I am at least 4 days behind blogging at this point! My Instagram is up to date with photos from everything that’s happened in Portland and since. I have a 30-hour train ride today through tomorrow, so hopefully I can get caught up on the writing front during that time.
Portland, day 2:
Especially since I lost the first evening in Portland due to the train delay, I knew I had to get a lot crammed in to the day and a half I had left. But first: room service for breakfast! Because, why not? Fancy hotel, fancy meal, or something like that. It was even easier than it could be, because you could order room service for breakfast by hanging a card on your door the night before, and they’d just deliver your food at the scheduled time in the morning. The food was pretty good, but the experience of ordering room service in a fancy hotel was worth it!
After breakfast (and straightening my hair…it’s amazing how after over a week of travel, being able to take a shower and look respectable changes things), it was off to Powell’s! This is the largest independent bookstore in the country, and everyone I asked for recommendations of things to do in Portland had this at the top of their list.
It really is amazing! There are 4 floors. You walk into a main room which has a row of cash registers, an information desk, and stands of various recommended books, arranged by topic or by price and often with a card explaining why the booksellers chose to recommend that particular title. That room alone is about the size of your average bookstore. But then it keeps going. The rooms are arranged by topic and each hallway (intentional word choice here, instead of saying aisle) is numbered similarly to the Dewey decimal system (I’m not 100% sure if the numbers all correspond; I’ll have to check). And they don’t just sell books- they sell other items related to bookish topics, including cookware in the cookbook section, board games in the fantasy/sci-fi room, journals, tote bags, magazines, and more! Here is where I picked up gifts for the White Elephant party I’m doing with my friends back home next week…but I can’t say what I bought in case any of them are reading this 😉 I spent about an hour and a half exploring Powell’s, and $100 later (books for myself and gifts for other people!), I decided to leave 🙂
After that, I set to walking through one of the nearby neighborhoods that had been recommended to me by the hotel staff as having good shopping and restaurants. It did! A lot of the shops were artsy & local and I found a number of cute things that I couldn’t walk away from, including a tote bag that I’m really excited to use after this adventure! By then it was almost lunchtime, so I set out to find a brewery- since Portland is known these days for its local beers. There were a few in the area I was shopping in, and I picked one called Ten Barrels, mostly because it was the only one I passed that had people in it at 3 pm and I didn’t want to be the only person in an entire restaurant. I’m totally fine dining on my own, but that’s my limit. I enjoyed a thai peanut butter burger and a flight of beers- my favorite being a mint chocolate stout! I wasn’t surprised to have not liked most of the 10 beers in the flight, but I don’t love beer anyway. I was happy there were two I enjoyed enough to finish.
Following lunch, it was nearly time to head back to the hotel for wine hour! I’d missed it the day before because of the train being delayed but was determined to make it there today. It was worth it 🙂 Besides wine (including a Merlot that I actually liked!), they served fancy snacks of grilled cheese bites with avocado and tomato, goldfish (okay, not fancy, but I love them!), and hot chocolate. After walking around in a persistent drizzle all morning and afternoon, it was nice to get inside and warm up and relax with snacks to live piano music in a comfy chaise.
After wine hour, I headed out to do some quick shopping and then to find dinner. I was hoping to get food from one (or some) of the food carts parked in a lot near my hotel, but it turns out that most of them are only open for lunch, and even a lot of the carts typically open for dinner were closed because it was the week of Christmas. I did get curry puffs from a Thai cart, but saved them to be a midnight snack since they wouldn’t have been filling enough as an entire meal. I ended up eating dinner at a restaurant called Grassa, which is rated as the best pasta restaurant in Portland and was within walking distance of the hotel. It, also, was pretty good- but I have to say that after all the raving about Portland’s food scene that I’ve heard from other people and from the news media, there was nothing I ate during my entire visit that made me really say “wow!”.
On my way to shopping, I’d stumbled across a plaza that was decorated with a gigantic Christmas tree. After dinner (followed by a pit stop at the hotel to charge my phone), I headed out once again to take some pictures there. It was very low key compared to Christmas decorations in most other cities, but pretty nonetheless!
The end (of my only full day in Portland).