Monday, August 29, 2016

Into The City :: Portland, Oregon

After our successful walking venture out into Portland, we decided to follow our Airbnb host's suggestion that we get ourselves all day passes for the bus, metro and commuter rail... one pass, for $5, and we could ride any system, all day. That turned out be a fabulous plan, and we found that we could easily get around, wherever we wanted to head! So, for our second day outing in Portland Oregon, we chose to go out in search of breakfast, books, and anything else between!

It wasn't by chance that we arrived at Petite Provence, this time on SE Division. I had such great memories of my dinner, then breakfast at the Alberta Arts location, that I was kind of giddy about sharing the experience with Maria.

Our bus dropped us off about 6 blocks from this worth the walk bakery and restaurant. Funny... I remember thinking it was really quite busy, but now that I am looking at a calendar, I realize we were showing up for breakfast on a Sunday morning, about the time churches were letting out, when families would be ready for a special weekend breakfast. No wonder the place was abuzz! But we were seated right away! And everything was as good as I remembered. I love that I had reached the point in our vacation when I didn't know what day it was!

We will always remember this as the time Maria discovered that a buttery croissant is delicious with fresh raspberry preserves. Délicieux!

All of these posts, and there are more to come, are for memories' sake, for Maria, especially. She asked me to write them down, the things we saw and did, the time we shared, because she loves CB, how it keeps things saved up for her to revisit. I promised her, too, that when the time comes, CB will not be deleted, but quietly archived, set to private, and available to her for as long as she, and her brothers, like

This crepe is made to prove that you cannot get too many fresh, ripe, beautiful PNW berries! We ate all we could pick while we were with Mom and Dad, right out of their forest. This dish was magnifique! Not too sweet, and berry, berry generous with local flavor. Thank goodness she was sharing!

During our leisurely Sunday morning déjeuner, we talked about bus routes, and stops along the way, and the prospect of finding the legendary City of Books!

But first, another walk! This time to Collage, also on SE Division. And this being Portland, on our way to the art store, we saw a lot of art. I love walking in Portland.

I love not-big-box-stores.

I love murals.

I love exposed bricks, corner entries, corbels, and pendant lights, dappled light, and green trees.

Honky Tonk Taco? I might love this, too. At least, the name is intriguing!

Effectively, the only "real problem" with Portland, Oregon, is the abundance of tempting, critically acclaimed, popular, great smelling, and intriguing dining options. We kept saying, Next time. Next time, with the boys, and Bambi.

At some point we got aboard another bus, and it brought us to Downtown. A bustling city, with all of the bustling city sights one might expect. And the truth is I got a little turned around, which is even less fun as a pedestrian than as a driver. But when I was looking around, then looking down at my map app, then walking to the end of one block, then retracing our steps the other way... Maria put her hand on my shoulder and said, "We've got this." And that's why she is the dearest traveling companion. All in stride, with humor, resolve, and calm... we fixed on a direction and walked on! We crossed streets, put city blocks behind us, and began to regain our sense of direction.

Culture shock can strike in the oddest places! Water fountains, in public, four at once, and water running, nonstop. Any part of this sight was enough to make me exclaim in surprise, to be at once delighted, and even somewhat appalled, which is a shame. Where we come from, life has begun to hint at a futuristic wasteland narrative, where water is not a natural resource for all to enjoy, but a commodity to wage battles over. Seeing these beautiful, generous bubblers, free flowing, enticing, I felt awestruck by the heedless decadence of it.

And then... then this! Powell's City of Books! A beautiful, generous, enticing city block and three stories of literary, artful, abundance! We were not prepared for the awe-striking decadence of it!

It's not hard to imagine, deliberately, getting lost in here, curling up in a corner, and forgetting the outside world. It's easy to believe that hours might pass, before you would recall there ever was another book store.

Honestly, there almost are no other bookstores where we come from. (My apologies to that "bookstore" where we come from, but you are doing it wrong.)

Effectively, the only "real problem" with Powell's City of Books is the abundance of tempting, critically acclaimed, popular, great smelling, and intriguing reading options. We kept saying, Next time. Next time, with the boys,and Bambi. We hardly new where to begin. We called the boys, and Bambi, to ask them if they had any requests. We went up stairs, through aisles, around corners, down stairs, into color coded regions, where every employee we met was alert, attentive, and amiable.

