Saturday, March 27, 2010

Here's To Portland

Last Saturday Kyle and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary!
Look at these beautiful flowers that I got:

Guess what else I got?

A new camera...a really nice one so that I can learn to take "professional" pictures of our boys.
I am super excited about learning to use it! I may have to take some classes.

Guess what else I got?

I trip to Portland!!!
A three day get-a-way, just my sweet hubby and me!!!
Huge gigantical THANK YOU to Lissa and D for keeping our boys for us.

So we set out Tuesday morning and headed south on interstate 5.

Here is the best picture that I could get of the "Welcome to Oregon" sign...
I might have been a bit distracted by the IKEA in the background. I think it was calling my name..ha ha!

Here is my chauffeur...

We saw some really amazing sights on our drive.

Here is a look at Mount St. Helens from the "backside". The side that didn't blow out in 1980. It looked like an entirely different mountain to us.

And the spectacular Mt. Hood!
Mt. Hood is to Portland what Mt. Rainier is to Seattle.
Much of the time that we were in Portland, Mt. Hood seemed to just be floating up in the sky.

We decided to head down the Columbia River and see some of the waterfalls before we went into Portland.
This was our first stop at Wahkeena Falls...

And then just down the road we stopped at Multnomah Falls. It is said to be the second tallest waterfall in the United States that always has water.

And it was beautiful..

There was a trail that you could climb to the top of the falls and we just thought that we really should give it a go.
So we did!

Here we are at the bottom.

We saw the prettiest clover all along the trail to the top.

And just so you know how high we climbed take a look at this picture.

This is at the top of the falls...look down at the cars and you can kind of tell just how high we are.

And here we are at the top!
Can you tell that the smiles are a bit forced? ha ha! It was quite a climb!
11 switchbacks!!

When we made it back down to the bottom I thought I deserved a reward for that hike...

MMMMM...a chocolate ice cream cone!

Oh yes, Kyle got a reward, too!

We finished off our rewards and headed into Portland to locate our hotel.
It was amazing! Hotwire really did us right!!!
We got all cleaned up and ready to go to dinner...

We ate at the restaurant that was at our hotel and it was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!!!

I do have to tell a little story about this. You see, Kyle and I are bargain shoppers in every aspect. I already mentioned that Hotwire hooked us up with our hotel. Oh, yes, 4 stars for 1 star price. Before we left I jumped online to to see about getting some gift certificates for Portland restaurants. They let you buy $25 gift certificates for $10. I think it is a way for restaurants to get people to try them out. Anyway, fairly often does an 80% of deal and you can get those $25 certificates for $2. So I picked out a few and spent six bucks.

As soon as we pulled up to the hotel I spotted "Aquariva" and recognized it as one of the restaurants that I had bought a certificate for. Couldn't believe the odds of that happening. So, of course, we had to give it a try. And we were SO glad that we did.

Here is Kyle contemplating the menu.
So many interesting choices it was hard to decide.

Here is the appetizer we chose...

Grilled baby octopus!
And that is the last picture I took because the restaurant was super nice and I didn't want to embarrass Kyle by taking a picture of everything that came to the table. ha ha
We also had delicious salads...mine had pears, pistachios and Parmesan cheese.
Then the entrees were some of the best we have EVER had. I had duck and brussels sprouts. Almost didn't order it because I'm not a big fan of brussels sprouts but these were scrumptious. I must learn to cook them like that so that I will eat them often. And the duck was to die for. Kyle had lamb and it was melt in your mouth yummy. We were beyond happy with our dining experience that night. And we would like to recommend Aquariva to anyone who is heading to Portland!

Wednesday morning we caught a ride with the hotel's courtesy car into downtown Portland.
Our first stop was at Powell's Books...

This was not your typical bookstore!

There are over a million books at this place.

We were completely overwhelmed!
Not knowing where to start or what to look for we finally decided we would just go to the children's section and pick out a book for the boys.

And I spotted this:

Nancy Drew!
Can't even tell you how many Nancy Drew books I read as a kid...

And they had them ALL!!!

Seriously this place was unreal.
Here is another part of the children's section..

It was just like a library.
We finally picked books for the boys and checked out the "Rare Books Room" before we headed out. Saw some pretty amazing things in that room. First edition Charles Dickens and all kinds of things. Books worth thousands of dollars. Crazy!

We did some walking around and found ourselves at P.F. Chang's for lunch...

It was good, but we decided that we like Fortune Cookie in DuPont even better.

On our walking tour of the city we came upon this cool toy store called Finnegan's...

Yes, we did do some more shopping for the boys. Puzzle, ball, construction hat, and the best gift of all...a Peter Pan hat for Kade! Super cool toy store.

Then more walking and riding the max, which is Portland's public transit. We are big fans of Portland's public transit for two reasons.
Reason number 1: it's free all over downtown
Reason number 2: it's easy

They had cool water fountains set up all around town...

The center of downtown was a big open square in front of the courthouse...

Pioneer Square

Two fun attractions at Pioneer Square.

the umbrella man


"honkin huge burritos"
that just made us laugh!

And we did some shopping!

I had to have a picture of this because it was so the opposite of what you usually see at the mall. This is me reading a magazine while waiting for Kyle outside the dressing room. Ha ha!!

We picked up some fresh cookies...

got some coffee to go with them...

and found this nice park where we took a break to enjoy our cookies and coffee!

Then we wanted to have one more adventure before dinner time. It was a beautiful day and we wanted to ride the air tram. It is actually used to connect a hospital but you can just ride it for fun and that is what we had planned.

So, we took the max and then the trolley as far as we could go and had to walk a couple of blocks to get to the tram.

