Thursday, September 01, 2016

Please Slow Down :: Leaving Portland

Our outings, taking in all the Portland sights, led to some restful nights, and drowsy mornings. Our Airbnb host, Steve, made our mornings even cozier. While Maria slept, I reviewed our plan for leaving Portland. The Coast Starlight would leave PDX Union Station at 2:25 pm, and a Trimet could get us to the station in less than half an hour. I padded our schedule, to allow for delays, to get us to the station early. And with all of this calculated, and our bags mostly packed, we would still have a leisurely morning for another outing.

Our stay in Portland still felt fresh and inviting, neither of us was too eager to leave. In fact, we kept finding new reasons to stay, to ponder the advantages of sending for our things, the chickens, goats, and guys. We kept sighing, wishfully, over big trees, green canopies, the hints of the season to come, like fallen leaves, and changing colors. We were enjoying the subtle respite from the heat wave, the cool mornings. And how to describe the friendly nature of Portlanders? Noteworthy, yes. Warm and familiar, yes, those too. On our walks, the people who were out exchanged smiles, greetings, in an easy, open manner. No one seemed too busy, too distracted, no one made an excuse to be remote or distant. Sometimes, closer to home, we were even asked, "Are you new here?" in a welcome to the neighborhood tone. It gave one the impulse to say, "Yes, quite new. We've just arrived, and we'll be your friends and neighbors." One wouldn't be surprised to be invited to a cookout, or the next block party. Sweet, friendly, Portland. How can we leave you?

Our last day passes. I can confirm for you, learning to use the public transportation in Portland, Oregon, is easy, quick, efficient, and worthwhile. I do not consider myself to be a particularly daring-adventure-risk-taker with tech savvy tendencies, so be encouraged and assured by my endorsement. I used a credit card at this kiosk... piece of cake! I added the Trimet app to my phone... easy as pie! And I planned our trips with my phone map, and the Tri-met app together... easy-peasy lemon squeezy!

Breakfast at La Provence. Do I even have to explain why? I don't think so.

The food here is delicious... to the palate, and the eyes.

I wanted pictures of each pastry and confection, which are little works of art. So pretty!

"Pick anything you like," I offered Maria.

And she did! She ordered something too pretty to eat.

So, we took pictures of it. We turned the plate and took note of the details, the visual allure. Maria dabbed a finger in the cocoa powder. Our waitress, impressed, with this daring breakfast statement, asked "Is there some reason for this special breakfast?" Cake for breakfast... that is an indulgence, but then I knew the answer, and replied, wistfully, "Yes, it's our last morning in Portland!" She felt our tragedy keenly, nodded empathetically, agreeing, "That is a very good reason for a special breakfast." Then she asked about our time here, what we'd seen. She's lived here all her life, and is particularly fond of the wilderness side of Portland, Hood River Valley, Columbia River Gorge. She asked if we would return, and we couldn't suppress our eagerness to do just that!

I love the Day Breaker, this time with hash browns, but do try the butternut squash. It's delicious. Maria wanted their Provençal Potatoes, and my croissant!

The waitress, her name is Nataly, reappeared with a handwritten note, both sides are filled in. It lists all the places we must see when we return with William, Alex, Bambi, Max, and Geoff... wilderness places, hikes, and views. Another waitress peered at the list, and emphasized that Austin Hot Springs is her favorite, better than Bagby, that she was glad Nataly included both. A third waitress saw the long note, and nodded approvingly, "Oh," she said, "I see you got the list! Very good. I keep meaning to make one, too." And she asked if I'd mind if she took a picture of ours.

How to describe the friendly nature of Portlanders? Noteworthy, yes. Warm and familiar, yes, those too. Breakfast was leisurely, delicious, and enjoyed in the merry company of engaging, generous, and fun Portlanders.

We loved the whole experience!

And of course, there was still that sweet indulgence to dig into!

Bon appétit!

Our Petite Provence, in Portland, Oregon, adieu.

We walked, some more, to bid more of Portland a fond farewell.

Whether looking up, or down, I seemed to find agreeable views, in all directions. Did anyone notice the moss in my hand? I couldn't stop collecting forest bits, and Maria teased me about how much we could possibly carry home, and that it was a lucky thing that there is no 'TSA' on trains!

By now, it was clear that there was hardly anything I wouldn't take a picture of. Cracked sidewalks, mossy crevices... surely a genuine fairy home! Berries I don't know the names of, flowers, fences, blue houses, brick houses, old and inviting homes, with deep porches, and gabled windows. This is more than mere attraction... I have a crush, an intense infatuation, beyond brief or fleeting. I began to strongly suspect that going home was going to take a period of adjustment. I wondered how I would, if I should, explain my affair of the heart with Portland, Oregon, to Geoff. It sounds quaint, possibly daft, written here, but the feelings are real, the affection persists.


No amount of luggage juggling could help us with this dilemma!

Or this one, either! Steve, we love you, and we'd love to bring you home with us.

Even with added books, yarn, fabric, and forest bits, we managed to pack it all... the added Trader Joe's bag was a big help.

Ahead, the next and last stage of our journey. We were sad for what we were leaving behind, but fortunately, there was a lot to look forward to, as well.