Holy cow! What a day in Portland! Here’s how it went down:
We arrived late Monday afternoon and went straight to the home of the friends we stayed with. Ben has a good college friend, Bri, and she and her fiancée have a great house right in town. They were so welcoming and awesome – as soon as we arrived they cooked up a homemade meal and dessert, made us feel right at home, and even drew us maps of all the places we should hit while we were there.
After dinner and lots of chatting, Ben and I walked to a nearby bar and met up with Brechter… you guys probably know him. Haha, anyways, it was a great time just talking about his job and our trip and catching up on everything. He made us want to go ski at Mt. Hood sometime. Also makes me miss camp people like crazy.
On Tuesday we got up early-ish, showered (which feels especially great when you don’t get to every day), and walked to the Waffle Window. This place was awesome – you can get sweet or savory waffles with all sorts of delicious toppings. Ben’s had thick bacon, cheddar cheese, and some kind of jalapeno/avocado topping. Mine had sliced bananas, lots of nutella, and whipped cream…. Yum. After that we walked over to Stumptown coffee – we were told that this would give us the true Portland coffee experience. We were also warned that we wouldn’t feel cool enough to go in, but that it was okay, and we were. The coffee was delicious, I was not disappointed… They even made a little heart with the frothy milk on top of my café au lait.
After that, we definitely had to hit up Powells, which is this bookstore that is 4 stories tall and takes up an entire city block. In the hour that we were there, we made it through 1½ levels, and were kind of rushing. I feel like this is a place I will definitely have to revisit. We left downtown after that and drove south to Salem – we were lucky enough to meet up with my Aunt Jodi and Uncle Deacon for lunch there… I hadn’t seen them in over 10 years. It was really fantastic to sit and talk and catch up a little bit. The family thing is definitely a huge part of my experience with this trip, so it’s really special to be able to make connections in lots of the places we’re going.
When we came back into Portland, we thought we’d stop in at the Widmer Brothers Brewery and Pub. After a few samples, I settled on a Peppermint Paddy Porter, and it was delicious – like a delightfully Christmasy, wintery beer. If you come across it, it’s worth a try. So, while we were sitting at the bar, some company employee came over and offered free Mumford and Sons tickets to the bartender… he just kind of said, “um, okay,” and took them. Ben and I made obvious jealous faces. The thing is, we aren’t obsessed with the band, but we like them well enough and some of their music is pretty catchy.
Well, a little bit later Ben had stepped out for a minute, and the bartender came over and started this conversation:
Bartender: So, have you heard of this Mumford and Sons band?
Me: Yeah, definitely.
Bartender: Oh, well, what are they like?
Me: Oh, you don’t know them?
Me: Oh, well, they’re kind of bluegrassy and catchy and…
Bartender: I heard there would be girls there…?
Me: Yes, there will definitely be girls there.
Bartender: Hm. Well, what are you guys doing tonight? (pointing to me and Ben’s empty seat)
Me: Umm, I don’t know.
Bartender: Well, I have basketball at 9 tonight, so if you guys want the tickets you can have them.
Um, awesome! I mean, how can you pass up free live music? So, Ben came back and I told him about the conversation and we slipped the bartender a little extra tip in exchange for the tickets. We still wanted to spend time with friends that evening, but figured even if we only made it for a few numbers that it would be better than the tickets going to waste.
So that’s the story for the evening… we met up with Bri and Ryan and ate a really delicious sushi meal, then went to the venue just in time to see the band come on… we saw the whole set, then slipped out just before the last encore song so that we could beat the traffic back. It was a really long day, but what a fabulous introduction to Portland…
Today we slept in (obviously), hit up Stumptown for another cup of coffee, then wandered around downtown until lunchtime. Today we had lunch at Bunk Sandwiches with another fabulous friend from camp, Leslie, and her boyfriend, Chris. Somehow it has been about three years since we’ve seen Leslie, but she is just the same and so fun, and funny, to be with. It’s already obvious that we’ll have to arrange more time to spend in Portland at some point… there is just so much to do and see and so many great people to spend time with.
We left town after lunch and made our way to the coast. Even though it’s a much longer drive, we decided it would be nice to take the more “scenic” route up to Seattle. I’m sure I will have some good Seattle adventures to share with you in the next day or so, but for now I’ll leave you with another map of our progress. Enjoy!