Weird and wonderful Portland

I once completed one of those meaningless Facebook quizzes which concluded which international city you should live in – I got Portland. So, I was intrigued to find out if this were to be true on the last stop on our trip. We had 3 nights here so plenty of time to explore. Portland is know for being quirky – they even have ‘Keep Portland Weird’ bumper stickers and signs across the city. Lots of street art. The men all have beards. The girls all wear vintage clothes. It was hard to spot anyone without a tattoo. Hipsterville central. Craft brewing is like a religion here – there are more indie breweries than any other city in the world. Shops and restaurants are also mostly independent. Aside from a few Starbucks, corporate America Portland is not…

We ate dinner on the first night in a place called Grasso – where you can sit at the counter and watch them making your fresh pasta right in front of you. You pay on the way in, sit anywhere communal style, and can wear anything – Portland is very informal. We also ate at one of Portland’s famous street carts which are clustered in different areas across the city – we had a supremely fresh and delicious Vietnamese meal one lunch time.

Our favourite thing in Portland, by far, was Powell’s City of Books. Powell’s is a well known institution in Portland – it stocks over a million new and used books and is America’s biggest book shop. It is also one of my new happy places. We visited three times, spending hours happily wandering up and down the shelves, just enjoying that feeling which is hard to explain to most people, of just being physically surrounded by books. It is open until 11pm every night and is a place we found hard to leave each time.

After viewing the solar eclipse on the rooftop of our hotel, we headed out to Washington Park and hiked up the Wildwood trail. We reached the beautiful rose gardens (Portland is famous for roses) which had great views back over the city.

On our last night, we stumbled across a cool little place called the Green Room. We sat at the bar and watched a properly qualified mixologist making cocktails to die for, and also tried some of the local Oregon and Californian gins (which I now suspect we are going to need to ship to the UK asap).

In conclusion… yes I think I could live here!

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