Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Portland, OR

Portland Brewpubs -- Great Beer
M.C. Escher

Nanc stopping to smell the roses. A few of the roses.
Upper Pond
Sand and Stone Garden
Mt. Hood and the city from the Japanese Garden.
Dragon Boat Races

We spent a week at Jantzen Beach RV Park in Portland, OR, a park with a reasonable weekly rate for an urban setting. This is a good place to stay when visiting the city but the down side is it is in the flight path of the airport and there are always planes coming or going during the day. It was not bad at night and the nearby million dollar homes get the same noise as a trade off for living near the river with a view of Mt. Hood. One reason I wanted to stay here was to try some of the many brewpubs. Portland is to beer what Seattle is to coffee with more breweries per capita than any city in the USA. We ate out six of the seven nights we were here and the reward was some decent food and some GREAT beers. Nanc is willing to agree to the brewpubs because they all have an excellent selection of wine. We got to watch the Steelers get off to a great start on the road to a repeat with a win over the Terrible Towel stomping Titans.

On Saturday morning we went to a big farmers' market in the city and then to the Portland Art Museum where they had a special exhibit, Virtual Worlds M. C. Escher and Paradox. We have always been fascinated by his work and it was interesting seeing how he progressed through the years to finally get to the style of drawing the impossible structures for which he became most famous. You could spend hours looking at his work and constantly finding some new fascinating detail.

One afternoon we went to Washington Park to stroll through the Rose Garden and Japanese Garden. Portland is known as the rose city and the garden is a tribute to that status. There are hundreds of plots with past winners, the queen's walk honors the Rose Festival Queens, and many different experimental hybrids. It was really beautiful and the smell was wonderful. The Japanese Garden is several acres of landscaped grounds in the ancient tradition of Japan. It is dedicated to Portland's Japanese population and its Sister City, Sapporo. There is a mix of water, plants, buildings and sculptures along the meandering path. There are several little alcoves with benches that were quiet and cool on the hot day we were there. The garden has a great overlook of the city and Mt. Hood. What a great place to go to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It was like stepping into another world.

On the day we marched in the health care protest (previous post) we watched dragon boat races on the Willamette River. There were teams from all over the US and Canada racing in several different categories. Each boat had twenty rowers, a helmsmen at the stern and a drummer up front setting the pace. The races we watched were very competitive and looked like everyone was having a great time. Even though we don't often stay in big cities we enjoyed our time in Portland and as always we plan on returning in the future.

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