Friday, June 5, 2015

Amtrak Adventure - Day 21 - Portland, Oregon

Day 21 started off on the train as we had boarded the overnight Coast Starlight from San Francisco to Portland late the previous evening (an hour later than scheduled due to train delays) and were not due to arrive in Portland until mid afternoon. The Coast Starlight is one of the best trains to travel on overnight as sleeper car passengers have their own comfortable parlor car from which to admire the views. And the views were worth admiring. 

Mt Shasta - California

Crater Lake, Oregon

Trees, trees, as far as you can see

River near Eugene, Oregon

A few fruit bushes!

By the time we arrived in Portland I think we had seen just about every type of scenery possible. Some of the places we passed were tiny and I had to wonder what it was like to live in such isolation.

Our hotel in Portland, the Marriott Downtown Waterfront, was right by the river, so an early evening river walk was a perfect way to get our bearings. The riverfront was not as pretty as I'd expected it to be, partly because of the ugly (at least in my opinion) bridges over the river, and partly because a huge section of the riverside walk was fenced off for some kind of fun fair /festival. 

one of two similar bridges over the river

From the river we meandered back to our hotel along the nearby streets.

The Chinese Garden looked interesting but demanded a steep entrance fee so we gave that a miss. Then it was onto the Pioneer Courthouse Square, an urban park opened in 1984 to provide a gathering space for the Portland community and visitors. The square takes its name from the Pioneer Courthouse which stands on one side of the square. 

The square has a signpost pointing out the direction and distance to many other places. Not so useful if you want to go to Tipperary!

This nearby statue is called 'Portlandia' and is above the entrance to the Portland Building on 5th Avenue.
It is made of copper repousse and is the second largest such statue in the US after the Statue of Liberty.

Despite our wanderings we hadn't found anywhere we wanted to have dinner so after returning to the hotel, we walked south down the riverside and found a small marina lined with restaurants and cafes, all with outdoor seating. Perfect for a warm, sunny evening.

I was surprised to see that the river was busy with dragon boats. Judging by the number of crews it seems like dragon boat racing is a popular sport here.

Verdict: I have to admit that first impressions weren't that great, which was a little disappointing, but it's hard to judge based only on a few hours. 

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