Next stop on our American adventure was the weird and wonderful Portland. Following on from our stay in Seattle, we were a little bit more acclimatised to the different culture in America so were more able to relax as we toured the city. Nestled in the forests of Oregon, Portland is kind of an undiscovered destination. We knew very little about it before we arrived other than its reputation for quirkiness and cuisine, so were eager to explore.
As I mentioned in the previous blog, this was an adventure on a budget so it was back on the Bolt bus for us. Like Seattle, we had booked a room on Air BnB and three hours later we were pulling into the bus depot. We had decided to stay in the Hummingbird Suite a little bit out of town in a suburb called Richmond. I could not recommend this Air BnB enough! It was a room that could sleep four with a kitchenette and living space attached to it. The area we picked to stay was super cute and the high street, Division Street, was a two minute walk away and was packed with little restaurants with pretty much any cuisine you could think of.
Our first night we decided to eat at Bollywood theatre which was an Indian restaurant with a big patio to sit out on. This restaurant was very affordable and not to mention the food was amazing! As I’ve mentioned above, the one thing I had heard about Portland was that they had tons of cool, different places to eat. Ice cream shop Salt and Straw really lived up to that expectation. They had the craziest flavours from pear and blue cheese to honey lavender. Also a little tip with that shop: they let you try every flavour before you buy anything so take full advantage of it!
The next day we took the bus across the bridge in to the centre of downtown and spent the day wondering through the small city. I’d recommend talking a walk to see the sign that best represents Portland: the ‘keep Portland weird’ mural at West Burnside Street. Portland is full of cool, wacky murals and street signs so we had some fun walking around stumbling across them.
Another place I’d seen on Instagram was a doughnut shop called Voodoo Doughnuts. Portland is a pretty small place so it didn’t take long until we came across the street home to the most aesthetically pleasing cake shop I’ve ever seen. The outside of the shop is bright pink, green and purple and once you get in the door you’re greeted by a display case of incredibly decorated doughnuts of all flavours, including a really diverse range of vegan ones. As you can imagine we spent a bit of time at this spot demolishing doughnuts and taking copious amounts of pics for the ‘gram!
Next we found the shopping district, a mall in the very centre of town and had a little look. You have no idea the amount of self control it was taking me to save my money for food and a place to stay on this trip rather than blow it all on clothes! After spending all day wandering around the streets we went back across to our accommodation to get ready to go to dinner in another Instagram approved spot; Pok Pok. This is a little Thai restaurant on Division street that really creates the illusion you are eating at an authentic spot in Thailand. We had the Kung Op Wun Sen which is a must if you go eat there.
Our last and final day in Portland was a very chill day with lots of exploring in the suburbs of the city. We had booked our bus to L.A. at 6pm that evening so had a lot of time to kill before then. The bus down the coast was going to take us a grand total of 21 hours so we wanted to really tire our legs out in the hope that we would be able to sleep during the night portion of the journey (wishful thinking!), so we decided to find a park to take a walk. After strolling through the quirky streets of Sunnyside we wandered into Laurelhurst park. This is a great place to come and chill for a bit as it had loads of benches and a really pretty duck pond to sit by if the weather is nice.
That evening we grabbed our luggage from our Air BnB (they had let us store it there after checkout at 12pm) and took the bus into downtown to the Greyhound bus station. This was our first leg of the journey with Greyhound bus. Considering the less than positive reaction given by anyone we had told about our transport plans, we didn’t hold out hope for Greyhound being a perfect service. We knew these buses could be full of weird and wonderful folk so we were prepared for the guy in pyjamas and two pairs of sunglasses dragging a bin bag behind him to board our bus and the other gentlemen waiting in the station with dogs, frantically bellowing gibberish at any poor soul just trying to get to the bathrooms. What we had not expected was delays, every traveller’s worst nightmare and of course our bus was delayed three hours on the one occasion we happened to be two hours early to the station. By the time we boarded the bus we were already five hours in to our 21 hour journey which was rapidly gaining time by the minute. However the prospects of the entertainment capital of the world were keeping our morale up!
So as you can probably gather from this account, if you like food then Portland is heaven on earth for you. My waistband definitely got a smidge tighter in this city but I can say that if you’re heading that way it’s worth it to stop by for a few days.