Portland, Oregon, USA.

Are you bored of these posts yet? Only one more after this so bear with me ;)

Portland was… interesting. We arrived, stepped outside of the train station and were instantly met by people dealing drugs and hassling police at the tram stop. We then were bothered by a ‘missionary’ at a bus stop because we did not give him any money. By the time we arrived in Woodstock we were weary. It was much, much, much further than we anticipated and it all seemed a little bit inconvenient. Our host, her husband and beautiful children lifted our spirits a little. The above-garage apartment we would call home for five days lifted our spirits further. It was gorgeous, complete with a hob, fridge, bathroom and the comfiest bed. We explored Woodstock a little bit (which didn’t take long as it’s basically a single street), used the wifi in Starbucks, got some snacks and had dinner. We finished the day with Breaking Bad in bed, because that’s what holidays are for right?

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A poorly positioned fan meant that I woke up the following morning with the worst crick in my neck. I couldn’t move at all and after a minor panic, hot shower, lots of deep heat and painkillers we left to explore the city. Or, well, not explore. We felt lost and like there was nothing to do or nowhere good to go and wandered aimlessly for, what felt like, hours. Thankfully we had arranged to meet David (of the 

Free Portrait Project

) in Alberta that evening…if it wasn’t for this meeting—which happened to coincide with a big street festival call

Last Thursday

— we would have ended our first day in Portland pretty sad. In fact I may or may not have cried a little bit on our way to meet David, such was the exhaustion, pain and frustration I was feeling.

Last Thursday was basically a huge street party and the further down Alberta we walked the crazier things seemed to get. There were every kind of musician, rappers, dancers, brass bands, string quartets, buskers, artists, tshirt sellers, designers, producers, makers and bakers of all kinds and even a couple of cool kids selling delicious lemonade for a 50¢. I bought some beautiful hand made ceramic cups for drinking wine out of and Richard bought a sticker. There wasn’t much we wanted to purchase but the atmosphere and energy was infectious. We stayed out much later than we expected and quickly our crappy day didn’t feel so crappy anymore. 

We walked back towards our bus stop along a street paralell to Alberta…I find the differences between homes of other countries and homes in Ireland fascinating. It was a nice to stroll along quiet streets after the hustle and bustle of the festival. 

The next day we set off a little bit more prepared, with names and locations of places we wanted to visit. We learned quickly that Portland is a sprawling city and it was a must to get public transport from one place to another, ordinarily this would have been aggravating but an all day pass for the bus and tram is only $5 (which is the same as just two single tickets) and there are no zones or different tariffs. 

When planning our itinerary we made sure to be in Portland for 

Brewfest

, as recommended by our friends in Canada. We were not disappointed and spend a beautiful, hot evening tasting lots of different beers (my personal fave was called 

Hell or High Watermelon

), eating amazing garlic fries and listening to live music. We bussed home in the dark tipsy and happy. In fact I think we went to bed full and happy and a little bit tipsy for the majority of nights this holiday, definite markers of a good time had.

On our second to last day in Portland we spent the day scouring the city for vintage and antiques and…beer. It was a mashup of personal interests maybe? We spent a while in a local vintage shop in Woodstock which surpassed all of our expectations tremendously before heading into the city for beer at a local brewery and plenty more of the right kind of ‘junk’. After a while we took a bus out to the leafy suburb of Sellwood and found plenty of pokey little shops, nice cafes and cool cars. 

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We ended the day by splurging on dinner and drinks at the Clyde Common restaurant at the Ace Hotel. I had read so much about the Ace and wanted so badly to try it out that we decided to just go for it, despite our dwindling bank balances. After days of drinking —ie, getting used to the taste of— beer my crisp rosé was exactly what I needed. Dinner was amazing and the company wasn’t half bad either ;)

On our last day we rented a car and drove to Cannon Beach. While our whole time in Portland had been hot when we arrived at the beach it was cold, damp and windy… much to our disappointment. We made the most of it though, walking up and down and around the beach, finding a tree swing, getting stranded beyond a river and having to hike away from the town in order to get back into town and some seriously dodgy pizza slices overall it was a great day. I was most proud that we actually managed to make our way there and back 

and

 survive the freeway!

(Portland, you were nice…just not as nice as

Beautiful British Columbia

!)