Trip Start Jun 10, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Oregon
Monday, February 9, 2009

So after about seven hours of driving we finally made it to Portland. We were not sure what to expect but were quite pleased with what we experienced. Portland isn't the prettiest of towns on the whole, but it makes up for it with its well-defined neighbourhoods and very comfortable atmosphere. Regardless of where we went the city seemed very hip and vibrant. As mentioned it isn't that picturesque, but it is the vibe we felt here that we enjoyed. Having some 30 odd brewpubs also helps. No city on earth has as many. It is really nice as they are in no-way glitzy and add to the chilled-out atmosphere about town. We stayed in a hostel in the North-West part of town. We were situated in between a neighbourhood known for its shops, cafes, and sassy restaurants and another that was once a little seedy, but is now filled with yuppies that call all of the newly renovated warehouse lofts home. It was by far our favourite area and we spent that evening checking it out.
The next morning we headed across the river to Hawthorne Boulevard; it is a relatively self-contained hippie area as many of the locals walking around chatted with the shop owners as they seemingly have done many a day. It is 99% chain-free and very proud. It was a nice place but we preferred the North-West part of town. As we walked around the city we noticed something that our "Simpsons" expert Meg pointed out. The creator of The Simpsons was born and bred in Oregon. What Meg noticed was that many of the characters on the show are named after streets in Portland. We came across Flanders Street, Quimby Street, Lovejoy Street, and even Terwilliger. You could just hear the joy when she discovered a new one. It was pretty neat anyway. On our Simpsons discovery walk we came across Powell's City of Books. It is the largest independent bookstore in the world. It is certainly large. There are directions to various rooms hanging everywhere and it is quite easy to get lost. From there we headed back to our neighbourhood to check out one of the many brewpubs for dinner. It was a perfect way to end a day of getting to know Portland. Although we didn't find the city that beautiful or scenic, it is our unanimous choice for most livable city that we have visited in the US. It just feels good to be in, laid back and vibrant at the same time if that makes any sense. We would have loved to spend more time here but Seattle is calling!

Megan and Kevin
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