Our first day in Portland was spent aimlessly wandering around with no real destination. We had fun exploring the city and going wherever the road might lead us (15+ miles of walking, fried egg burgers for lunch, and a techno dance party in the city square) , but decided to embark on our second day with a little more direction.
So, we made a rough plan. We started the morning at Mother’s Bistro and enjoyed the most delightful breakfast experience. While we were waiting for our table, we walked a couple blocks to pick up my race packet, and by the time we returned, we were seated at a table for two. The restaurant was cozy and adorned with chandeliers, gilded mirrors, and a soundtrack shuffling out tunes from Band of Horses and other favorites. It was the perfect setting to complement our delicious meal. That’s one thing we noticed about Portland – everywhere we went, we were greeted by good music. It’s as if somebody had gotten ahold of my ideal iPod playlist and was playing it over the city’s loud speakers.
With tummies satisfied, we decided to check out Portland’s famed Saturday Market. One handmade purse and a winter hat later, we continued onwards in search of Stumptown Coffee, which we had heard serves the most delicious cup of coffee you will ever taste. That’s a pretty heavy statement, and one I don’t have sufficient knowledge to confirm, but I can say it was pretty darn tasty. Piping hot coffee in hand, we hopped on Portland’s ever-convenient extensive public transit network in search of Washington Park.
Our first stop was the Japanese Garden. We had been told this was a must-see attraction, and although it earned a spot on our itinerary, we were unsure. Once we finished strolling through the five acres of gardens, we both agreed it was much more impressive than expected. We nosed our way into a guided tour, and I would say that made all the difference. The plethora of information that was shared really gave the scenery much more purpose and depth than I could have imagined. We viewed the five different garden styles – the Strolling Pond Garden, Tea Garden, Natural Garden, Flat Garden, and Sand & Stone Garden, and learned that every detail is intentional and serene.
Next up was the International Rose Test Garden, which features over 8,000 rose bushes, and it was just lovely. It was a beautiful day, so I kicked off my shoes and enjoyed the grass beneath my feet as we strolled among the rainbow of roses.
From there, we spent some time along the waterfront, visited a couple miscellaneous locations, enjoyed a tasty meal at produce row café, and then called it a night, seeing that my half marathon imposed a strict 4am wakeup call on us.