Day 49 – Astoria to Portland

Portland is another big town/city so as usual hotel prices are silly and we ended up staying near the convention centre in a Quality Inn. We booked a room with two double beds as this generally gives you a bigger room with more options to spread out, but on check-in the receptionist try to give us a standard double so we had a big of argy bargy over that one! Eventually they gave us what we asked for though and it was a fairly good room.
We decided to walk into the downtown area as it was a lovely, sunny day and made our way past the Lan Su Chinese Gardens, which is supposed to be amazing. Eventually we decided to not bother though as it cost $19 for the two of us, and we were unlikely to linger there long enough to make it worthwhile as (we thought) there was a lot more to see. We soldiered on towards Alder Street for some of the famous food carts so I could satisfy my curiosity. There is a whole block or carts, with options ranging from Georgian (the country) food, to Korean, to Fish & Chips etc etc. I eventually decided to get a falafel meal from one of the carts, which was massively disappointing and that I’m still pissed off about! The falafel balls had NO SALT and tasted absolutely awful and when I went back to ask for some salt the guy looked at me like I was insane and gave me attitude – but it really was inedible without added salt. Brian found a toasted cheese cart and had 2 toasted cheese sandwiches so that covered him for the day!
As we walked over the Steel Bridge from our hotel, we saw quite a few homeless people by the riverside; little did we know that this theme was played out all over the rest of the city. Between SW 9th and SW Park there are parks and green spaces and we started walking down it, but the amount of people just loitering and looking a bit dodgy kind of put me off. I’m not generally that touchy but I was feeling a bit off and stressed anyway so it just didn’t seem worth the hassle. We decided instead to walk towards the riverside via Pioneer Square, where we passed by a Ben & Jerry’s and an Apple store where we checked out the iPads and Apple watches – I think I am starting to get why people want one, though I am a sucker for Apple products!
We got to the riverside and there were loads of people running and cycling, as well as loads of homeless people as we walked back up towards the Steel Bridge and back to the hotel. I must admit that we didn’t give Portland too much of a chance, but it didn’t impress me much. I think it may be another city where you need to spend a lot more time to understand where to go and what to do as there are big craft beer and streetfood and restaurant movements, but it is kind of hard to experience much of that in half a day, especially when you’re not feeling that great. We had a couple of drinks in a Red Robin opposite our hotel and had some more SoA – I think the series will probably last us the trip, especially as one of us keeps falling asleep and we have to rewatch the next night!

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