PORTLAND, OR

Tacoma
Oven & Shaker, Portland
Oven & Shaker, Portland
Oven & Shaker, PortlandAmtrak to Portland
Voodoo Doughnut, PortlandVoodoo Doughnut, Portland
Voodoo Doughnut, Portland
My time in Portland was very brief and slightly chaotic. It was my first time visiting, and while I would have liked more time to really experience it, I still know without a doubt that it is my kind of place. We took the Amtrak from Seattle to Portland - my first experience taking the train. We left Seattle early Friday morning, making sure to give ourselves plenty of time to get there. Of course, the train was an hour and a half late, and it finally did arrive, we ended up having to disembark and get on another train that had been sitting there the entire time. To say the very least, I was stressed and unimpressed. We stayed with friends of my mums in Camas (or er.. Prune Hill, which the richy-riches apparently make a point of saying), which is roughly a twenty minute drive out of Portland, across the bridge in Washington. We got off the Amtrak in Vancouver, WA, which is basically the end-of-the-world-small-town-nothing-there. Later that evening, we drove into Portland and had a very eventful, food-filled, late night. We dined at Oven & Shaker (berry pizza, what is up!), went to Powell's, the International Rose Test Garden, both Salt & Straw locations (both with lines down the block), and Voodoo Doughnut Too. Talk about gluttony.
International Rose Test Garden
NE Alberta StInternational Rose Test Garden
Heart Coffee Roasters, Portland
Salt & Straw, Portland
Vita Cafe, Portland
International Rose Test GardenInternational Rose Test Garden
Salt & Straw, Portland
International Rose Test Garden
International Rose Test Garden
Day two in Portland was more or less the definition of chaos. There wasn't a whole lot of time to stop and take in the sights and it was more jumping from one location to the next for six hours. We hit up a few coffee roasters, shops, had lunch at Canteen and dinner at Vita Cafe. The evening mellowed out a little bit when my mum and I found our way back to NE Alberta St and had some time to wander (and make a second stop at Salt & Straw).

Like I said, the trip was brief and I didn't really get the opportunity to experience Portland as I would have liked to. Basically, someone take me back! Immediately! Ideally, I'd like to actually stay in Portland next time and have more time to veg out instead of being so on the move. You know, long leisurely mornings at the coffee shop, venturing around the neighbourhoods, some day hikes, and summer nights on patios. < -- The ideal! Ever so hopefully, I'll get to go back sooner rather than later.

WALLACE FALLS STATE PARK

Wallace Falls
Wallace Falls
Daily breakfast
I had a couple of hikes planned for our trip: One in Seattle, and the other in Portland. We didn't have time to go in Portland, but did manage one in Seattle. My mum is really into waterfalls, while I'm more into mountain views, but I decided to humor her with some falls. Luckily for me, we got a bit of both. We went to Wallace Falls, which is roughly an hour north of Seattle. We drove through a lot of teeny-tiny towns, which I feel like is just a "thing" in the US, no? Yes, we have smaller towns up here, but I feel like there are less of them.

Can we just talk about the plethora of yogurt options available in the US for a second? And like, every other food item? I don't eat very much dairy (just greek yogurt) while I'm at home, because I'm not particularly impressed by my options. Whenever I'm in the US though, my breakfast looks exactly like the above, every day. Siggi's is my go-to breakfast with some fruit, perhaps an Evolution Fresh juice, and, in Seattle + Portland, Stumptown stubbies! I had a couple bites of Noosa, which was DELICIOUS. So velvety smooth. I had my mother get it as her breakfast, as I couldn't commit to the sugar content other than a few bites, but still, so good. You guys are spoiled with your food choices.

Back to the hike.
Wallace FallsWallace Falls
Wallace FallsWallace Falls
img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3831/9410481424_9288ba8330_z.jpg" width="650" height="490" alt="Wallace Falls State Park">
Wallace Falls
Wallace Falls
Wallace FallsWallace Falls
Wallace Falls
Wallace Falls
Wallace Falls State ParkWallace Falls State Park
Wallace Falls
Wallace Falls
Wallace FallsWallace Falls
Wallace Falls
I very much enjoy hiking, but I wouldn't say that I'm great at it. I'd like to think that my cardio is quite good as well, but holy hell does an incline up a mountain make me think otherwise! Naturally, I'm a bit of a klutz, so I have an easy enough time getting up the mountain. Getting down is a whole other story. My family have never been big hikers, but I'm really making an effort to get into it nowadays. Whenever anyone will haul me out to the mountains, I am game. Wallace Falls wasn't too strenuous of a hike. There are three major locations for waterfalls that you see along the way (nine falls total), as well as some teasers. The first mile or so of the hike is not too steep, but once you reach the falls, it's a bit of a climb - especially to the upper falls. Well worth the effort though. Beyond the falls, you can go off trail to reach Wallace Lake, which I would love to do someday. There are signs at the Upper Falls warning against it if you are not prepared and experienced, as it is the place that people get lost.

There are some stunning photos of the falls on the website that I directed to above. How folks managed to get up close to the falls for those photographs is unknown to me, as going off trail on the side of the mountain seemed a little bit dangerous. Hey, anything for the photo, I guess. The falls really were spectacular. Halfway through the middle and upper falls was a lookout to the mountains where we stopped for lunch, which was also a really great view. More mountains, more my thing.

It took us three hours roundtrip with quite a few stops for photos and lunch.

SEATTLE

Mt. Rainier from the planeLeaving Calgary
Home in BallardSlate Coffee Bar, Seattle
Revel, Seattle

Salad and pancake at Revel, SeattleRice bowl at Revel, Seattle
Dumplings at Revel, Seattle
Seattle Skyline from King Street Station Fremont, Seattle
Small plates from Sitka & Spruce, Seattle Sitka & Spruce, Seattle
Flowers at University Village, Seattle
Ah, Seattle. This is my second time visiting the city - the first being last April, when I was still living in Victoria. The trip was as brief this time as it was last time (which is seemingly how my mother and I travel together), but I felt a bit more like I had my bearings this time around. A few comments on Seattle and the US in general, both good and bad: First being that Seattle drivers are nutso, and I don't know how anyone gets their license. Who am I to talk, really, when I don't have my Canadian license to begin with, but boy do you ever need to be aggressive to get anywhere. I'm talking come around a corner of the freeway and be expected to cross four lanes in order to get to your next exit, or else find yourself in a whole different town. Yeah, we did that twice and got a good view of Greater Seattle. Also, traffic??? I swear folks spend half their lives sitting in traffic. The good? I think that I would live in Fremont if I were to live in Seattle. It seems like my kind of place. What did we do in Seattle? Went to a lot of coffee shops, did a bit of shopping, went for a hike (more on that later) and ate some really great food. More on that NOW. The first evening, we went to Sitka & Spruce, which I very much enjoyed. The food was fresh and the ingredients were a little unusual. The flavors were beautiful. I enjoyed it more than my mother, who I think thought it was a little froufrou. The following evening we went to Revel, which was on a bit of a whim. I'd read amazing reviews of the place, but thought, "ehhhh, Korean comfort food? Maybe not." Maybe I was wrong, because I do believe it was my favorite meal of the entire trip. Very. Good. Stuff. The first night, I also met up with Rosie, who I've basically been long-time Internet stalking. We met up for drinks, walked around Capitol Hill and wound up at a Macklemore and Ryan Lewis video shoot on the rooftop of Dick's Drive-In.

Excuse the lack of non-Instagram-repeated photos. I decided not to bring my camera on the trip, which turned out to be a good decision. However, no camera = major IG spam of most of the above. 
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