I woke up early Monday morning, excited that soon I would be downtown in the exciting city of Portland! I hitched a ride to the Salem Amtrak station, where I caught a bus into the city. By 11am I’d checked into my hostel, stored my big pack, and was ready to go. I decided the best place to start would be to find a good vantage point of the city. So, I hopped on my bike and headed up the hill to Washington Park.
The park itself was wonderful, and I ended up finding more than I planned. The park is actually home to the International Rose Test Garden, which basically means the park is home to virtually every species of rose imaginable! The gardens were wonderful to walk through, and there was even a grassy outdoor amphitheatre in the park (I really wish there had been something going on so I could watch!). As I continued my ride, I wound higher and higher up the hill, getting a good workout in the process. Unfortunately, there wasn’t too much of a view, but I knew I had other opportunities to get a great view. I sped down the hill and arrived at the hostel just in time for my room to be ready.
Another important mention of the day was my visit to Powell’s Books, an incredibly huge used-and-new book store in Portland. The store has so many books! You could literally spend a lifetime there. I especially enjoyed going upstairs to the high value books section, where I learned the most expensive book in their possession is over $300,000! I was also very impressed at the fact that our front the store, a vehicle parking spot had been converted in to a bicycle parking spot that held 10 bikes easily!
That night, I decided to join a group from the hostel on a local brewery tour. Over the evening we visited three microbreweries and got to try different kinds of beer at each. I learned a few things – first, Portland has a LOT of microbreweries! They have 55 currently, which is more than any other city in the US. Second, Oregon has no SALES TAX – you pay exactly the price listed; so convenient! And third, the first two points combine to create the result of CHEAP BEER! The competitiveness of so many microbreweries means that especially on weeknights, deals are easy to come by. The cheapest pint I got was $3.50, and the most expensive just $5.25.
It was a great day, all-in-all. I had a great 10km ride, and I got to meet some very interesting people!