Thursday, January 24, 2013

Glimpses of Portland

G'day all!

It occurred to me that I didn't post on Saturday night.  I was in Portland, Oregon, escaping the Eternal Gloom that had wrapped Seattle in its ample bosom (an inversion layer trapped fog and pollutants and it was yucky!).  We took the Amtrak Cascades down there and caught the Coast Starlight back.

We are happy because we didn't miss our train.
Our bus takes us 100 yards from the station!

Livery.


Did you know that I love taking the train?  Even if it costs double or quadruple what it would if we drove?

Scenery wasn't great - very foggy!

I can just sit and watch the scenery go by and knit - if we drive, I have to pay attention

all.

the.

time.

because I am The Driver.  DH is The Navigator, except he has an unhandy habit of falling asleep after lunch and occasionally not telling me where I am supposed to go.  That is ok if I am headed for a big city and the signage is good but sometimes I'm headed off whoop-whoop (that's oo as in pool, not oo as in moon) or I don't know where I am meant to be heading then we have An Issue.  On the train though, I know where I am going and I don't have to worry about how we get there.

Also on the train we don't have to stop for loo breaks or for food and we get the bonus of being able to get up and walk around without stopping!  Plus there are other people on the train who are often amenable to chatting.

All aboard!  Superliner entrance with stepstool.

I think I prefer the Coast Starlight to the Cascades train - the Coast Starlight is a long distance train with the double decker Superliner cars plus an observation/cafe car and a dining car!  You haven't dined until you have dined on a train on a bumpy line (the line between Portland and Seattle was surprisingly smooth).  The Cascades train is lower and the seats are closer together and don't have the nifty leg and foot rests (ie not for sleeping on) and I had to starve because the only thing the cafe had that I could have was apple juice and I'm good and don't drink my calories these days, except for when I do.

Portland's Union Station. Note the tiled roof.


So we got down to Portland and I spazzed out somewhat because I was really really really hungry (for some reason I didn't have more than one old, squashed energy bar with me - normally I carry food with me) and being gluten and dairy free, I can't just grab any old thing to eat.  Ok I was in Portland, which is about as hippy dippy as you'll find anywhere, but that night we really honest to god did find a place that was only friendly to gluten eating meat and fish eaters - any vegetarians or vegans would've starved in that place.  They couldn't even serve DH some bread - they "burned it again." 

Nice building

Small park by nice building

But it was cool (literally) and sunny, and I found a yarn shop by accident (honest!  I said that it would be nice if we found the yarn shop and then I looked across the intersection we were standing at and there it was!  Knit Purl.)  I may have bought expensive yarn.  I may want more of it.

Odd choices for me, non?

Just down the road is Powell's books.  We wandered around for a while and then DH found the books of his dreams (Alexander's "Pattern Language" and associated books).  We stood there, looking at the approximately 10 kilos (or so it felt) of books Nathan had gathered along with my small contributions (small books!  Really!) wondering how on earth we would lug these around Portland for another whole day and joy of joys, wonders of wonders, Powell's has a delivery service!  $12.48 later, our books were being sent to us!  And they arrived on Wednesday, which I thought was fantastic - it was a federal holiday on Monday.

I got a man hug
DH nearly knocked the poor
guy over with a bear hug
I should take pics of the books but I need to save pics of those for a bad day when I don't get outside at all or have an FO to show off.

Speaking of which,  ta-dum!

Now with added fish face.

Elfe.  Umm I need to put that on Ravelry.  I don't think I've even listed it as a project yet.  Whoops.  Thanks to C for taking pics outside Bad Woman Yarn, one of my LYSs.  This was my first contiguous knit - go search Ravelry for contiguous knitting.  It is a top down seamless technique that gives the effect of set in sleeves, only they aren't.  It looks pretty cool, eh?

Anyway, back to Portland.  It was sunny though not really clear and quite cold - under 4C.  At night the fog rolled back in and there was HOAR FROST!  I get overly excited by frost on things - those in my circles on G+ may have noticed this.  We don't get frost a lot where I come from.  Admittedly I don't want it to be really cold because I don't do so well in real cold - even fridge temps do horrible things to my skin - I'm red a lot at the moment and it feels like I'm sunburned.

Someone's pawprint.  Cold hand!
 
Ice on a pond

Frost on grass


Whoops, back to Portland.  The much vaunted light rail and street cars are great to get around on, once you work out how to use the ticket machines.  The ones on the streetcar route had just been re-designed and we still couldn't work it out.  Why not just have a button for each of the two or three ticket types, then one for full or concession fare, then take the money and spit out a ticket?  It also helps if you know where you are going and read the map the right way (I was 90 degrees out for most of the trip).

That place name makes me snigger

There are many lovely old buildings in Portland.  There are some nice new buildings and some OMG who designed that horrible thing buildings as well.  But the old buildings are charming. I'll leave you to figure out which is which.




There's lots of bridges across the Willamette.  I won't show you pics of all of them.
The Steel Bridge
Dunno this one's name, too lazy to look it up
It is not a very large city and we did a lap of about two thirds of downtown on Sunday, just walking around, and a bit more on the streetcar.  It has lots of cool stuff and DH is a bit sad that his work isn't based there.  I am glad because I don't think we would ever get out of Powell's.  It is huge - over three floors, like a library, only you have to pay to take the books out of the place, plus it has a cafe.

Morning tea.  Click through to embiggen to read.
After wandering around and around and around for hours, we made our way back to the train for the 4.5 hour trip home (and it only took 3.75 h!  Hooray!  Home early!).  The sun set as we travelled up the Columbia River and it was divine.  (Sorry to the person who had to listen to me mildly cussing at the big camera as it refused to focus.)






The fog closed in but that didn't matter - it was dark.

At the start of the trip, I started a sock on the bus.  I took a pic before getting off the train.

Buses are bumpy in Seattle.
Train lights are not that bright it seems...

Despite not doing as much knitting as I expected, I still got to the heel of the sock for me.  Not too bad for a weekend with only a few hours of knitting time.


anon!

3 comments:

  1. I feel as though I've been to Portland too now. Thanks for the tour! I love the Powells Cafe requests for 5 books only etc. So many stunning photos. That sock yarn is so cool, and that stripey knitted top is awesome!!

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  2. Oh wow, what a great trip!! Love your contiguous jumper, I love the stripes and the fish face!! What great book delivery service and a cafe just for you and your DF GF life!! I think I would love trains too if we had any. I have only been on special short trips to nowhere. Nice sock, colours look cool!!

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  3. Stunning photos!!
    They would make amazing prints
    www.etsy.com/shop/AmandaHLCreations

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