We spent about a week in Portland, OR. Actually, we were in Vancouver, WA, but that’s just across the river from Portland. We met some great people in Vancouver at the nearby congregation. We didn’t originally plan to spend that long here, but a number of coincidences changed our schedule a bit… More about that later.
Portland is a pretty cool town. There’s not much traffic for a city this size, once you’re downtown. There are a lot of public transport options and a lot of people use bicycles to commute. It’s a town that’s known for being “green”. Unfortunately, that means parking for four-wheeled vehicles is a bit of a premium. Just keep it in mind if you’re visiting. Be prepared to park somewhere then walk to where you want to go.
We started by doing a guided walking tour, by Portland Walking Tours (I’ll supply a link later when I have a decent connection). It was interesting and a good way to see the downtown areas. It was a good introduction and gave us an idea of what we might want to do for the rest of our trip here. I’d say it’s worth the cost if you don’t mind walking a bit.
At the end of our walking tour, we went back to where our Jeep was parked and had lunch. The parking lots in the area are surrounded by little food booths of just about every ethnic variety you can imagine. The food was pretty inexpensive and almost everything was cooked up as you order. I ended up having something that was kind of Bulgarian, but I forgot what it was called. It was basically a sausage, but made with some kind of thin dough as the wrapping instead of the usual sausage skin. The whole thing was wrapped in a spiral, steamed and then grilled. It could have been a bit spicier, but was good and plenty filling. Dasy opted for some Thai Drunken Noodles, which were also pretty tasty, but I prefer the thin rice noodle dishes. A couple next to us ordered a teriyaki chicken and rice bowl which looked and smelled incredible, so we snagged an order of that to go as well. Our original assessment was correct… it was awesome!
We spent another day at OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) and we also did a drive around Washington Park. Washington Park is sort of a big collection of smaller parks. It would probably be great for day hiking and/or biking, although it’s a bit hilly. OMSI is one of the better science-type museums in the area (way better than Seattle), but it also reinforced our belief that we’ve been spoiled by the Smithsonians in Washington DC. There’s a lot of hands-on stuff for kids, but there were some decent exhibits tucked away that we enjoyed as well. The temporary Einstein exhibit was kind of cool, but I suspect it’s a bit too “deep” for the average bear and kid just walked right through it because there wasn’t really a lot that they could mess with there. It made a valiant effort at explaining some of Einstein’s theories and I don’t think there would be many ways to do a better job.
Unfortunately, our plans got tossed out the window after that. We ordered a couple packages that turned out to take a lot longer to arrive than we expected. The campground we were at was completely booked, so we ended up having to move to another while awaiting the shipment. It didn’t help that I caught some kind of nasty stomach bug or something. I spent three or four days moping and trying to keep some small amount of food in me, while Dasy did her best not to get frustrated with me. I’m still not completely up to snuff, but at least I can get out and do stuff now.
Yes, it’s a pickle.