Our "real problem?" Lack of luggage space, and the prospect of hauling everything back on the train ride home! It was an amusing predicament, and one we had to regularly remind ourselves of every time we saw something too good to resist!

This shelf, for example, was too good to resist! An entire selection of books illustrated by, written by, or about, Tasha Tudor, a dear favorite of ours.

Old books, new books, series, all the authors, themes, genres, and we were only beginning to familiarize ourselves with one department of this wonderland!

I said so before, Seeing books we know and love, was like running into dear friends. We literally had conversations with ourselves, weighing the consequences of carrying out every favorite book we came across. In the end, we turned to the copies of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. Not one or two editions, no. Powell's had countless different prints, and copies, paperback, hardbound, illustrated, old, new, large and small. Some were inscribed, a gift from an aunt to a niece. Maria found a used copy, with pretty illustration plates, heavy, but worthy of carrying home.

Even the branded merchandise was tempting. I wishful shopped for family and friends, pretending I was on a spending spree, with limitless baggage space, and personal porters. Glasses, for our literary club (the imaginary one, where we sit in over-stuffed winged chairs, and recite poetry, while a crackling fire glows cheerily.) Sci-fi water bottles... for Uncle Paul, and friend Paul, and another for Geoff. Max gets a mathematics water bottle. I am an adept and generous wishful shopper. Everyone got something good.

We could have stayed longer. We would have taken a room, if that were an option. But eventually, we stepped out, to walk further, to see what else...

And we were not disappointed. Portland has so much else!

Maybe this was just a preliminary explore. Yes, Maria and I were scouts, making the first tentative investigations of Portland, Oregon for Next time. Next time with the boys, and Bambi.

And when we do return, with Geoff, William, Alex, Max, Bambi... I hope the Passion Fruit Cocoa Nib donut is at Blue Star Donuts. That was something worth trying!

There will be plenty to see and enjoy, to try when we return.

Like I said... there is an abundance of tempting, critically acclaimed, popular, great smelling, and intriguing dining options. Next time?

Pretty Portland.

There is always a moment, when I am traveling, and it occurs to me... Hey, we could keep going. We could get on the train, and see what else, where else. Well, not necessarily for a Tattoo Expo, but I've heard Seattle is great. We even talked about staying put, in Portland, calling home, and letting them know to pack, and arrange for movers, while Maria and I find a large Portland home, with old trees, big porches, and a funny driveway, and plenty of room for robots, chickens, goats. The master plan? Procure a row of houses, so we could bring our friends and loved ones, too. It's like wishful shopping, scaled up.

We found a festival. The India Cultural Festival... a fortunate discovery.

It's no fun being lost when you have to walk around to correct errors, and misdirection, but when it comes to attending a big event, being a pedestrian is splendid! No parking woes, we just walked in, and enjoyed the sights.

We were happy to find two seats, good ones, where we watched several dances, followed by a show of India's regional dress styles. All of it was quite beautiful.

Portland, Oregon, is far enough north, that even in August, we were enjoying long summer days, when the sun wouldn't set until about 8:30 at night. Around the corner from the Festival at Pioneer Courthouse Square, we found the Tri-Met that would take us back to our Laurelhurst home. We had a half of a pizza, and some fresh fruit waiting for us there, and of course, Steve, too.

Maria, that day pass for public transportation, and beautiful Portland to explore... what a great combination! The day was good, the memories are dear.


Jennifer said...

Here is what I want you to promise me. I want you and Maria and William to really work on making a list. Think up and write down anything and everything (and then go back and circle the *musts*, put boxes around the strongest maybes) that you'd like to do in Boston. I would love to spend our first evening together pouring over that list, hatching plans day-by-day, and turning this into your most bestest scouting trip for, you know, when the boys and Bambi will all make the trek! Can. not. wait.

Jennifer said...

Plus now I want to go to Portland!!!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...


Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

I solemnly, gratefully, whole-heartedly promise!
William introduced us to WikiVoyage... and we had a fun, informative evening, virtually visiting New England. It's happening! Really, really happening... and we can. not. wait!!