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We will never get over the beauty of Autumn (Fall) leaves.

A few days into our USA trip, we are slowly getting used to the colder weather. I am personally loving the investment I made on thermals, and we are both getting full use of our puffer jackets. Despite the cold weather we are loving the sunny, bright blue skies and the beautiful red, orange and yellow leaves (I don’t know whether to say Autumn or Fall, seeing as we are in the US). We are moving very quickly through each location at the moment, but making every second count to see as much as we can. For Portland, we had so many places flagged that we wanted to visit. Mostly food, if we're being honest. With only three short days here, we got around to seeing as much as possible from that long accumulated wishlist.


Might invest in a second check-in bag so I can buy more books.

We left Seattle bound for Portland on an Amtrak train at 7:20 am. The train trip was so smooth and comfortable. We had coffee and a bagel on board as we watched the suburbs of Washington state fly past on the way to Oregon. We arrived at Union Station and walked the short 10 minutes to our accommodation. We were too early to check in, so we dropped our bags and went straight to the Portland Saturday Markets along the Willamette River. There we so many stalls with amazing artwork, handmade goods, candles, oils, clothes, etc, etc. There were also many food trucks to choose from for lunch. We had an empanada from one truck and a falafel wrap from another. We walked along the trail in the Tom McCall Waterfront Park and checked out Mill Ends Park (the world’s smallest park).

Then we visited one of the places that was top of my list for Portland – Powell’s City of Books. This is the largest bookstore for used and new books in the world, and it is indeed massive. There are ten different rooms with aisle after aisle stocked to the brim, so it was slightly overwhelming at first figuring out where to start, but after a short while we were lost on our book hunt. It took a lot of self-control not to walk out with our arms full, but in the end, we left with just two books.

After we checked in to our hotel, we went out for dinner at AFURI ramen + dumpling. To be completely honest, dinner was the most disappointing part of the day. The food we ate was good, but some of our order never arrived, and after the staff followed up for us, the kitchen just said it would take too long to make because they were busy (it was entrees…), and so we left still hungry. However, e shall just ignore the ending to what was otherwise a very good day.


To drink in Detention, the Boiler Room or Honours – that is the question.

How long should jet lag last? We are unfortunately still feeling the effects and ended up sleeping in way later than we had planned, once again. We had coffee and breakfast (or lunch by this point) at the cafe in at our hotel and caught the bus over to the Alberta Arts District. We walked one side of NE Alberta Street, stopping in many of the shops and resisting buying all the Christmas ornaments and candles. Once we got to the end of the street, we headed up to McMenamins Kennedy School. The rooms and halls that were once an elementary school have been repurposed into bars, restaurants, hotel rooms, a cinema, a gift shop and pools. We explored the halls and made the hard choice of which bar to stop at, ending up enjoying a drink at the Boiler Room.

We were tempted to stay a bit later and try some other bars, but it was getting late and we had much more to explore on the other side of NE Alberta Street, so we headed back there to continue our browsing. We had heard the food truck scene in Portland was amazing, so for dinner, we walked a bit further to eat at Piedmont Station Food Carts. We enjoyed a drink by the heater, watching a game of NFL on the TV. Clark had a chicken satay noodle dish, and I had a giant plate of pasta with a cheesy bread stick.


Doughnuts for breakfast and a day in Washington Park.

We were determined to start our day earlier than yesterday, so we didn’t even stop for coffee at the hotel café before jumping on a tram towards Washington Park. On the way, we decided to stop for coffee at one of the famous doughnut shops of Portland – Blue Star Donuts. Obviously, while we were there, we had to try the very thing they are known for, despite it being breakfast time (for the record, we had eaten an apple on the tram just to justify our not-so-healthy morning treat). After our caffeine and sugar hit, we were ready for a day of exploring the 410-acre Washington Park.

We started in the International Rose Test Garden, which has an enormous collection of roses from around the world. We considered going to the Japanese Gardens, but there was already a line, and we decided we would rather not pay for admission when we had so much more to explore. We followed the SW Kingston Drive through the park, then took the Wildwood trail, stopping to take way too many photos of the Autumn leaves on our way to admire the mountains from the viewpoint. Before we knew it, it was time to head back.

We took the tram from Washington Park station. This is the deepest transit station in North America and the Western Hemisphere. The elevator has two levels marked as “the present” and “16 million years ago”, and as we descended, it told us how many feet above sea level we were. Waiting at the station, we could read about the geological history of the area, which is much better than scrolling on your phone.

After all our walking and our very educational tram experience, it was time for a late lunch. We stopped at The Cart Blocks food carts, and both ordered from the Hua Li House. We walked away with delicious food in very generous portions that got us through late lunch and early dinner. After some work, we enjoyed a cider at our hotel café/bar by the fireplace to end the day.


Making the most of the last few hours.

We weren’t departing for our next destination until midday, so we had a bonus morning in Portland. There were a couple of places on our list that we were yet to try, so we spent our morning ticking those things off.

First thing, as always – coffee. Not far from our hotel was a coffee shop called Deadstock Coffee Roasters, which Clark had seen on Google Maps and was eager to try. This was the best cup of coffee we had in Portland.

Next, we needed some treats for the day ahead. Despite staying only a few blocks from Voodoo Doughnut, we were yet to try these famous sweets. Every time we walked past, there was a long line waiting to enter the store, and we just weren’t willing to wait in the cold. On this morning though, coffee in hand, we were ready, but when we arrived at 9 am, there was no one there. We walked straight in, browsed all the options and after much deliberation, we walked out with four doughnuts – peanut, sprinkles, maple glazed and a free peanut butter jelly special.

Lastly, we needed breakfast. We walked a couple of blocks to a shop called Bowery Bagels. I got cream cheese, lettuce, avocado and tomato. Clark got egg, sausage and cheese. We devoured them as we walked back to our hotel to grab our luggage, check out and say goodbye to the wonderful city of Portland.


We loved our stay at The Society Hotel in Portland. We stayed in a private room with a shared bathroom. Our room was small but very cosy. It had a sink, towels, robes, and heating and was cleaned daily. The bathrooms were also very tidy and clean and had soap, shampoo, conditioner and hair dryers. There was a beautiful rooftop with amazing views and a café/bar downstairs with good coffee, a range of drinks and food and a fireplace. The staff were very friendly and helpful, giving us loads of tips for what to do around Portland and available at the front desk or via phone 24/7. The location is within walking distance of the Saturday markets, waterfront park, many good bars and restaurants and public transport. The only downside for us was that the surrounding streets are a bit rough, with a lot of homeless people, but the hotel itself felt very safe regardless.


We are picking up a car and hitting state #3 on a road trip along the coast of California.


When planning our travel destinations, we pin our bucket list of sites to see and recommended places to eat and drink on Google Maps. We are then never lost for ideas when travelling, and can easily share these lists for our friends and family to use as well.

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