On our first full day in Portland, we woke up early as hell because Vale always gets us up early, and had breakfast at the hotel, including bacon, eggs, and some nice cheeses. However, somehow we ended up lingering for much longer than we expected and did not get as early of a start on our day as we thought we would (too many repeat trips back to the unlimited coffee station?).
Around 9 in the morning, we took an Uber to Washington Park, which is a large, beautiful park containing many smaller parks and different distinct areas within. We figured out how to strap in Vale’s car seat without the dock and mastered getting the car seat in and out of Ubers quickly during this trip. We brought her stroller along so she could nap throughout the day without causing interruption to our activities.
We got dropped off at the Visitors Center at Hoyt Arboretum. At the recommendation of a kind local, who observed us indecisively studying the trail map at the visitor center, we found and meandered along many stroller-friendly paths featuring unparalleled views and a magnificent display of autumn colors. Vale had fun walking around and picking up sticks and leaves, and eventually fell asleep by the time we wandered into the international Rose test Garden. She slept through rows and rows of beautiful rose bushes reminiscent of the Queen of Hearts’ collection from Alice in Wonderland.
When she woke up, we took her to a gigantic playground we had passed on our way to the rose garden, which we thought she’d be ecstatic about. We were mistaken. For one reason or another, Vale either did not particularly like Portland, the cold, or was just having a bad weekend. She was uncharacteristically timid at the playground, showed very little interest in slides, which she usually loves, and in a coup de grace, fell on her face and had a screaming fit.
From here, we took an Uber to Lan Su Chinese Garden just a couple miles away. This is a pretty, quaint, and charming little tea garden in the middle of the city. On this Saturday, they happened to be hosting a tea and poetry event. Numerous tea vendors were handing out free samples of various types and flavors of tea, which warmed the chill out of our weak, southern Californian souls. We stayed long enough to enjoy a couple of erhu performances and a tea tasting demonstration. We passed on the poetry reading. The teas were a delight, but the hipster invasion is painfully apparent when the tea demonstration involved discussion of fair trade, organic, products, and only one of the tea vendors was actually a Chinese person. Also, this was the first time in my life I purchased a fried sesame ball filled with red bean paste from a white person.
We walked on to Ascendant Beer Company next, where we had a couple of happy hour beers, then ambled over to Rogue Brewing. Vale had her second nap around this time, which allowed us to relax with a couple of beers on the patio outside. While Rogue is known for its Dead Guy brown ale, a distinctively hazelnut flavored beer, many of their other beers are much better. Jenn had an excellent IPA, while Kyle had a flight of tasters, including a yummy Stout, a pumpkin beer, and a notable Winter Ale with those lovely Belgian and fall spices. We also enjoyed a delicious, hot chicken pozole soup, which Jenn ordered against her better judgement, probably because of the cold weather – she generally prohibits ordering Mexican food outside of Mexico or Southern California.
Next up was Basecamp Brewing, which seemed fitting since Kyle wants to hike Mount Everest Base Camp. Here, again we sat out on a covered patio by a fire. Vale was up by this time, and was a little bit fussy, but was briefly mollified by a nearby puppy. We ate food truck food for dinner again, this time a lovely, mouth-burning, Nepalese noodle. Uncharacteristically, Vale stubbornly insisted on having a bite of this extremely spicy noodle. To our surprise, after giving her a bite, she wanted several more.
After finishing our beers at Basecamp, we walked over to Voodoo Donuts. I’m not one for standing in lines, but the donuts were cheap, and the line moved quickly. True to its name, the place was marked by loud colors and emanated an eerie glow through its voodoo doll stain glass windows. They had all kinds of beautiful Donuts, including a pink one with sprinkles, apparently inspired by Homer Simpson, but we decided to go with the classics. Jenn ordered a raised glazed sugar donut, Kyle had a chocolate donut, and we shared a maple bar. Vale was less impressed, and appeared rather suspicious of the place, but deigned a small taste of the maple bar on our walk back to the hotel.