Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Portland - Favourite Places

Portland, Oregon, has always been one of our favourite cities. It’s changed a bit in the five years since we were last here. Known for leading the way in environmental and social initiatives, it’s definitely a walking, biking and transit-friendly place. Unfortunately the free transit zone in the downtown area is no longer in effect and, despite the social programs, homelessness seems much more prevalent.

The morning bike and walking commute and rapid transit train crossing the bridge.
I don’t think we’ve ever been to Portland without visiting the Oregon Zoo located in beautiful Washington Park. There is great use of the natural features of the landscape and, while there are many animals the enclosures are very large and spread out so it doesn’t feel like the animals are so “trapped.” There’s lots of construction going on in the area and I find it amazing that “In 2008, voters supported a $125 million zoo bond to advance animal welfare, increase sustainability and create opportunities for people to take action for wildlife.” * The first facility to be built was a new veterinary medical center equipped to meet the needs of all zoo animals and is a LEED Gold-certified building.
One of the zoo trails.
We did lots of walking along the Willamette River and had coffee and drinks/early supper at places with great views along the river. 

The following evening, although it was a Monday night, we were glad we made reservations for our favourite restaurant, the Veritable Quandary. The brie and squash ravioli was so delicious! Not to mention the chocolate soufflé.  :-) 

In the morning before we headed out again we made a quick trip to Powell's book store (largest book store ever!!) and the beautiful Chinese Gardens.

Mahjong tiles at the Chinese Gardens. They had people there that could teach you how to play.

The rapid transit stop was right beside our hotel and, at the other end, about a block from Union Station so, when leaving Portland, we decided to forego trying to fit all our bags in a taxi.
Too many bags! Will we ever learn not to do two gear-intensive sports in one trip???
* From a sign on the zoo grounds.

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