking around the city and discovering heaps of different brew-bars – they are mostly quirky little places and the staff are always happy to talk about beer of course. I have found some of the local ciders to be very nice, and at Rogue Brewery they had their own home made cucumber soda which was really refreshing – I loved it!
We’ve found all the locals to be really friendly and helpful – strangers will shake hands with us and ask all about where we are from and what we are doing in Portland. Just this morning we purchased tickets to a local ice-hockey game for 6th March, and we are going with Ian – a bartender from our local bar (The Rusty Nail)! It should be a lot of fun, and will be good to go with someone who actually knows the rules of the game.
No craft shopping as yet – the bigger ones seem to be out in the suburbs, so not sure if I will get out there or not, but I’m having fun just wandering the streets and checking out the local sights. I can’t believe how many homeless people and weirdos there are out on the streets … very sad. We have only had a few approach us for money, and as Shane said in his first post he gave money to the honest guy who said he needed it for beer!!
That’s about it from me for the moment – I will do a separate post on our trip to the Zoo, and as I said, I will report back on the wine tours …. stay tuned!!