Keep Portland Weird(ly Full of Good Sushi Places and Parks)
SO we went to FINALLY check out Portland, Oregon during the MLK weekend. However, our original goal was to finally, finally, finally go to Cuba. Non-revs (the old airline standby game) are not yet permitted to fly to Cuba so alas, we still must wait. It's still pretty high up on my list though.
Now, simply flying out West when you're a standby passenger is -not- easy. It's almost always completely full or overbooked. That was the case when we got to the airport so being the creative people we are, we ended up flying to Kansas City, then to Salt Lake City and then to Portland.
Yes. Two layovers. We basically took an entire day to travel a four hour flight. BUT we got to stop off at our favorite lil frites shop in SLC called Bruges Waffles & Frites and got to indulge in some pretty ridiculously good food. It's the type of food that you should eat if you're having trouble falling asleep. You'll be set right afterwards. Zzzzzzzz....
Also, SLC has one of the prettiest landings as you're gliding in over the Rockies. Just take some time to sit and stare out the window. You won't be disappointed.
Also, I've failed to mention that we happened upon Portland during a freak winter storm. So. There's that.
So we got to Portland and took a Lyft slipping and sliding all the way to our cute Airbnb which just so happened to be an Airstream that looked as if it had recently been unearthed from the mountain of snow from which it was residing. It was pretty much everything I thought it was going to be (read: adorable).
It was crazy cozy and Randall was really helpful. Especially when the water line froze in the middle of the night. :| Also, the toilet and shower situation is pretty interesting. An experience, for sure.
So, this was basically the most snow I've ever seen in my life and apparently it was also the most snow that the local Portlanders had seen as well! Amazingly, very few things were closed even though you basically needed crampons to walk around the city without risk of bodily injury. Seriously.
As we all know, Portland is considered the land of the weird, the extremely liberal and the wacky. Strangely enough we didn't see many "weird" things other than an impromptu drum circle in the middle of a sidewalk but c'mon...I live in Atlanta. That's a regular Tuesday. I think the weather kept Portland pretty docile BUT we did get in some amazing hiking.
The park that we visited was called Washington Park and it had a pretty stellar view of Mt. Hood. There were loads of kids (and adults) sledding down hills, cross country skiing and just generally enjoying the massive amounts of snow. In this particular park there are tons of things to visit like the Japanese Garden, the archery range, International Rose Test Garden, etc. Unfortunately, basically everything was closed in Washington Park at the time but you've got to go at least for the trails. They're gorgeous. Trees tower over you and curly ferns cling to your ankles as you walk through this nearly prehistoric looking forest.
Also, of course I had to make a video.
In Portland there are tons of other parks to visit with a massive amount of hiking trails within the city's limits. Here's a list from Thrillist that can help you determine which park you'd want to visit in Portland.
As we already know, Justin and I are food travelers. Basically we go from place to place eating at the local dives, farmer's markets, rando place on the street corner, etc. Portland, not surprisingly, has loads of fantastic sushi dives. After our nice, long hike and walk back into town, we were pretty dang hungry. What else better to do than create a leaning tower of plates at a sushi conveyor belt restaurant!
Basically it's what you think. Sushi rides around the restaurant under little plastic covers and each colored plate is a price. It can range from a couple of dollars to $6 or even more. We were trying to keep it cheap but...we got excited. You watch the sushi come around, make some decisions and then wait for it to come around again and grab it off the belt. OR you can do what I did which is say, oh this looks good! And this! And this! And this! Then you're surrounded by an army of sushi on a rainbow of plate colors and you're dazed, confused and shoving fistfuls of sushi into your waiting maw.
I regret nothing.
If you've got some time, even a long weekend, go check out Portland, Oregon. You won't be disappointed by this book loving, liberal, weirdo city. Go take a hike, gorge yourself on sushi, drink some Stumptown Coffee and take it all in.
p.s. Don't forget to subscribe! The beautiful, lil white box to the right! It's easy!