Wednesday, August 11, 2010

First Day in Portland

(written in Oregon)

I am on vacation.

I am on vacation with no children and no responsibilities.

It is just as wonderful as you are imagining.

My flight was a nightmare. The flight was overbooked and because of thunderstorms in Denver, we sat on the runway for almost an hour waiting for clearance to take off. There were about a dozen small children on the flight including two in my row. It was not relaxing. They made me check my carry-on and then lost it. I had about 15 minutes in Denver to get from one tarmac to another and make my connecting flight. The good news is I made the flight – the bag news is my bag did not make it to Oregon.

It’s day one in Oregon with my baby sister Kirstin (who I have always called Koo). I borrowed some clothes from her roomate and we are ready to see the city. You should know that Koo also very much appreciates good food and is an excellent cook so not only did we sight see all day, we ate our way through the city. We started with chocolate croissants, fruit and orange juice before leaving the house and heading downtown to the waterfront and Saturday Market.

I am reminded of Vermont – lots of unique, laid-back people – music, artists and food. We wandered around to the many vendors and I bought myself a pretty little ring made out of white brass and aluminum can. It’s orange and I love it. We decided to try a combination plate from the Polish food cart that Koo recommended. We split a plate of sausage with bacon, pirogi, cucumbers and tomatoes with potatoes. There was a really great band playing in the square, a confusingly large number of people wandering around dressed as pirates, another group of break dancing on the other side of the square as well as a lot of homeless panhandlers.

Aren't those bibs adorable?

After the market we tried to walk off some of our morning calories and ended up at the Lan Su Chinese Garden. The garden is right in the middle of the city and was only completed in 2000. All of the materials including more than 500 tons of rock were imported from China. I was mesmerized by the walkways. The whole place is like a little oasis in the middle of the city – lovely.

After the gardens, we explored some of the shops in the city and ended up at Koo’s favorite chocolate shop – Cacao. We sat down and tried some of their truffles and a shot of cinnamon drinking chocolate.

Best. Drinking. Chocolate. Ever.

Really – if I lived there I would consider getting a job in the shop just to learn how to make it. The shop is expensive, but really, really delicious.

After walking off a little of the chocolate by more window shopping and a visit to Powells (the largest bookstore in the US), we hopped back into the car to go to Washington Park to visit the Rose Gardens. The roses in many places were past, but it was still really beautiful. All of Oregon is so lush and green and it seems like everything will grow here. We saw a girl celebrating her QuinceaƱera and a bride with a very unique bouquet. There is an outdoor amphitheater and just acres and acres of gardens.

Just a short walk above the rose garden is the Japanese Garden - my favorite of the three gardens we visited today. It is simply beautifully planned and just gorgeous.

Still here? The day was perfect. We ended by going out to eat at a tapas restaurant and had the most delicious meal (somewhere I have the menu) - very cheese heavy. I think I ate more this day that in the entire week proceeding it! That was just day one.


  1. Oh, you look RELAXED! Sounds like you had several tonnes of fun - that's excellent!

    And I am in love with the dragon gargoyle....

    Oh, and I got the necklaces which I <3! Email me re $ okay?

    So glad you have fun day one - can't wait to see the rest!

  2. I am glad that you had a food first day, you look relaxed and adorable.

  3. Your pictures are beautiful! And that chocolate looks delicious. I've heard about Cacoa on Oprah before. It looks like you had tons of fun, hopefully you feel well rested and relaxed now!

  4. I just noticed on the side bar that you are reading Sarah's Key for your bookclub. How do you like it? I read it a little over a year ago and thought it was very interesting.

  5. I love Powell's and the rose gardens. It's Portland beautiful!