Portland Rocks...

Portland Travel Blog

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Portland Rocks. Not only was the eternal and infernal optimism of LP vindicated this time, we´d heard it from a lot of people in Seattle too. so, naturally, we´d built up high expectations. As it turns out, deciding how much time to spend in a place based on its size isn´t always the best ploy and it would have been nice to have had less time in Seattle and more time in Portland. Cést la vie.

The wonders of travel by Greyhound introduced us on thursday to a woefully understaffed terminal and an hour wait to pick up our pre-paid tickets. There was a motley crew/crue (delete as applicable) asembled at the terminal and travelling with your life in a bag it was nice to get on the coach and away.

The 3 and a half hour journey became 5 hours in total when we were delayed by the spare tyre apparently making a bid for freedom. We arrived into Portland at around 5pm and given the fog (a near-permanent feature of the Pacific Northwest) it became clear that Adam was to be disappointed here in his quest to go home tanned.

The MAX (light rail system) whisked us to the convention centre (once again, free in the fare-free zone, fantastic!) where we were only a block away from our cheap and convenient hotel. Back to town for food and after a quick look around another Pioneer square we stumbled upon a goldmine. Buffalo Wings had everything we were looking for in American culture. More sport then you could possibly handle, free refills,  ludicrously hot wings and massive portions.

Stuffed, content and with something crossed off Ad´s to-do list we went shopping to marvel at the cheap DS´s on offer, and to lament the rip-offs that we have to endure in the UK.

Portland´s old-town provided us with a micro-brewery to cap the night and off we went back to the hotel on the MAX, chuffed with what we´d seen of Portland already. Ít´s not a big city by any means, but is pleasant, safe, and it was to get better.

Friday came with more rain and mist to entertain us. We headed across the road for a Denny´s and Ad nearly wet himself with excitement with the artery-furring assortment on offer. 2.5 English pounds bought us a Denny´s Grand-Slam, and for a few pence extra you could have pancakes with syrup.

Almost another tick for Ad´s list, just missing the 50´s atmosphere. Into town to hob-nob it around Nob Hill, a tree-lined enclave of Portland packed with little cafes and boutique shops.  We managed to score a victory for the badly-battered budget by getting out there for free on the tram and headed to the shops. Much of the next two hours were spent in Exit, a snowboard and skate shop with a clearance sale on snowboard kit. Unable to resisit and to the sickening envy of most snowboarders I know, me included, he got boots, bindings and new goggles for less the 150GBP. Bargain, all great stuff too.

After two hours of shopping without buying anything at all, Em was gettin cheesed-off, to the extent that only chocolate and a cup of tea could help. Luckily, such was the neighbourhood that a chocolate cafe was merely doors away, and a big fat chocolate cake soon brought a smile to her face. Back to Pioneer square and there was a snowboarding exhibition with a sizeable crowd gathered and I was beginnning to seriously consider whether I could stand the overcast skies to live here in such a cool town so close to all the snowboarding possibilities.

To round off the Portland experience Ad and I headed into town for a few drinks where we found a previously quiet Old Town transformed into a very lively strip of bars and clubs. I never fail to be impressed by how open, friendly and helpfuls americans are and in a first for both of us, we were bought a drink by a girl in a bar! After visiting the ubiquitous Irish Bar (it´s a challenge of mine to find one in every country I visit) we went to Ad´s fave, a cowboy bar with enough stetsons and cowboy boots to set up your own rodeo. Onward then to ´Dirty´to finish up before catching the last MAX home at 1.30pm, for free!

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photo by: alooides