I did it. I finally did it. I took a vacation. For fun. I’ve taken long weekends, little road trips, camping and such, but this time I flew up to Portland for about a week without planning where I’d go or what I’d do. It was amazing. The weather was perfect, partly cloudy with only a little rain. The food was delicious. I can’t remember the last time I flew somewhere for fun.

an intersection in Sunnyside, Portland

I returned less than a week ago, and still can’t put together a complete list of everything I did or saw there. I did bike around the first and last days there, which was an incredibly fun experience – bike lanes everywhere and courteous drivers.

Went to McMenamins/Kennedy School, which was pretty incredible. Haven’t really seen much like that before. Rode bikes around popping in and out of various pubs, cafes, restaurants for most of the first day.

The second day brunch was at Cricket Cafe, where I was introduced to Secret Aardvark sauce, which at first I thought was some horrible notion of making hot sauce out of aardvarks, but I don’t think that’s the case. Later in the day I wandered around the Lewis & Clark campus and was given a tour of the Watzek Library.

Lewis & Clark campus

That evening was filled with breweries, bars and clubs. (I’ll just leave it at that)

Saturday I went to the Portland Art Museum – lots to see there. Was really impressed by Mike Kelley’s City 0000…

City 0000

view from City Grill

Had lunch at Huber’s, which is Portland’s oldest restaurant, established in 1879.

Played video games, pinball & had beer at Ground Kontrol.

Enjoy cocktails and an amazing view at Portland City Grill.

Saw a little bit of the Starlight Parade, it was exciting trying to get across one of the main streets back to the car, stepping over people, running out into and across the parade route, etc.

 The next day after brunch at Jam on Hawthorne it was off to the International Rose Test Garden, which was pretty amazing.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many rose variations.

International Rose Test Gardens

After wandering around the roses I wandered up to the Portland Japanese Garden…

Wandered around downtown for awhile on foot, dropped into Powell’s, Al’s Den,  Shanghai Tunnel and a couple other places. Later that evening went to the Academy Theater and watched Mad Men, which they show live & for free…? They also have microbrews on tap.

The next day, after lunch with colleagues from Lewis & Clark, explored Mt. Tabor. The day was slightly rainy, nothing serious but enough to get a taste of the non-sunny Portland.

view from Mt. Tabor

Dinner at le Bistro Montage, and then onto more pubs and bars.
If you can’t tell I’m leaving a lot out.
My last day in Portland I didn’t have to leave until later in the evening, so the day began with some walking & biking. Coffee and pastries before riding south to Oaks Park and Sellwood. Tacos, then onto Doug Fir, ping pong at Rontoms, video games at Red Flag and then eventually to the airport.
Back home by 11:30pm and back to work by 9am the next day.

This post is long overdue, and I’ll try to get back to posting more often, now that I’m back.

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