Portland and Seattle
The spouse and I usually have one big holiday a year and this time we went to the Northwest United States, a combo of planes and trains getting us around.
Neither of us had ever been to Portland so it was a wonderful surprise, a very open and pretty town that boasts a ton of bicyclists and a really healthy lifestyle. The local Portlanders were physically fit. In fact, if someone was overweight, they appeared to be a tourist or wearing a convention tag that hinted they weren’t locals. I’m sure that not everyone in this city is that healthy, but it was hard to find someone who wasn’t.
We spent time wandering around, enjoying the view along the river and the “vertical lift” bridge which would rise to allow boat traffic to pass. The locals were very friendly and the traffic entirely manageable. No trip to Portland is allowed without a visit to the shrine of books: Powell’s. We went to the one downtown and it was like crack cocaine for this author. I stocked up on reference books and spent considerable time wandering through the maze of books. (Sort of like IKEA, with books instead). We spent the evening with dear friends.
Curious thing about Portland, even if they’re leaving trash on the streets, it’s tidy.
The next day we hauled ourselves to the Portland train station at 7:30 in the morning for our journey to Seattle. (yawn) Portland’s train station was very nice. In fact, that was a common theme as we’ve been traveling — big cities and small towns all have either updated their old stations or built new ones. Unlike Atlanta (a rant will be coming about that down the line, I promise you).
We used some Amtrak points so we sat in Business Class, which had comfy seats and wi-fi. The journey north was scenic, running along the ocean and then through the mountains. I’m so glad we chose to travel that way.
Seattle was next on the stop. I’ve been here before, once when I was a wee tadpole for the 1962 (eek!) World’s Fair and then once for a Left Coast Crime conference a few years back. The spouse had never visited the city so we took a hotel right near Pike’s Market and joined in the exuberance that is Seattle. The food was good, we passed by the original Starbuck’s coffee shop, which was mobbed, and visited the EMP Museum, a shrine to pop culture.
Nothing is more fun that wandering around exhibits about Fantasy and Science Fiction, which include daleks, Buttercup’s dress from The Princess Bride and even mentioned Pat Rothfuss, a most excellent fantasy author. I also took my hubby around the Space Needle (but not to the top) and then met friends for supper. Which then included some drinks and chatting about the publishing industry.
I liked Seattle’s vibe. I really loved Portland’s, so I suspect another trip west will occur sometime in our future. Besides, we didn’t have the opportunity to connect with some friends in Seattle on this trip. Next time we will.
Next up, our FORTY-EIGHT HOUR train trip from Seattle to Chicago on the Empire Builder. Or… life… on a train, American Style.
Jana is an international & multi-award winning author in several genres including young adult, paranormal romance and urban fantasy.