13.09.2011 - 17.09.2011 21 °C
Drove through for about 5 hours from Crescent City in northern California to Portland in Oregon on Tuesday. The accommodation was in a place called Jantzen Beach; it was a bit like the Sandgate of Portland. It sits right on the Columbia River which acts as the border between the states of Oregon and Washington in these parts.
The hotel was excellent and provided a complimentary fresh, hot brekky. The parents were drooling almost as much as the kids! The hotel also provided a free shuttle service to the local train station so we all decided to head into Portland for the day on Wednesday.
It was a real eye-opener, I can safely say. It was a pretty grey day – which is fairly normal for Portland apparently – but where we got off the train was not the best. There was a lot of rubbish on the streets and many homeless people in the area. Some of the people were obviously struggling with mental health issues (calling out to nobody in particular, talking to themselves, counting cars) and Angus and Giaan weren’t the only Australians walking through that part of town with eyes like golf balls checking everything out. It was all up quite sad and not a great intro to the city.
We marched on and went into the biggest bookstore any of us had ever seen – Powell’s. This shop is huge and Angus will tell you a bit more about it later. From there we walked to Finegans Toy store. This part of town started to improve and there were heaps of small caravans that acted as food vendors on the sidewalks. Thai, Mexican, Vegetarian…the places smelled great and were not short of customers from the buildings surrounding them. After getting our bearings, we then waltzed into one of the highlights of our day – Tartberry’s Serve Yourself Frozen Yoghurt. What a little oasis of sunshine on a grey day! The owners were reeking of positive energy and happiness while the yoghurt was fabulous! Again, Angus will write more about that.
They have a free streetcar system to get people around downtown more easily and we hopped on the train to the aerial tram that is basically a cable car that goes up from the river to the city’s major hospital. An interesting experience and certainly the first hospital I’ve ever visited for the views!
The city has a very big public park called Washington Park filled with walking and bike trails. It also houses the local zoo, some Japanese gardens and a spectacular rose garden area. Headed back to our hotel for the evening and prepared for the journey to Seattle.
Our digs in Seattle are actually further away than we thought – in a place called Bellevue. It’s almost a satellite city of Seattle. Unfortunately, Giaan’s ankle is still pretty painful and Robbo gave his back a bit of a tweak this morning (a once-a-year occurrence…nice timing). So, Lesley and Angus have traipsed into Seattle with another Queensland couple we met over brekky (Angus was giving instructions on how to use the waffle-maker – something he has become very good at with his hotel breakfasts).
Giaan and I have occupied ourselves with blogging, “rehab” sessions in the hotel’s pool and spa and laundry and ironing duties (support crew for our intrepid travellers). Tomorrow, we drop the hire car in to downtown Seattle and head to the port to board our cruise to Alaska.
Not sure how the internet will fare (might be very expensive) on the ship. Robbo is devastated as he has been desperately trying to keep up-to-date with the Rugby World Cup highlights. As well, it makes it hard to keep in touch. So, if we are out of contact for a few days, we’ll write in a week or so from Canada with, hopefully, tales of more adventures and some good photos to share.
Have a great school holiday and we send our best to everyone.