I chose to spend a weekend with S and my parents in Portland for the best of all reasons, Southwest had a sale 😀 !!
We flew in late Friday night, and some of my friends came to pick us up at the airport and drove us to the hotel.
We stayed at a not-so-fancy Holiday Inn near the airport. A good clean hotel, with nice beds, complimentary breakfast and friendly staff.
Saturday morning began with a drive through the green city of Portland, as we headed towards Multnomah Falls. The snow-capped Mt. Hood sits in majestically the distance, overlooking the city and giving it a dreamy surreal feeling. The drive itself is quiet lovely, with the gently flowing Columbia river on one side, and scenic Columbia gorge mountains on the other.
The Multnomah Falls are actually visible right from the freeway, you cannot miss it 🙂
After parking in the decent-sized lot at the base of the falls, we walked up to the first viewing platform. Looking up, you’ll see great white sheets of water from the upper falls relentlessly pounding down the rocks, it’s a sight to behold! The lower falls form the perfect bridal veil, beautifully cascading down a wide section of rocks. We hiked up a bit to the second platform, situated at the top of the lower falls. From here, you have a spectacular view both looking up and down the bridge.
There are a couple of loops of various lengths to hike up the mountain, they all follow the same trail. We picked the mile long hike which took us closer to the top of the upper falls. Climbing up gave us some pretty views of the river and mountains on the other side of the freeway, and of the falls, but if you’re pressed for time, you’d probably be better off skipping it.
After Multnomah Falls, we drove around Columbia Gorge and Cascade Locks to take in the sights, and then headed back to Portland for a late lunch.
Bollywood Theater is a quirky little café specializing in Indian street food in Portland. The décor is uniquely Indian, not your usual mirrored and jeweled tapestries and elephants, but posters and pictures of old Bollywood movies, signboards from a different era, all in all created a fun and interesting environment, definitely something you’ve not seen before. The food’s quite good too! We had the vada pavs, kathi rolls, chicken curry, and egg masala. Each dish was well prepared, with a good portion size and yummy.
Next stop was Cannon beach, which is a good two hours’ drive away from Portland, and totally worth it. It lies on the Oregon coast, and has some spectacular land formations, like the Haystack Rock.
The beach itself is very pretty, and the nearby Ecola State park has a cliff which overlooks the Cannon beach and the ocean. We went to the beach and settled down on some chairs. Sunset was going to be at about 9.15 PM, and S wanted to take pictures of the Haystack Rock in the evening light. Since it was only about 7PM then, we stepped off the beach and got some food and drinks. It was quite a treat to be sitting there in the chilly weather, sipping hot tea, and watching the ocean sparkle and glow in that beautiful orange which only dusk can ever bring 🙂
After sunset, it was time to pack up and start driving back to the hotel.
We started Sunday with one of the best tours I’ve ever been on. Williamette jetboat excursions are definitely a must-do if you’re in Portland! It’s the perfect balance of fun and learning. An interesting and humorous captain will guide your jetboat down the Williamette River, telling you a bit about Portland’s history, how the town came to be, and the bridges and so on. When he decides that things are getting a bit dull, he will take you on a spinaroooooo! I won’t tell all the details here, I want you to be surprised when you try it, but I will describe it is one word, it’s AWESOME! This is a perfect family activity, not too dull for kids, not scary for adults, just the right amount of adventure, and learning as you go along. You start with downtown and the bridges of Portland, then see some pricey and prime riverside real estate. We took the two hour tour which took us all the way to the Alembic falls.There’s a water elevator at one point, which was the first of its kind that I saw. If you’re a nerd like me, you’ll totally dig it!
Post jetboat, we went to a friend’s place for lunch in Hillsboro, and had a super home cooked meal. After relaxing there for a bit, we headed back to Portland to visit the famous Pioneer Square.
This lively place boasts of a small amphitheater which has a cool acoustic point. Again, won’t tell too much, it’s better when you experience it firsthand.
There’s a lot of activities around here in summer, concerts, markets, etc. all of which contribute to the vibrant atmosphere around here. We walked a couple of blocks to the waterfront, spent some time there, and soon enough it was time to head back to the airport.
So long Portland! I will definitely be back, Mt Hood is still on my list. I had wayyyy more fun than I expected on this short trip, all thanks to my wonderful friends and family!!