Friday, September 4, 2009

Portland: The Highs & Lows

Since I've given an overview of the trip and highlighted some of our favorite parts, I thought I'd give a thumbs up-thumbs down report of Portland plus a few travel tips in case you want to visit:

  • Beautiful weather--the weather was GORGEOUS the entire time we were there. It wasn't too hot and it wasn't too cold. It was sunny and lovely every day. It is a good idea to wear layers because you can go from slightly cool in the morning to nice and warm in the afternoon. We both had backpacks which were great because we could toss our long sleeves in them as the day warmed up.
  • Great public transportation & easy accessibility--the TriMet rocks. You can go so many places. One thing you may want to consider is whether or not to actually buy a pass. We didn't realize that many of the routes are free, and even if they aren't, no one checks your ticket. We never once showed our $22.50 a piece week passes that purchased. We felt good about supporting public transport, but it was still a bummer that we didn't really get our money's worth for the passes.
  • Lots of things to do--We hit the highlights and as you can tell we were pretty busy! 4 full days was perfect to get the highlights. If we wanted to get "more local" then we may have to stay longer. Any shorter and we would have felt jipped.
  • Beautiful Town--whether we were in the heart of downtown or driving around the state, the entire place was beautiful. Great architecture, very clean, etc. Visually you will be satisfied!
  • Bad food, hard to find good food--One of the things we were MOST excited about was all the good food Portland supposedly has. We read several blogs and articles raving about the emphasis on local, organic, good-for-you food. Well wherever it was, we didn't find it. Most of our meals were disappointing. We really wanted to try and find some good restaurants, but we usually just ended up in the first thing we could find after walking and walking for 20-30 minutes. If you are really intent on good food, I would take really good notes of places you want to go and making sure you have good directions on how to get there. We tried to find a few places and got hopelessly lost, but weren't really intent on going any particular place so that probably contributed to why we got crap food the whole time.
  • Lots of bums--There are tons of homeless, jobless young people. It's one thing to be homeless because you have really hit bad luck, or you have mental issues or substance abuse issues, but the majority of the homeless in Portland are 20-30 somethings. People who are perfectly capable of being productive. They looked like they just wanted to hang out with their friends, smoking cloves and playing guitar. You can't walk a block without being hit up for money. It got old really fast. Even worse was the number of homeless that had pets. I really wanted to punch them in the head. It's one thing to make the choice to be homeless, it is completely another to make a dog live like that. There were many dogs eating leftovers passed on as donations. I'm sure they don't receive proper vet care and they have to sleep outside on a leash 24-7. Of course you know I love animals so that really got to me. Practice your walk and ignore before you go. You'll need it.
Overall, even though the food wasn't what we expected and we were harassed a lot by bums, we give Portland a double-thumbs up. We'd definitely go back to visit, and it's now on our list of top places to check out when I'm looking for a job!

1 comment:

ange said...

Heck yes, we are going to Africa!