Travel Diaries #3 - Heart Portland.

I'd been to Portland once before, but we had just driven through. On a road trip 5 years ago we stopped briefly in this cool city and stayed on the outskirts just in a tree house believe it or not. It was my first Air BnB before air BnB was a thing.

This time around I was determined to see more of Portlands beauty. Oregon is one of my favourite states in the US, that's probably because of its epic nature and endless outdoor adventures to be had. Nowadays with the rise of social media such as Instagram, we can really see what is out there in the world before experiencing it first hand.

First on our list was waterfalls. Just a short trip north would see us arriving at Wahkeena Falls. Notably, the drive out there was impressive. One side of the highway was lined with nature, green everywhere you looked and the other side, the Hood River. Your eyes really do start to turn into love hearts.

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Arriving at the falls you could sense serenity. These are perhaps the baby brother to the beautiful Multnomah falls just a few hundred meters down the road. From the viewpoint virtually at the road you could see the large falls up the top and the cascading water flowing on down the rocky creek. The trail took us to the higher section where you could stand on a bridge. Here we were reduced to giggling fits because of the harmonising energy of the negative ions. As we stood on the bridge the water thouorghly soaked us, cleansing from head to toe.

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Next was Multnomah falls which proved impressive from the get go. We walked into the park where many were also flocking and the falls towered 189 meters above us. The sun was rising directly at the top as we wandered in. There were two sections we could see from the bottom. Firstly making our way to the bridge found us above the first set of falls and closer to the bigger section. The water falling was loud and fast yet still you could sense the good vibrations. We opted to take the mile hike to the top. Consisting of 11 switchbacks we wandered though the fresh green forest. The hike was steap and enjoyable and at the top we found a beautiful green sanctuary. Bubbling creeks, water holes, waterfalls and the raw wild green. The viewing platform offered stunning views as we stood overlooking the 189m drop. Again my eyes turned into love hearts.

Back in Portland we soon realised this place was on point with their food and our exploring quickly turned into a food tour. In just a few short days we experienced these amazing eats.

Por que no - tacos and Mexican bowls, the place was pumping when we arrived and I could barely see a free table. This place looked like a done up house with funky Mexican features throughout. We sat in the courtyard and ate delicious bowls with rice beans, veggies and meat, complete with tortillas to make your own tacos.

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Blue star - unbeknownst to me this place is famous for 'fancy doughnuts' as I confess I've never been a doughnut lover but I may now be converted. Using only the top quality organic ingredients this shop was crisp, clean and clear. White walls, stainless. Steal bench top and the cleanest kitchen. Each doughnut sits on its own plate behind the glass. The flavours include Mexican Chocolate, Blueberry burbon, Lemon and poppyseed and much more. I myself could not go past the Key lime pie. Fluffy, raised and filled with key lime curd and dusted with the finest icing sugar going around.

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Voodoo doughnuts - perhaps more known for its wacky flavours and bright coloured everything. The gold glittered bricks and hot pink sign loured us in. The walls were lined with everything from voodo dolls, crazy merchandise and punk memorabilia. The revolving glass cabnits contained the crazy cakes and the menu went on for days. We opted to share a maple bar and a homer. These more typical donuts gave us a sugar rush we didn't need. My favourite was the 'homer' your classic strawberry with sprinkles.

Rachel's - ginger beer. Without knowing I'd conjured up in my mind a cheap diner with ginger beer floats on the menu. I should have known better considering we were on Hawthorne street. The cafe had roughly 15 different flavourned finger beers, made only from the most organic, natural ingredients. With options like white peach, mango mate, cucumber, blueberry and hibiscus and raspberry all on tap and ready to go in growlers! After testing half the range I opted for the caramelised pineapple ginger beer float. What more could you want!

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Cheese and Crack - famous for its stacked sundae, which seemed to include things you wouldn't expect in a sundae! We found ourselves here late Wednesday afternoon. The sample platter for four worked perfectly as we made our way through cheese crackers, bagels, caramelised Brie, cheddar, blue cheese, honey, jam and homemade mustard. A feast for the senses. Despite the 'limited your screens' policy, I whipped out my phone for a quick snap.

Roman candle - was lunch on our last day. The pizza style bakery was packed which I knew was a good sign. I ordered the grilled cheese. Which essentially was one of the pizzas loaded with a few variety of cheeses, roasted bell peppers with a side of hearty tomato soup topped with rocket. As delicious as this was our cheese and bread pockets had reached their limits!

Rice Junkies - we stumbled upon this place as we craved healthy greens and veggies. It sure did deliver. The make your own bowls or wraps menu satisfied our cravings as I opted for noodles veggies and beef teriyaki. The freshly made bowl topped with greens cleared our pallets from the salty and sweet foods we'd been feasting on until that point!

Heart - now I'm not a coffee drinker but this seemed the place to be for coffee lovers in Portland. Which in reality (I believe) we have it good in Australia, and especially Melbourne. I chose the spicy chai latte which I'm still fussy about. Ensuring it's made with real tea, I was delighted to find it's rich flavour dance around my tastebuds.

Aside from the food the vintage clothing stores where we're off the scale. So much quality, pre-loved clothes. You could spend hours sifting through the racks at Buffalo Exchange snapping up the greatest barging imaginable. Not to mention the other five stores we stumbled across with racks and racks of unique outfits, quality brands and simply fun fashion.

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I couldn't write this blog with out mentioning two other favourite places. Powell bookstore and the Japanese gardens. This bookstore seemed vauguely familiar and when I went inside I remembered we stumbled across this place on my last trip here. Taking up an entire block and multiple levels, the new and used bookshop is a haven for book lovers. Endless categories and isle's of books, I could have spent at least a day browsing the shelves.

The Japanese gardens, situated in Washington Park were stunning. We with colourful trees and flowers blooming everywhere peace overcame these elegant garden.people wandered in silence and sat and admired the plants, the ponds, the waterfalls and stone gardens. Another dose of nature with the added tranquillity of the Japanese culture made for a wondrous time.

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In just a few short days we barely scratched the surface. The quirky houses, and never ending nature bring this city to life. Next time when I return I must have a bigger suitcase for clothes shopping, I'll hire a car to venture to the natural outdoors and have a list of foodies informing me of the next greatest eats. We left with well worked out tasted buds and love hearts in our eyes. This place is a feast for the senses. Heart Portland.


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