Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My Trip To Portland, Oregon

Recently, I attended the EPIC Conference in Portland, Oregon. When I go to conferences, I usually try to arrive the day before the conference begins so I can do a little sightseeing. Why go all that way and not see something of the city, right? There were tons of things to see and do in Portland. The transit system there was very prompt, clean, fast, and easy to use. We never had to wait very long for a train to come by to pick us up. Very, very nice. Plus it was free if you stayed within the historical district, and there were plenty of stops along the way. Because I was limited to one day, my friends and I had to make some choices. It wasn't easy when there was so much we wanted to see.

Our first stop was the Portland Classical Chinese Gardens. It was beautiful and serene. Winding walkways and foliage-draped portals beckoned you further inside and around the 8,000 square foot lake in the center. Lacy trees dipped toward the water. Everything was blooming. The rock formations and waterfalls, the quiet atmosphere and buildings made you feel like you'd been transported to another realm. An extra treat was a small Dinosaur Exhibit (going on from March 1 to May 21, 2008).

I actually managed to take some pictures while I was there. Author Adrianna Dane also has some great shots. Here are links to our respective photos on flickr:

Caitlyn's Photos From The Chinese Gardens
Adrianna'a Photos From The Chinese Gardens

Lunch was at Old Town Pizza, reported to be haunted by a young "working woman" named Nina who'd been thrown down the elevator shaft 100 years ago. Old Town Pizza sits in the original hotel lobby of the Merchant Hotel. A warren of rooms snakes through the place. The interior was darkened yet rich with color, too. Wooden floors creaked with every step and it was easy to imagine it being haunted when workers walked on the floor above us. And the ladies room...words can't describe the feeling. I'm not sure if I felt claustrophobic or if I time-traveled back to the late 1960s. The walls were completely decoupaged with magazine articles from that era. Our lunch was excellent (salads and paninis for all) and there was plenty of it for a reasonable price. The batteries in my camera had given up the ghost (yes, bad pun under the circumstances), but Adrianna was prepared and took some excellent photos (Adrianna's Old Town Pizza photos).

The last stop of the day was a trip to Powell's City of Books. This huge bookstore fills one city block and I believe it is several stories high. They also have a coffee shop. In the two hours we were there, I spent an hour-and-a-half in the children's section alone. The rest of the time I made quick run-bys to other sections to search for books on certain subjects. The staff there is very knowledgeable. If you request information on a book, they know exactly what you want and where it is. Often you didn't even need to ask. They'd come up to you and ask to help. Sometimes they'll stop what they're doing and get it for you. If you love books and you ever have the chance to go to Portland, put this on your must-see list.

:) Caitlyn

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