We passed this sign along the way and I had to get a picture...

Just made me laugh that they really make signs with a bicyclist being thrown from his bike.
In all seriousness, it made sense because there were almost as many people riding bikes as there were people driving cars. I mean in dresses and high heels, heading home from work, they were on their bicycles. It was fun to see.

And we made it to the air tram...

Here is the view on the ride up.

And you get a great look at Mt. Hood.

Here we are at the top of the ride.

And Kyle testing out our new camera!

Another view of the city from the top of the hill.

We rode back down and walked along the river back to our hotel.

We saw a couple of rowboats seemingly just having "workout class" on the river.

Back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner and back to downtown and an excellent meal at the Brazil Grill. It is a brazilian churrascaria much like our favorite Texas de Brazil. It was excellent! Meat, meat, and more meat...

And here is Kyle giving me his best "it is so delicious" look...

It really was delicious and my favorite part was the grilled pineapple. Our waiter even told us how to make it at home glazed with honey, brown sugar and cinnamon.
The Brazil Grill was a great ending to a very fun day!

Day three was a rainy day but we didn't let that stop us!
There was still more to see and do.

Like Nike Town..

Very neat place with lots of cool stuff...but not quite as spectacular as we had imagined it would be.

Then we made a trip over to Chinatown...

On our way to lunch we saw this...

A long line oustide the "VooDoo Doughnut" place.
We had heard of the famous Voo Doo doughnuts and thought we should try them but didn't want to stand in this line before lunch.

And here is where we went for lunch...

Huber's Cafe

We went here on recommendation of a man that we rode the air tram with. He told us that it is a local favorite and that he found out his neighbor actually owned the place. And he described his neighbor to us...I thought that was weird at the time...but this guy was definitely a details guy.

Believe it or not, we walk up to Huber's and see a gentleman coming out as we are trying to find our way in (there were three different doors to choose from). He asked us if we were looking for Huber's and as I looked at this gentleman I realized he completely fit the description of the "owner neighbor". So I asked if he was the owner and he smiled and said yes. I gave him the quick explanation of how I would have known that. I figured out it was our first time in Portland and ushered us back in himself and had them seat us the the "old dining room".

It was a really cool experience. So much original stuff from when the restuarant moved there in 1910. Just look at these skylights...

Our drinks came in little glass bottles..

We picked one of our favorite appetizers...

smoked salmon. DELICIOUS!

And the specialty at Huber's.....turkey!

Kyle had a traditional turkey dinner.

And I had a Monte Cristo with turkey and ham.
The food was superb.

But, the most exciting part of our lunch was meeting this lady...

Our waitress, Yoko!
She is 77 years old and has been at Huber's for well over 30 years.
But that is not what was so exciting about her.
She is a survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima.
She was a 12 year old little girl and in school the day Hiroshima was bombed.
Most of the rest of her family lived in Nagasaki. This lady had an amazing story.
She ended up marrying and American marine. Her friends kept asking her if she was crazy and she said her response was always "I'm no dum dum. At least I can get my revenge on at least one of them. And this is one war I'm going to win." She said that laughing the entire time. She also told us that her husband said he has no worries about ever losing her because at midnight he can see her just fine because she glows." She had such an amazing sense of humor. I wish I could remember all the funny things she said. But then she was also very solemn when she talked about her personal experience as a 12 year old girl and the terrible things she saw.
It was such an honor to meet this lady. Yoko Peters is her name. She said when we come back to ask for Yoko. Not "Yoko Ono" but Yoko Oh Yes!
Such a cool experience we had at Huber's. We had no idea what we were in store for when we decided to take the recommendation of a stranger that we met on the air tram.
We didn't have a lot of time left after lunch so we thought we would head back down for VooDoo Doughnuts. On our way there we took a little stop in the Porltand Outdoor Store.

We quickly realized that if you don't own horses you don't really have much reason to visit this place.

Unless you want to try on some really cool hats!

So back to this place...

And the line was still crazy long.
So we thought "it must be worth it".
So we got in line and waited.
Across the street we saw this sign...

We had seen this slogan several places since we had been in Portland and we think it probably sums up Portland pretty well. But we would say "it's a good weird" for the most part.

Remember I said that day three was a rainy day...So we join the weird and stand in that long doughnut line in the rain!

And somebody told us this guy with the crazy hat on is the guy who does the weddings on t.v.
Something about food channel or something and people wanting to get married at voodoo doughnuts???? Maybe it makes sense to some of you guys in the know but I didn't have clue. I still had Kyle take a picture of him anyway!

And apparently they've had problems with people stealing their signs in the past...

This thing is hung up with Master Locks.

After about an hour in line we made it inside.
Check out the crazy chandelier.

And the crazy donuts!
They had some of everything you could imagine. We ordered up a VooDoo dozen to take back to Lissa and D for taking care of our boys for three days. They probably deserved more like three dozen!
Oh yes, Kyle and I picked out a couple of doughnuts for ourselves as well and then we had to hit the road and head back to Washington.

Look who was waiting for us there:

Of course, they were really waiting for their prizes!
Here is Kade with his puzzle and Ryne having a fit to get something of his own.

construction hat!

And Peter Pan!!!

Ryne wanted to read his book right away!
The books and toys were a hit and I think D and Lissa were even excited about their VooDoo Doughnuts.

It was a super great trip. A much needed break for me and precious time with my Kyle. I am so grateful that we blessed enough to have people we love to keep our children and that God provides for us so generously that we can make a trip like that. I am truly blessed!

Oh, not only were Kade and Ryne waiting for us to get home...our friend Russell who is moving out here to start another church was here, too. And he brought some friends with him...Mollie, Sara and Leo are here too!