Thursday, July 30, 2009

Two Days in Portland, Oregon

I thought Portland was going to be like Seattle, only smaller. I was wrong. Portland is quirky, relaxed, ecologically conscious, and earnest. People are friendly but not overly so. Bike lanes abound and are used regularly and not as some kind of highway decoration. Cars stop for pedestrians -- that was a shock for me. I'm used to letting cars get their way, but in Portland, they have considerately waited for me while I considerately waited for them, until I figured out that they wouldn't drive until I walked across and our mutual consideration would create a traffic standstill. You see many Portlanders carrying their aluminum bottles filled with water or some other beverage. Portland has an Oldtown, a Chinatown, as well as other ethnic neighborhoods, and many computer venture capitalists that have escaped California.

So what did I do in Portland, well I only had 48 hours so I chose the things that Portland was famous for: gardens, beer, and chocolate. Well, Portland should be known for them. Portland has the finest Japanese Garden outside of Japan as well as the largest Chinese Classical Garden based on the gardens of Suzhou. In addition they have a beautiful terraced rose garden where over 400 different varieties of roses grow. After all that nature, you can imbibe a byproduct of nature. Beer. Portland has a lively microbrewery scene and you can visit many pubs that have their own brands and they are not all expensive. After a meal and some suds you should also check out several gourmet chocolate shops that can be found in this small city. I'll write individual reviews of the above but I would rather have you experience Portland, Oregon itself. There's more than enough to do in the city for a weekend, and even more to do if you take advantage of the recreations that can be found outside of Portland. So for those of you who haven't thought of Portland as a destination. Consider putting it on your list.

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