In this post, I’ll be sharing photos and stories from my trip to Portland, Oregon.
I went with my girlfriend Fred back in March. In Montreal, we were still battling snowstorms then. In Portland, they had just then reached the other side of winter, so the week we were there had that lively spring energy, when people flood the streets for the first time of the year without winter jackets. We saw bare trees bloom within the span of a week.
Fred had wanted to visit Portland for a while now. It was the last major city in the Pacific Northwest she hadn’t seen yet. On my side, Portland had been calling for a while too. I was attracted by its mythical status as the capital of microbreweries. And with the good food and the big artsy crowd there, of course it had been on my list. But what probably enticed us the most was the nature—two biologists (sic: a biologist and an ex-biologist) can’t really say no to the wild Pacific Northwest. Big trees, moss everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Portland is kind of like a Tolkien version of Montreal. And a bit weirder too.
I loved the bridges there. When describing the different neighbourhoods in Portland, people often talk about four quadrants. Dividing the eastern half from the western side is the Willamette river, and crisscrossing it are 12 bridges, all different from one another, with different bascule mechanisms to allow boat traffic. Some are pedestrian only, others only carry trains. Seeing all the other bridge designs while you’re standing in the middle of one is pretty neat. Fred and I’s favourite was the brick-red Broadway bridge. That’s cause we loooove a good truss with double-leaf Rall type bascule span bridge. (Thanks Wikipedia).
Drive an hour away west of the city and you’re already on a beach. That drive has a pretty weird transition actually. You first go deep into a mossy forest wonderland. You continue driving for a bit, then you blink, and then suddenly the trees have cleared and you’re at a a beach. And there’s also at some point a building with a huge cow on it, and you realize it’s the cheese factory, and you go in and you eat cheese samples, and you realize that no one is actually supervising who takes cheese samples. And because you have little to no shame you go back in line again, and again, and again.
We came back from Portland with some cool artwork, a love for hazy IPAs, and a renewed obsession with plants (we lived next to Pistils Nursery, an amazing plant store).
Thanks for reading!