I hope that everyone enjoyed their 4th of July holiday. I had an excellent time during my couple day trip to Portland. A friend from back home was actually suppose to come out and visit me over the weekend. Unfortunately, finances got in the way. 😦 I decided to not waste the long weekend and went to Portland on my own. It was actually great going there on my own. I got to do everything at my own pace and I didn’t feel the least bit guilty about returning to my hotel at 2:30 in the afternoon on Saturday (after spending 6 straight hours on foot in downtown).
Before I got into Portland, I drove on the Columbia River Gorge Historic Highway again. It was nice to see all of the waterfalls again while it wasn’t raining. I actually was able to see a few of the waterfalls that I had missed the first time I drove through there. What I love about the interstate drive between La Grande and Portland is that over half of the drive is along the Columbia River (and another big part is through the Blue Mountains). You can’t really go wrong with scenery that includes the Columbia River/Washington State to one side and the cliff faces from the Cascade Mountains on the other side.
Latourell Falls on the Columbia River Gorge Historic Highway.
I stayed at the Crowne Plaza in the Llyod District of downtown Portland. I will admit that it was a little spendy for this grad student’s meager income. The decision came down to knowing that I (and my car) would be safe and that almost everything I wanted to do was accessible from the hotel by foot. I highly recommend staying there if you’re ever in the Portland area.
On Friday evening, I checked out Washington Park – which is the huge park near downtown Portland that houses everything from hiking trails, to a zoo, to the most authentic Japanese Garden outside of Japan. On Friday, I took advantage of the hiking in the Hoyt Arboretum. It was a little misty/humid and it felt great to hike after being in the car for over four hours.
One of the many trees in Hoyt Arboretum.
Portland, itself, is a great city. I did my research on downtown through this website: Travel Portland. I found maps and a great deal of information about things to do in the city. The main activity I wanted to do was the “Best of Portland” tour with the Portland Walking Tours company. It’s rated as one of the top walking tours in the country. It was a great time for the 2 hours we were with our tour guide. He talked about how the city was named after Portland, Maine, through a coin toss (the other option was Boston). He talked about how the downtown is designed to be reminisent of a European city, about the large craft brewing industry, that the city is nicknamed “The City of Roses,” how Portland has the most sunless days, and many other things. They even can boast to having the world’s smallest park.
View of Portland before I crossed over the Willamette River.
World’s Smallest Park
I ended my Saturday in downtown at Powell’s – one of the largest independent booksellers. I wish I could say that I spent hours walking around the huge store. I didn’t though. I had to remove myself from the store before I did too much damage to my limited money supply. I did get some great books though. It’s another must-see, if you’re in Portland.
My weekend ended on Sunday with another trip to Washington Park. I checked out both the Japanese Garden and the International Rose Test Garden. Not only did I want to stroll around the gardens, I also wanted to work on my photography. Here are some of my results. I fought with the light most of the time (it was overcast) and had quite a few unusable pictures. I did take some gems though. Let me know what you think!
Flowers in the Japanese Garden. The rest of the pictures are from the Rose Garden.