Saturday, 8 May 2010

What's Brewing in Portland?

We’ve been having a ball in Portland. This is one city where we could definitely see ourselves living. But we’re not alone in that feeling. So many people we have spoken to on this trip have said that they are moving to Portland. And the people that live here already seem to be super-enthusiastic about it in a way that we have not encountered elsewhere (perhaps with the exception of San Diego).

We mentioned in an earlier blog that Portland is known as the “green” city, but here are a few further random facts about Portland.

Climate: it has wet but mild winters, and dry, hot summers. But by “wet”, we mean wet… from November to March, on average, it rains at least every other day i.e. 17 or 18 days in the month. We thought London was bad! Still, apparently these are perfect conditions for growing roses, which is why Portland is known as “The City of Roses”.

Population: at just under 600,000, its population is much smaller than London (7.5 million) or New York City (8.5 million), but it seems just as cosmopolitan, and we can’t quite believe that it is that small.

Live-ability: you can walk everywhere, and it has a fantastic public transport system. Happily for us, it is also known for its microbreweries, coffee houses, varied and high quality cuisine and for serving fabulous Oregon wines.

Politics: it’s so fiercely Democrat or “blue”, that it is known as being “ultra-violet”! It’s also so liberal with its freedom of speech laws that full nudity and lap dancing is protected as being “free speech”. Hilarious!

Cycling: yes, it ranks No 1 as the best city for cycling in the US…need we say more.

So, back to our own experiences of Portland. After running all our “errands” yesterday, we settled down for a late lunch of dim sum, edamame, and spring roll in one of the nearby bar/restaurants. The place sold itself to us with its motto “Eat, Drink, Be Happy”. Oh…go, on then! And so we did and we were. After a bit of route planning, in particular working out where we will go in the Vancouver/Vancouver Island area, and in what order, it was time to eat again. So we moseyed on down to the restaurant in our hotel. We felt a bit unambitious, as we ate there the night before as well, but it was so good we figured why not.

All was good with life until around 2am, when the college guys in the room next to us started some high jinx at full volume in the corridor outside our door. As they seemed to have around 8 people staying in the room, and many female guests turning up giggling, knocking on the door, and then slamming it again around 5 minutes later, it was not a peaceful night’s sleep. This went on for the next couple of hours, despite intervention from hotel security, and started up again just before 8am this morning, until Anthony knocked on their door and left them in no doubt as to how angry he was, which seemed to do the trick. Needless to say, we were a little irritable when we finally woke up. However, one room change later, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we do not get a repeat performance tonight.

Anyway…our highlight of today was meeting up with Valerie and Paul, family friends of Kat’s, who live and work in Portland. They whisked us off for a late lunch in a fantastic brew-pub, where we basked in the sunshine in the beer garden at the back of the pub. We tried out a couple of the fantastic beers and some suitably unhealthy but yummy food, and had a wonderfully relaxed chat for a couple of hours. They then gave us a whistle-stop tour of Portland, including some of the picturesque bridges, before dropping us back at our hotel for the evening. Thanks Valerie and Paul for a lovely afternoon!

We’re now chilling out in our (quiet) room, content in the knowledge that we have another rest day tomorrow, before heading back to the coast on Monday. Oh, and we got a phone call tonight from Hugh at the bike shop to say that Trusty & Steed are fully recovered and ready for collection tomorrow – more on that then!

Us x

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