Portland is THE place to be, well at least in the summer! (Stop 2)
Flying in style
For the first time ever I was reluctant for a flight to end as we arrived in Portland. We’d ordered from the interactive touch screen snack menu; the cabin had pleasing mood lighting; we had acres of space in our business class seats; and it was all free courtesy of air miles earned from using our credit card (moral of the story, save your air miles kids!).
We were collected by our host, Tricia, a member of the home exchange community who with her husband Charles had kindly offered us a bed in their roomy basement while we were in town. If we had any reservation about living in the homes of strangers we needn’t have worried. We shared fun evenings over a splendid array of vintage cocktails while the kids immersed themselves in various activities such as constructing highly complex astronaut suits out of sheets of paper and sticky tape (‘no, it’s not a good idea to make a visor out of a plastic bag on your head…’); masterminding a carefully directed play (which seemed to involve a lot of hiding in the hedge); the football (sorry, soccer) games which saw Chris kick a ball for the first time in about fifteen years; the water fight (which I may have instigated a couple of cocktails in) which got out rather out of hand as the super-soakers were abandoned for jet-washing hoses; the carefully designed welcome cards, collages, flags and paintings we were presented with at regular intervals. Not bad considering the shaky start with the youngest’s quickly hushed enquiry of ‘why do Hannah and Chris speak a different language?’.
I believe this cocktail was the Devil’s Whisker!
Best food carts
Having finally tracked them down we became regular visitors to the Portland food carts. In the UK these would be recognised as like burger vans, except instead of greasy chips and gristle pies the Portland versions produce a vast array of food choices such as Ethiopian, Mexican, Vietnamese, whole food, waffles, Japanese….you name it. As delicious as these options are, the downfall of street food is that, well, you have to eat it on the street. I can’t see how it’s possible to enjoy food which is balanced precariously in one hand while you stab at it with a fork in the other.
The Farmer’s Market was a great alternative to the food carts
Pounding the streets
We’ve visited the US a few times and still have some trouble with the road systems. Ordering a taxi is a minefield without at least a compass, if not GPS coordinates. It seemed easier to walk. Four miles in our flip flips were starting to melt into the sidewalk and then we spotted a menacing gang loitering in a shadowy street corner as we hurried by. Safely past we were amazed to hear the almost angelic sound they produced as they launched into a rendition of what was clearly a highly practiced and beautifully arranged musical piece.
You get to see so much more when walking in a city
Laid back and trendy
Portland is a great place and I’m not usually a fan of cities. It has plenty of open spaces, beautiful gardens, wide and leafy streets, mountain and river views and a really cool vibe. There are loads of organic restaurants, trendy bars and quirky cafes which serve drinks in old glass jars and have queues stretching down the street at brunch time. The Rose and Japanese Gardens were lovely on a hot day and in the evening the city shimmers as the sun set behind the green hills.
The rose gardens – A must see when visiting Portland
No time to be homesick
I’ve been too busy to miss home, although today my niece emailed to say she had fantastic job related news which made me wish I was there to give her a hug and tell her in person how fantastic she is. I’m comforted by the fact she said she is ‘at home celebrating with a prosecutor and nice dinner’. Given that she doesn’t know any prosecutors, I’m going to assume she means Prosecco.
If you want to see more pictures you can check out our Portland Pinterest board here!
What do you think of Portland?
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