Today got off to a much better start than yesterday, and it was the result of doing a little research and planning. Today I would be on the Hop-On Hop-Off sightseeing bus around Portland operated by Gray Line.
Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
When I was looking to book the tour I have for tomorrow I found that you could combine it with a 2-day pass for the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus. Normally the Columbia River Valley Tour is $56, and the Hop-On Hop-Off 2-day bus pass is $39. However, getting the two together is $86, saving around $9. The main reason for getting the Hop-On Hop-Off pass was to take some of the thinking and walking out of the day.
I started the day with a full circle on the Hop-On Hop-Off bus to see where everything was and hear the full commentary. There were a few photos that I managed to capture along the way. After a break for lunch, I returned to the bus and made a couple of stops along the way including the Japanese Gardens and the International Rost Test Garden.
Above – Benson Bubblers which are unique to Downtown Portland where there are said to be 52 in place.
Above – The entrance to Washington Park. The Japanese Gardens and International Rose Test Garden are located within this park.
Above – One of some parks that create breaks between areas of the city. There are at least two such parkways that stretch over some blocks.
Above – Salmon Street Springs located in Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
Above – An old engine and log car at the World Forestry Centre.
The Japanese Gardens were the first place I choose to explore in a little more depth. They are significantly bigger than the Chinese Gardens which I visited yesterday. They are also located in a much better location that is more peaceful and tranquil, away from the noise of Downtown. Which also means you need to explicitly make an effort to visit the gardens.
You would think that with the additional space, there might be a lot of open space. However, it does not seem to be the case; space is very well used. From almost everywhere I visited you could hear the sound of running water, with from a waterfall or water feature.
The location of Japanese Gardens and surrounding area are just green. The trees in the garden the ground cover and even foliage in the tops of the trees are all green. The combination of so much water and plenty of shade encourage a lot of moss to grow in some areas.
Given the time and the inclination, I am sure I could easily find myself sitting and relaxing here all day. However, the bigger challenge is doing so with the number of people visiting. For the most part, it is still a peaceful and beautiful place; there are still many people that do not consider where they are. Spending a lot of time walking loudly and talking as they pass through.
International Rose Test Garden
As you descend back down towards Portland from the Japanese Garden, you come to the International Rose Test Garden. The garden is home to more than 7,000 rose bushes with around 550 different varieties. The International Rose Test Garden is the oldest continuously operating public rose test garden in the United States.
Even though they say, the peak flowering season for the garden is during the month of June. Even now in August, there was plenty of colours and blooms to see. A spot well worth visiting both for some amazing views and to see some of the beautiful roses.
A Little Shopping
The last thing for me to do today was a little shopping. I had a couple of things I thought about needing and figured this would be the best time to find them over the next week or so.
The first on the list was a camera store. I needed to find a new neck strap for the camera as the one I had was getting a little loose. Although it had not come undone yet, it kept creeping down a little, and I did not want to risk the camera falling to the ground. Thankfully I can say I found the solution in the first shop, a much stronger and more comfortable strap.
The second thing I wanted was a hat. I had found the sun a little distracting at times and just wanted something to cover my eyes a little.