Since leaving Las Vegas two days ago, I have effectively been in Transit. Unfortunately, not due to any transport problem but the result of some unfortunate last minute planning on my part. For me to fly direct from Las Vegas to Portland would have been rather expensive. It would have been such an expensive prospect, that is was cheaper to fly to Seattle, stay overnight and catch the train yesterday. So today turns out to be my first full day in Portland and that explains the missing blog post for yesterday.
There seems to be a whole lot of options in Portland for shopping. The shopping centres are also nothing small. Near to the hotel, I am staying in is Llyod Centre which covers multiple city blocks. It was good to find something close by this morning, after a rather chilly change in the weather. Yesterday when I arrived it was around 31 degrees Celsius and this morning that was not even close to the forecast high. Needless to say, I was not expecting the cool weather and went looking for a lightweight jacket before getting the day started.
Getting Around Portland
I have found out the best way to get around Portland is by public Transport. It is a little tricky to figure out, but there is a free zone that you can travel in without the need for payment. To travel outside this zone will cost just $4.75 at the time of writing for a day pass. So if you are moving around a little, it is not that expensive at all. So the trip from my hotel to downtown was in the free zone and took just 15 minutes.
Powell’s City of Books
I arrived in downtown at Morrison & 10th and my first stop for the morning was Powell’s City of Books. They claim to be the largest bookstore in the world. The claim to my knowledge has not been disputed to date and by the size of the store could very much be true. The store takes up an entire city block on Burnside Street between 10th & 11th Ave in Portland. Covering some 1.6 acres of retail floor space. There is even a second building just across the road for other categories of books, which cannot fit in the main store.
Exploring Downtown Portland
I headed bac towards the Downtown District and came across Pioneer Square. They were holding a weekly farmers market here which was interesting to see. The market is run at different locations around the city on different days of the week. There seemed to be a strong showing of organic producers, which seemed to be very popular. For the first time on this trip, I also discovered some stalls offering baked goods that were gluten free. So picked up some Banana Bread for breakfast in the morning.
Some different things came up in the guidebook when I was looking for things around Portland. One of the first that caught my eye as a must do was Stumptown Coffee. I must say that I am not a coffee drinker, but when it is one of the top recommendations, you have got to make the trip. I got a latte and must say it was not bad, but honestly, have nothing to compare it to.
Some of the other suggestions were mostly in the way of local brewery or brew house bars. Even though I am also not a beer drinker, I am sure that I can find my way to at least one for lunch later today, maybe another tomorrow. Also, a suggestion was Voodoo Donuts, which I am sure I would have enjoyed. But alas every time I was nearby there was a line along the block, and I wanted to explore not stand in line.
Portland Classic Chinese Garden
After my stop for coffee, I realised it was not far to the Portland Classic Chinese Garden. It seemed like a great place to just take a walk and escape from the city for a little while. The garden is a beautiful space, with gardens, waterways and pathways to just explore the tranquillity. There were plenty of people also enjoying the gardens, just sitting or walking through and a couple of individuals even sketching.
When you are walking around Portland, you start to notice just how many parks and green spaces there are. Along with the parks, you will find that many of the streets lined with trees. One of the parks I found is called North Park Blocks, which is a series of six city blocks between NW 8th Ave & Park Ave, starting at Burnside Street. It is a beautiful green area with trees and grass that you rarely find so close to the centre of a city.
Rock Bottom Brewery
I decided to take another suggestion from the guidebook for lunch and found my way to Rock Bottom Brewery. Located on SW 2nd Ave and SW Morrison Street, they brew their beers on site and offer a full-service restaurant. I doubt I could fully appreciate the experience not being a beer drinker. However, I still gave their White Ale a try and found it to be quite a nice taste, and had some chips and guacamole to eat.
A Great Day In Portland
Today has been a beautiful day exploring Portland, and even though it was a little chilly this morning the afternoon turned warm. It was a great opportunity to try a small frozen yoghurt place I spotted earlier in Pioneer Place. I stopped in at Chef Fresh Yogurt and enjoyed a mix of two flavours, Mango Tango and Raspberry & Pomegranate with a Kiwi Lime Sauce. It didn’t only taste great but does take the edge of the heat just a little.
I set about finding my way back to the hotel with the Light Rail. Unlike the ride this morning it was now peak hour, and the carriage was quite full. But never the less it served the purpose, and I got where I needed to go without and extra walking. There had already been quite a substantial amount of walking from all that I got to see today.