17 September 2008

Putting the camera away

This day has been so pleasant. We ate lunch as a group in the front room of the Wildflower Grill in Lincoln City, visited a lovely gallery next door and then headed east across the Coast Range, through Salem and up I-5. Arriving in Portland between 2:30 and 3:00, we had and hour+ to settle in, setting out at 4:00 on a guided walking tour of Portland's downtown parks and public squares with the former program manager for Portland Parks & Recreation.

Parks were built into the city's development and new parks continue to be built, complete with all the usual problems associated with open urban spaces. Problems aside, they do help city-dwellers connect with nature in the heart of town and have been deemed worth it by Portland's leaders and, if today's numbers are reliable, the parks are in use.

The tour ended at the top of the Pearl District, near a brew pub that had been recommended to us by Tal's son. The group headed back to mid-town and we, map in hand, made our way to the Bridgeport. We indulged in a sip of their brew and ate sherry tomato dill soup with delicious artisan bread. It's a nifty place where the most sought after seats are on the loading dock!

Between the Bridgeport and the Vintage Plaza is Powell's Books, one of the country's largest bookstores and which specializes in used books. Tal bought a couple raggedy westerns for the flight home. I didn't dare visit the third floor photography section. We didn't linger though, as we were only generally sure of our way back to the hotel. Walking along looking lost after dark in an unfamiliar town just isn't worth it.

So, the camera's packed. Although our flight's not until noon tomorrow, we're focused on being ready for breakfast downstairs with the group, and 2500 miles east.

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