As we pulled away from the Amtrak station on an ugly Monday morning in Bellingham, I couldn’t help but feel excited at the thought of escaping reality for a week and spending it filling our bellies with beer and yummy food. Watching the Pacific Ocean go by on the right side of the train was mesmerizing enough to entertain me for a while, but then I found myself counting down the hours until we would arrive. Once we did though, the excitement continued, despite the rain and scary number of homeless people that were around the train station when we got there.
Over the next week, we spent our time hopping between craft breweries, amazing restaurants, thrift stores, and putting on miles and miles. (or kilometers). One place we found with an amazing view, no doubt thanks to the sun that made a rare appearance, was the tram up to the Oregon Health and Science University. The trip was less than $5 and was a really cool experience.
A place that cannot go unmentioned is Jam Cafe. Which offered the best (albeit only) tofu scramble that I have had in my entire life. We went for the next three days in a row. The best part was the 8 am pear mimosas and the fact that they serve you coffee while you wait in line to get in, because it’s just that amazing.
Something else that Portland is famous for is Food trucks. They call the areas cute names like “cartopia” or “cartlandia”. We spent one dinner here with an assortment of food between us from Mexican to Asian dishes. To top it off, there was a separate cart just serving craft beer and you could enjoy it all under the heated lamps on picnic benches.
I think the only part of Portland that disappointed me was the lack of hostel atmosphere we experienced. It was full of older people trying to get jobs or people who laid in bed all day being anti-social. The US has quite a different atmosphere than hostels anywhere else, even the HI I stayed at in San Fransisco had a better atmosphere, but I think that can be attributed to the bar downstairs.
Overall, Portland was amazing and rainy (PNW weather) and full of weird things and a billion thrift stores and funny
quotes covering buildings and the best Mexican food (shout out to Por Que No and Cubo) and beer (the Imperial Taproom and Prost and Stormbreaker brewing), and I’d go back in a heartbeat to explore more. The Hawthorne district was the best part, I could have skipped the entire downtown just to spend my time wandering the back streets of the Hawthorne area which were full of surprising vegan markets and coffee shops (Coava), and Thai food and book stores which would never get boring. I don’t think Portland gets the rep it deserves and the amount of people who asked me “why are you going there?” was crazy to me but I was glad I didn’t listen.