Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Three Nights in Portland Oregon - Day 1

The train ride from Portland, OR to Vancouver is on the top ten list for the best in the US, we had already done the Seattle to Vancouver portion so I was looking forward to the Southern portion to Portland. We took the Double Decker Amtrak this time to see if we liked sitting up higher. The Observation Car was the best with all the big windows.

Great views from Puget Sounds Southern end of  of the Olympics

We were blessed to have three days of Sun forecast.

Smaller ferries on this end between Olympia and Tacoma

Fascinating to see the ship traffic on the Columbia River

The Lucia Hotel, we somehow got an upgrade to the top floor with a North view of Mt.St. Helen's. A large majority of the downtown buildings are preserved and updated older buildings, This sets Portland apart from Seattle where so many old buildings have been demolished to make way for shiny new architecture.,_Oregon

We walked the short distance from Union Station.

David Hume Kennerly's photographic collection is throughout the hotel, this guy managed to get himself around some pretty cool subjects.

Castro was right by the elevators on our floor so we met him daily

There are no cheap hotels in Downtown Portland but it was well worth it to be in walking distance to most of the things we did. Never needed a taxi or mass transit. 

A Peregrine Falcon perched on the tallest building downtown

We could just see the Western edge of Mt. St, Helens. from our window.

To understand the "City of Bridges" you have to take a walk along the Willamete River

There is a large green space all along the riverside for playing, hiking and biking. 

Looks like the shiny new buildings have to play on the otherside.
All the bridges in Portland are a source of pride including this huge ugly black Industrial structure that has two levels including a hike and bike lane attached to the side.I was hoing to see the bridge lift for a ship but it did not happen so I found this youtube video:
This one shows a ship passing through: Thatis what I was hoping to see up close!

I thought we would just walk 1/2 way across but the Admiral just kept on going.

There is a Light and a walk sign to let you know when to stop for a bridge opening.

Somebody lost a cool looking boot.

There are some Freaks in Portland for sure!

There are two mighty lift cables on each corner of the lower bridge to raise it all straight up.

We did three of those colors, we just did not go into the University area.

This is a bit of a revival going on in the Vancouver Chinatown, this one seems pretty much dead. Seattle's Chinatown known as the International District is very much alive.

Another big park in the North end of Downtown.

Here is a mighty fine book store,  The used titles are right alongside the new books so you can choose your price. 

I'm trying to add my name to this staircase.

Very Funky, The first day we arrived (you know how first impressions are) I was convinced that everyone in this town was way into Grunge Fashion. Everyone on the streets were seriously grunged out. 

A lot of cool wall art all around.

This sculpture remided me of our son who spent a large part of his youg days on a 20" dirt bycycle. 

This would be a cool place to stay for sure.

We stopped in for some information, we thought we might be able to get some tickets to the Crystal Ball Room here, but no 1 more block.

There is a bar on this end of the hotel in the basement that I should not have passed up.

We found our ticket booth.

And we found out why the thousands on the street were all Grunged out. Melanie Martinez was playing that night and there was already a line two blocks around waiting in line for the show which started hours later.

We found a great spot for our dinner that night right across from the Crystal Hotel. Lots of dogs in Portland and we later learned Portland is all about BEER,, BYCYCLES, andn DOGS.

Speaking of Beer, our hotel had a free Beer Happy hour each night showcasing one of Portland's finest Craft Ales. FREE BEER!

Three Nights in Portland Oregon - Day 1

Our Grandson's Family had a week off so they planned a trip to Disney Land. Portland, Oregon has long been on our list so we planned a three day visit by way of train. I have had the opportunity to talk to several acquaintances, mostly adult students that I teach sailing to, about Portland. The vision I had was more like a little Seattle happening in Oregon. Well that is certainly not the case. It is a whole different Pacific Northwest Culture down there.  Also there downtown is a whole lot more about preserving their history by just updating there old buildings and maintaining the original architecture. Seattle is more about knocking down the old and putting up brand new high tech shiny buildings. A lot more plaid, grunge, and clothes suitable for mountain forest hiking are normal day wear.

We spent the first day mostly just getting our bearings and walking about the city. The city is actually more pedestrian friendly than Seattle since the downtown traffic is not near as congested and even though those that live in Portland complain about the growth there is is now where near the extremes of Seattle's population growth. Portland admittedly adopted Austin Texas phrase " Keep Portland Wierd" and rightly so. Portland feels just like Austin did back in the 70's and 80's before California moved into the Hills of Austin. We walked through the Old Town/China Town district, the Pearl District and the Downtown District. All of this is easily done no foot without need of any type of transit. If your a biker though it it extremely friendly to bikers, more so than Seattle. Most towns in the Pacific Northwest are near on of the major mountains either in the Cascades or the Olympics. It seems each community seems to adopt their nearby mountain as a logo for their city. Seattle is all about Mt. Rainier, but Portland is about Mt. Hood. The natural environments that surround these cities are a huge part of the culture they support either through their natural resources and/or their natural recreational escapes they offer. Settle has Elliot Bay and Puget sound but Portland has the Willamette River that feeds directly into the incredible Columbia River that is also a huge part of Portland's psych. Both cities are very fond of craft ales but I have never seen so many women drinking beer right along side the men.

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