New thing #29: Portland (Day 2)

 

IMG_5752Today was a full day of Portland must-dos. Our first stop in the morning was Voodoo Doughnuts (a Portland institution), where we waited in the pouring rain in probably the longest line for a doughnut you’ve ever seen. It was Roxanne’s first time there too. She said she heard the doughnuts weren’t that good and people only go there because it’s famous.

We tried a few, and I have to say, I thought they were pretty F-ing delicious.

Next stop was the downtown Saturday market, where we didn’t spend much time due to the aforementioned rain. It was similar to a standard art & wine festival, but there were lots more interesting booths and art. We probably would have spent more time there if we weren’t soaking and playing a big game of umbrella bumper cars.

After that Roxanne went home for a bit and dropped me off at Powell’s City of Books. Powell’s is the world’s largest chain of independent book stores, and at this location you actually need a map to find your way around, which means of course, that I was in heaven. I was texting Roxanne to take her time. Don’t pick me up. I’m fine here all day. I went to every floor, loitered in the rare book room, went to all my favorite sections, and walked out with a bag full of books and gifts.

After that we went up on the Portland Aerial Tram for some awesome city views, then had lunch at Urban Fondu (my first time at a fondu place), and then went shopping on Hawthorne Street. For dinner we went fancy. Portland City Grill is on the 30th floor of a downtown building, and the restaurant has amazing 360 views of city.

I can’t believe I have to go home tomorrow!

 

 

 

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New thing #28: Portland (Day 1)

IMG_5685First I want to say that I’m so glad I decided to take the train. I don’t think I had any movie-worthy train moments, and I didn’t get much sleep, but it was still pretty fun. I brought a backpack full of entertainment, and I barely touched any of it. I wrote a little, but I didn’t read. I didn’t watch the DVDs I brought. I barely listened to music. All I wanted to do was look out the window. I felt guilty even napping because I didn’t want to miss any good scenery.

When I first got on the train it was so packed that they were assigning seats, and I did NOT get a good one. I was on the aisle next to a guy who had the window closed. As soon as the observation and dining cars opened, I left to go enjoy some of the view and some breakfast. When I came back, some people had gotten off the train and I was able to finagle my way into a window seat, and I had the seat next to me to myself too! This was imperative to enjoying the ride. Can we all agree, that life is always better in the window seat?

I arrived at the Portland train station groggy but excited. Roxanne picked me up (reunited and it feels so good!) and our first stop was her apartment, where I met her two cats and developed huge feelings of jealousy that she lives in such a cute neighborhood.

Her place is within walking distance to tons of restaurants and shops, so we spent the day walking and shopping around her ‘hood. She took me to dinner at her favorite Italian restaurant, and for dessert we went to the city’s most famous ice cream place, Salt & Straw, where we waited in the always present out-the-door line. This was seriously some of the best ice cream I’ve EVER had. I mean, Oprah put this ice cream on her favorite things list, so… you know it’s good.

After that we stopped by one of her favorite neighborhood bars, then went to see a movie at one of the city’s many “view & brew” theaters. Portland is big on beer (they have the most breweries per capita of any other US city), so they found a way to include it with their movie watching.

Portland seems like a perfect city for a short weekend visit. Everything is close together, so you can see and do everything on your to-do list in a short amount of time. And the best way to see any new city it is with a friend (preferably one you’ve known for 20+ years who you are way overdue with catching up with) who can show you the ropes.

 

 

 

New thing #27: Taking the Train

Coast StarThis weekend I’m going to visit my friend Roxanne in Portland, OR. Although I’ve driven up and down the Oregon coast with my family, we never made it to Portland, so I’m psyched to see my friend and explore a new city. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve wanted to take a train trip, so I decided to take the train to Portland for my new thing. I leave tonight, and I’m posting this now because according to the Amtrak website, my Coast Starlight train does not have Wi-fi access (at least not for lowly Coach passengers like myself).

My one-way trip (I’m flying home) from Martinez to Portland is 17.5 hours. This sounds like a drag to some people, but I couldn’t be more excited! I will be well equipped with my laptop, movies, music, books, and whatever else I can think of to bring to keep myself entertained. Mostly I’m looking forward to just watching the scenery roll by, at least during the daylight hours. Since it’s an overnight train, I’m hoping to get at least a little sleep, so when I get to Portland tomorrow afternoon I won’t immediately pass out.

Can’t wait to (hopefully) tell you how awesome the train was. I’m imagining it to be just as cool as all movie train scenes are. Like, I’m pretty sure I will either a.) find a magical secret platform, b.) sing about Snow, Snow, SNOW!, c.) meet Ethan Hawk who will become the love of my life, d.) participate in some hijinks with some funny dudes disguised as women, e.) get stuck on the tracks and have to train dodge at the last minute. Do you think my expectations may be too high?

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