First stop, Portland. We arrived late on a Friday night and after picking up our car drove to our hotel in the southwest downtown part of town, Hotel DeLuxe;
and all I could think of as we drove through it's charming streets was how much it reminded me of Philadelphia, which is a good thing, I love Philly. It was an auspicious arrival, when we drove up a car pulled up behind us and a bride and her new groom giddily stumbled out, she in a charmingly voluminous somewhat quirky and quite beautiful dress, he in a blue-green suit carrying a small green vase of white dahlias. They were happily a little bit drunk and I hoped she wouldn't trip on her dress as I followed them up the lobby stairs, she didn't. So the first night brought us with a smile, one I kept on for the remainder of my stay because I have to say, I fell in love with Portland. It is not a small city yet it feels like one. The East and West are divided by the beautiful Willamette River which goes into their wine region in the Willamette Valley, a happy little one hour jaunt at most, the river is crossed by five distinct bridges. The North and South is divided by Burnside Street; the home of Powell's Books,
the largest independent bookstore in the world taking up an entire city block and four glorious floors of every kind of book one could possibly imagine, so large and full they give you a map to navigate it. I like to call it Heaven. They have a fabulous public transportation system of buses and light rails that run so frequently I wondered why we rented a car. They have a fabulous array of restaurants and innovative chefs and since they are surrounded by beautiful Oregonian farms, a farm to table movement that is evident in each dish.
Then they have the Portland Farmer's Market,
situated in the aptly titled parks section
directly in front of Portland State University. Hard to find a more beautiful setting or a more beautiful market, or a more perfect way to spend your first Saturday morning.
And here come the flowers!
Which were so irresistible I had to buy me some little sweet peas.
So that was day one.