I have to say, the city is pretty brilliant. We were infinitely grateful for the lovely, sunny weather we had the first day and the seldom showers we had the second and third days. Apparently, it had been raining for 30 days straight before we arrived, and I've got to admit, I don't think I would have been as enamored with the city if it had been so rainy. Still, during the times that it was a little grey and misty, I couldn't help but still feel happy to be there. I think the lush, green surroundings suit the cold, wetness very well - so much so that I found myself still ooing and awing when the sun was shaded by the clouds and the windshield wipers came on. Unlike Paris, which is made to be seen in the brilliant sunlight or clear, dark night, Portland is just made for the dreariness.
We hadn't planned anything for our time there, so we spent our days going where our hearts pulled us, and for the most part, our hearts stayed in the center and east-side of town. I loved the vibe and charm of the residents, and the mélange of old and new, rustic and modern that reverberated throughout the streets. Portland has a much more "old-town" feel to it than Austin does, but I still found myself sighting similarities between the two cities. And, I definitely felt at home there.
We rarely visit places that require a stay in a hotel (we usually spend our vacation time visiting friends), but we stayed at the Jupiter Hotel this time around and quickly realized we'd made a great choice. The rooms are nice, but the best part about the hotel/motel is that it's right in the middle of all the action. I think its closest Austin counterpart would be San Jose Hotel on Congress, just a little more rough around the edges.
All-in-all, the trip was a major success - we ate, we drank and were certainly merry. We caught some amazing views from the Japanese garden which is tucked into the side of a mountain, and Gui and I took a trip to the coast where I fell in love with the lovely, quaint seaside town of Cannon Beach. We even visited a cheese factory in Tillamook and tasted some amazing cheddar before continuing down the Oregon Coast Highway and heading back to Portland. Of course, there was the obligatory trip to Powell's bookstore (we went twice) and lunch stops at the famous food carts downtown. My favorite places were the little local craft shops filled with beautiful handmade treasures and plenty of inspiration.
I admittedly visited Portland with high expectations, but I was no where near disappointed. I do wish that some of the shops stayed open past 6pm, but the fact that there is no State sales tax in Oregon totally makes up for that.
Gui getting ready to devour his maple syrup + bacon Voodoo doughnut.
View of Mount Hood and Portland proper from the Japanese Gardens.
Lovely food and ambiance at The Farm Café