Portlandia

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Husband and I spent three days in Portland, Oregon. We wanted to watch the soccer match against the Timbers (SKC won!) and explore the city a bit since neither of us have spent much time in the Northwest. There were a few things on our "must do" list, like the game, but for the most part it was a go-with-the-flow trip similar to last week's trip to Lindsborg. Just my speed. 

We arrived Thursday afternoon at the condo husband found on Airbnb. It was a great place in the Northwest side with a view of the city and Mt. Hood. (Good job, husband!)

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After plopping down our bags and regrouping, we walked down to the Pearl District and did some window shopping. And unicorning. 

After traveling for six hours and walking what felt like 10 city miles on less than three hours of sleep, our suburban legs were exhausted. We wanted beer and bed. 

Google told us Hair of the Dog was a good microbrewery and it was right. I love hoppy beer and their Blue Dot Double IPA was right up my alley. 

We had to try them all though, of course.

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After dinner and beer, we had just enough of a second wind to venture over to the famous Voodoo Doughnut. Indeed, good things do come in pink boxes. And require waiting in long lines with other sweet toothed tourists. 

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On Friday, I really wanted to sleep in. But even more than sleep, I wanted to take a yoga class at The Yoga Space Northwest, a former funeral chapel that has recently been converted into a charming Vinyasa yoga studio.

The space had great acoustics with vaulted ceilings, exposed beams and gorgeous stained glass windows. The light shining through the colored glass onto our mats was incredible — creating a peaceful setting and spiritual experience. 

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Based on the show "Portlandia," I thought Portland yoga was probably the yogiest yoga in America.

I can't speak with much authority since I only tried one studio, but it wasn't much different from the yoga I practice in Kansas City. There are definitely more studios here — one for every Starbucks it seems — but I expected more chanting and oils. It was a great class, just not quite as "Portlandia" as the stereotype in my head had anticipated.

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Chanting or not, I wish I could pick up this space and bring it home with me. In fact, I would like to bring the whole Alphabet District home with me. 

My class was at 6:00 a.m. and I didn't want to wake hubs up that early, so I spent some time walking around the neighborhoods surrounding the Alphabet District to look at the quaint homes.

I walked through a light, misty rain. It was refreshing, not annoying. We don't get that in Kansas. It's either raining or it's not. It doesn't really "mist."

Once I got back and showered, hubs and I went to breakfast. We walked to Stepping Stone Cafe, a dive we later learned was featured on the Travel Channel's "Man v. Food." You can see why. Holy. Biscuit. Delicious. 

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They're not known for their service. (Though I thought their service was great.)

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With full and happy bellies we welcomed the walk through the nearby shops. Husband was very patient as I perused. I'm a horrible shopper because I will look for hours and not buy anything. But it was vacation and with his encouragement (and patience) I bought a few things. 

And then it rained. 

Poured, actually.  

Unprepared and soaked, we walked back to the condo and dried off before heading to the soccer match. We grabbed drinks at a nearby bar with some other KC peeps and held our breath as we walked into Timbers territory wearing our  Sporting gear.  

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Yes, that's a Timbers Army scarf he's wearing. He traded with a Portland Twitter friend. 

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Oh, and we won. 1-0. Whoop! This is my I-believe-that-we-will-win face. 

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After the game, we met a couple of old friends from my hometown who reside in Portland. One was my first friend ever (my baby book proves it) and the other was my friend in junior high. It was so great to catch up with them and after a few minutes of playing "What have you been doing the past three years?" it felt like no time had passed at all. 

A few hours and too many drinks later, we made it home and slept in a little bit before heading to Saturday Market  — a large craft market. This was my jam. It was like shopping on Etsy, IRL. Plus live blues music. Rad.

Sorry, I didn't take pics. Here are a couple I snagged from Flickr.

CC image courtesy of Letha Colleen Meyers on Flickr

CC image courtesy of Letha Colleen Meyers on Flickr

CC image courtesy of Minh-Kiet Callies on Flickr

CC image courtesy of Minh-Kiet Callies on Flickr

Next was nap time. I know, lame. But we needed our energy for our afternoon hike. The condo was pretty close to the International Rose Test Garden (known simply as the Portland Rose Garden), so we hiked around the park, stopping to smell the roses.  

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I loved reading all the rose names. Maybe one day I can become a professional rose namer. This one is called Scentimental. 

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This is Ketchup & Mustard. 

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We also stopped by the Holocaust memorial, a solemn place. 

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And before any of this, I had to slip in some down dog action. 

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After our nice hike and long showers, another old friend and her boyfriend picked us up for a dinner date. Thank goodness for Facebook ... I didn't even realize she lived in Portland now, but when she saw me post about our trip the day before, she sent me a note. Yay Internet!

It was similar to the previous night's reunion — a game of catch-up and then the familiar feeling of friendship. It was nice. It's good to see old friends doing so well.

And that pretty much concluded Portland! My friend and her boyfriend graciously offered to drive us to the airport (they were too nice), which is where I am as I type this post with my thumbs on my phone.  

Portland reminded me of my hometown — Lawrence, Kansas — only larger and hillier with bigger trees, more breweries and bikes and unfortunately, a larger homeless population.

Maybe because of the cultural similarities, and because I saw so many familiar faces, I felt comfortable there. In other big cities I've been to I feel out of place; a lost puppy. Instead of being greeted with glares and shoves, Portland greeted me with tree limb hugs, smiles and welcoming weirdness. 

Stay beautifully weird, Portland. Hopefully we'll meet again.  

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