We left Vancouver at the end of March, landing in Portland for April and May. It was the most beautiful spring imaginable – Portland is a floral extravaganza. London was still encased in ice while all the cherry blossoms were going wild in Portland, and by the time we left even the wind smelled like roses (seriously, it really did!). En route from Vancouver, we stopped in Snoqualmie Washington to live out my teenage dream, visiting the town where Twin Peaks was filmed, eating cherry pie at the Double R cafe, and stopping by the Great Northern Hotel. So amazing, and the coffee really was damn fine. And hot!!
In Portland, we were staying in a tiny little cottage built in someone’s back yard. It was effectively like living in a shed with a skylight. Cute, but a lot of escapes were necessary to avoid going shack wacky.
Fortunately Portland is a great place to walk around, and walking around it is often like walking through an episode of Portlandia. People really do ride high bikes and unicycles, they really do walk up to you to say things like “THANK YOU for letting your dog sniff,” there really are parents on skateboards teaching their tiny kids to skateboard, and (on the not so good side) you really can see the scars of rapid gentrification everywhere. It’s quirky, and steeped in caffeine, and though not without some major problems, pretty awesome on the whole.
So, in Portland, most of the male population really does have carefully coiffed facial hair,
you can find the world’s smallest park,
everything is artisanal, even the things that shouldn’t be,
there are chickens running around the schoolyards (awesome!!),
there are cool bikes everywhere, occasionally parked on beds of fallen petals (again, while London was still in deep freeze),
the garbage is really weird,
the derby is really awesome (SCALD EAGLE OMG!!!!),
you might want to order a full-sized umbrella with your beer (but only if it’s a PBR),
or you might want to get your beer from a bicycle.
In Portland, all of the graffiti is annoyingly positive (although I thought this one was pretty cute),
you might walk into a bicycle shop and find a stage made from an old drawbridge from a castle,
you might get married in a donut shop,
or buy a dress from a double decker bus,
or find dog treats hanging in a tree,
and definitely eat food from a truck.
There’s taxidermy everywhere,
and a Wes Anderson-inspired bar.
The MGD trucks deliver craft beer,
the live music is SO good (this is Valerie June outside in the rain)
Kishi Bashi at the Wonder Ballroom (SO GOOD!).
Portland suited us pretty well:
There were so many good walks.
Some in forests,
some in colourful neighbourhoods,
some to record stores (the record stores!!! amazing)
And a few that involved more sitting than walking….
Portlandia says: this post will be continued.