When deliberating on what to do or where to go for Christmas or New Year, we didn't want to go too far so it was either a staycation at home, another city in our state or something similar. We settled for Portland in neighboring Oregon, it is actually closer to us here than some other cities in Washington, and we'd never been there before.
To add some pizazz, we decided not to drive, and instead bought Amtrak train tickets to and from Portland. It was roughly three and half hours, and that was time we could spend doing whatever we wanted instead of one person being stuck behind the wheel. Something funny happened, we almost bought tickets to Portland, Maine. The price first tipped us off, and the fact that it took three days to get there. We shined our eyes properly and were able to select our correct destination in the end.
The train ride to Portland was quite comfortable, I could say luxurious even. It was the Coast Starlight enroute to Los Angeles, and had and upper level in coach where we sat. The leg room was so much I was jealous. Why? Because I couldn't reach the leg rest attached to the seat in front of me. Turns out, the train thought of everything. Both the food tray and leg rest had extensions so I was able to use them easily. Our return was on the Cascades, which though not as shiny, was comfy still.
However, this is not a review of the train rides much as I enjoyed them :)
We got to Portland, Oregon in great spirits, and immediately tried out their excellent tram system which connected us from the train station to our hotel. For the next few days, we became Portlandians, doing some touristy things, but not too many. Generally just wandering around and taking in the vibe of the city. We ate out a few times, saw a couple of movies, and just mostly chilled out.
Portland is a smaller city than Seattle, a local resident we spoke with said they preferred to call it a town and I think I get what he meant. The city center is small and almost intimate, it looks older than Seattle, and not as polished. When I told my dental hygienist we were going, she called it the scruffier, hipster brother of Seattle, and I think I agree.
The major good thing about Portland for Seattlites is that they have no sales tax and so shopoholics can indulge with a smaller guilty conscience. The malls are huge, maybe cos of that, we went to Lloyds, and Clarkamas and both are impressive. Clarkamas especially was humongous!
Enjoy some photos below. Sorry I didn't get too many pictures, it was cold and I preferred to leave my hands in their gloves, or warm in Atala's :)
|Great Pizza Place|
|Powells - largest independent bookstore in the NW|
|Christmas tree in Pioneer Square|
|Figurehead at the Historical Society Museum|
|Playing with some mirrors|
|Outside the Museum|
I have to talk about Powell's Books before I sign out. If you're a book lover and ever find yourself in Portland, please do yourself a favor and find Powell's, you'll thank me later. They fill up a whole city block, have more books than most local librares can dream of, and the prices are affordable cos a lot of the books are fairly used. Plan to spend the day there and you can browse to your heart's content like we did.
Have a great weekend. Mwah!