After waking up beneath the redwoods on Wednesday morning, we set out for Portland. We were on the road early enough to make it all the way to the city for lunch. Our first stop was Washington Park, one of Portland’s many green spaces. The park is huge, but we managed to find our way to its famous International Rose Test Garden. After a picnic lunch, we strolled round the garden and saw hundreds of beautiful roses of all different colors and sizes. We stopped in the gift shop to buy a few postcards, and learned that we were really lucky to see the garden in full bloom so late in the summer. Portland had a cold spring this year, and most of the flowers came in later than usual. After the rose garden, we walked up to the Japanese garden, but this one charged admission, so we just peered over the wall and headed back to the car.
Next we drove into downtown Portland to find Powell’s, a giant independent bookstore that carries both new and used books. We had the very frustrating experience of not being able to take a left turn anywhere off the main street, but eventually found the store and parked in the steepest parking garage I’ve ever seen. Powell’s was amazing, though overwhelmingly large for the half hour we allowed ourselves to look around. Kenzie found four books that she absolutely had to have, and all were discounted. I bought two books, including one about the Civil War that Bill insists that I have to read before becoming a history teacher.
The directory inside Powell’s:
After Powell’s, we walked around the downtown and waterfront area. There was a statue of Lincoln on a boulevard, and we learned that Oregon loves Lincoln because he supported the Homestead Act and land-grant colleges. Down by the river, we found a free community bike repair shop, and lots of kids playing in a fountain. We were tempted to join them–we had expected a 65 degree day in Portland, and it turned out to be very sunny and 80. On the way to Portland, we had read that one of the city’s parks was only 24 inches in diameter. We found this tiny park in the middle of an intersection–it even had a baby tree growing in it! Once we discovered this novelty, we headed back to the car to the home of the Mallirises, whose daughter Christina was Bill’s sister’s roommate this year.
The tempting fountain:
Portland’s smallest park:
The Mallirises live outside of Portland on a Christmas tree farm. After greeting them and their two very friendly dogs, we got in the car to drive to a neighboring town for dinner. On the way, we got a lovely tour of the area. The nearby farms used to be more diverse, but now wineries dominate the region. The Mallirises pointed out farms that used to grow hazelnuts or hay, but are now planted with grapes. The restaurant we ate at is owned by a pair of brothers who have been buying up old, run-down buildings in the area, and converting them into restaurants or, in the case of a former elementary school, condos. All five of us chose a delicious pasta dinner, and then we drove back. It was after nine, but still light outside, and the sky behind the darkening mountains was a beautiful golden-orange.
Shortly after arriving back at the Malliris house, Christina arrived home from work, so we got to chat with her before turning in for the night. The next morning, we woke up to some amazing oatmeal with brown sugar and dried fruit, and raspberries fresh from the backyard. We said goodbye to our wonderful hosts, and set out for Mt. Rainier and Seattle.
Us with Mr. Malliris, farmland and vineyards stretching behind us: