Portland, Oregon

Monday April 27, 2015
Hard to believe but Marathon Monday was only a week away. Leaving Seattle this morning I was ‘accosted’ by a homeless women who accused me of being a Roman Catholic because I would not give her my spare change. I smiled at her instead, as she has asked me for money at least 3 times earlier this morning on my way to have coffee. And to make sure I understood what she meant she came right up to me – in my face and said ” I did not mean that as a compliment. It is a negative comment. I can tell you are a Roman Catholic. I can tell just by looking at you”. She was angry but not aggressive, just very vehement. I was not sure what she meant by that and had no time to ask as I was on my way to catch the train to Portland. Unfortunately today the train was replaced by a bus due to track work. The view to the east as we headed out on I5 was fringed by snow covered peaks. I wanted to get closer. It was almost 3 hours out of Seattle before we passed the turnoff to Mt Rainier NP. An hour and a bit later we were pulling into Portland. The temperature was a balmy 26 degrees when we arrived. I can well and truly put the down jacket away for today. Cant believe that less than a week ago I was sleeping in it as it was so cold.

First impressions of Portland is that it is bigger than I thought.  Mt Hood and Mt St Helens fringe the landscape to the east.  I am staying in the NW district with stately homes, cool cafes and restaurants all withing walking distance.   I walked out to Washington Park as the weather was so nice when I arrived and on my return downtown there was something  almost Truman show like about the streetscape near the stadium district. Late Monday afternoon on a beautiful day but there were  hardly any people about. I found it quite strange. Of course the next day near the old town …lots of people about, and lots of homeless folk begging in the streets, almost like Seattle.

Mt Hood from Washington park
Pioneer Square
Almost 8,000 miles from home and 2,500 from Boston (Walden Pond)
Willemette River which runs through Portland

The next day I spent almost 5 hours hiking the Wildwood Trail through Washington Park up to Crest Hill, which is the highest point in town. Beautiful greenery with very tall tree canopy and so quite. The trail pops up at the University of Oregon Medical Center and it’s almost surreal to have gone from the quite of the forest to a big university campus with an attached teaching hospital. The cable car back to the waterfront left from inside one of the buildings. I enjoyed a great cup of coffee here with fantastic views overlooking the city.  A lot more people about by the time I made it downtown near the Museum quarter. A beautiful warm spring day. And I just happen to walk past the food carts, of which Portland is very proud. I had a sensational Jian Bing at the Bing Mi foodcart. It is a Chinese pancake with an egg, herbs black bean sauce and a crunchy wonton in the middle. It was so delicious, I think I will be dreaming about it for some time. I went back the net day to have it again, but seeing the crowd waiting nearby , I knew it would be a long wait, so gave it a miss.

Crest hill
Park near the Museum.
Food carts, like a foodie festival every day.

Jian bing….delicious