After meandering up the coast of northern California and Oregon, I made it to Portland. Coming up the interstate from the south, you come around one curve, and suddenly the city is spread out before you, kind of majestically, with all of its awesome bridges. Portland has a TON of beautiful and unique bridges, which is one of my favorite things about cities built on rivers.
The St. John's Bridge is an awesome green color, and it's kind of gothic-y. It's quite a looker. We checked it out around sunset one night.
I spent my last full day in Portland, a Saturday, wandering down Hawthorne in SE, checking out all of the vintage shops, bookstores, and (clearly) fro-yo spots.
I walked by one of the little food truck food courts that are all over Portland, and in the corner, I saw a small Airstream RV with a sign out front that said, "The Hairstream" -- which I think is awesome and hilarious and I almost got a haircut just so I could go inside. Sadly, I did not take a photo.
Portland is home to what is supposedly the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China.
I originally went in because I wanted to have tea at the tea house (which was beautiful and awesome), but I stayed for a couple of hours wandering around the garden and just enjoying the green space and quiet.
On Sunday morning, I had a GBB (GoodBye Brunch) (is this getting excessive?) (I'll stop; sorry) at Sweedeedee, which is INSANELY popular. At 8:30 a.m., there was already a line and a wait.
Fortunately, one of the benefits of eating by yourself is that you get seated much quicker. I found myself at the bar, looking out the window, and I only remembered to take a picture of my meal after I was more than halfway through it.
Corncakes, a couple of eggs, and leeks! Oh, and bacon. Seemed a weird combination, but it really worked. Their menu is fantastically interesting.
I ventured into Canada for the first time in my life!
I crossed the border on the I-5, which was relatively pain free, though it does require a passport now -- it used to not.
Driving into Vancouver as the sun set was actually really pretty -- there are some nice views of downtown with the mountains rising up behind the city when you're coming up from the south.
I took Saturday to explore downtown Vancouver, and I started with the Granville Island Public Market, which is an intense weekend destination, even for locals, it seems! Great spot, though -- tons of food, cute booths and products, and... of course... I got a banana & Nutella crepe.
After I left the market, I wandered for a bit, found an ATM, took a bus, and ended up back in the center of downtown.
Vancouver is weird, because there are a shit-ton of glass, high-rise apartment buildings and offices. Like, a lot of them. Everywhere. It makes for a kinda cool skyline, but when you're walking around in it, it feels a bit lacking in character. Everything is just sort of generic and corporate and it looks the same.
I walked down Robson Street and window-shopped slash actual-shopped, and found my way, with a little help from Yelp, to a Japanese hot dog place for a late lunch.
I continued my walk and ended up in Gastown, which is at the north end of downtown, by the harbor where the cruise ships dock.
It was a cute little neighborhood, with cobblestone streets and old lamp posts on the corners, and of course I failed to take a photo of any of that.
I did step into a place called Rainier Provisions while looking for a smoothie or a pick-me-up of some sorts. Inside is a really cool space with an awesome color scheme -- exposed brick walls, turquoise folding chairs, and beautiful wood floors!
After dinner at The Flying Pig back in Gastown, a friend took me to The Diamond for drinks. What a cool space! It was a little empty on a Sunday night, but the drinks were nice, and the view of the main intersection of Gastown was fun. All of the huge windows were open, and there was a nice breeze.
Then we went up to see a little view of Vancouver. THAT was really nice!
Pretty fun corner of the world. I definitely have plans to be back!