From indoor bouldering to eating amazing food and hiking through Forest Park our little stop in Portland has been well worth the detour. The weather offered perfect summer days with low humidity and clear skies.
When we got off the plane we headed straight for food and found ourselves at Papa G’s down on Division Street. I don’t know how I’ve missed this gem in the past but it’s now on my personal list of best restaurants in Portland. They source high quality ingredients that are local, organic and plant-based. The staff are warm and welcoming and the plates that came out of their kitchen were simply amazing. They also had a lemonade-style passionberry kombucha on tap which they served in an ice-frosted pint glass. With that in my hand, a smile and the lazy days of summer settled into my heart.
After lunch, we headed to the famous Voodoo Doughnuts. Doughnuts are a rare treat for us and something that we only indulge in while swinging through Portland. I informed Zak that I wouldn’t be eating any; so he happily bought himself two… one with sprinkles and one with maple… but by the time we got back to the car the one with sprinkles was gone… I may or may not have devoured it to smithereens.
From there we headed to Forest Park where we showed Ellie the roses, frolicked amongst the magnificent trees and toured the Japanese Garden.
The next day we went straight for the climbing gym in Tigard. It was refreshing to be in a gym that was dedicated to bouldering and training. I felt stronger on the wall than I deserved and I enjoyed working through and sending a few projects. Zak looked at me mid-session and said “You’re ridiculously happy right now. Arn’t you?” to which I replied “Yes. Climbing is a very important part of who I am.” …these past few weeks have been difficult from an athlete perspective and I look forward to relocating to a new destination with a better training facility come July. From there we went back to Forest Park and had deep conversation about buying land and moving to Oregon one day. Zak and I agree that the whole state appeals to us and that we can foresee living here in the future. There’s something magical about the lush green forests, the rivers, the rugged coast, the waterfalls, wine country and snow-capped mountains.
We finished up the evening by walking through the neighborhoods of Portland, playing at a park and eventually settling into our reservations at Portobello. Out in front of the restaurant there was a large wall of jasmine growing up and over the building. As we walked by I stopped to smell the magnificent white flowers. One of the locals that was sipping a beer on the nearby patio came over to explain the history of the plant. He explained to me that this plant was a bit wilted but that it was at a perfect stage for appreciating the aroma. He taught Ellie how to properly bunch the flowers together, inhale and fully experience their beauty. We headed inside and sat down to some outstanding food. Ellie has been known to appreciate a diverse range of new flavors and she finished an entire plate of cashew “cheese” and mushroom stuffed ravioli with lemon and dill spiked asparagus on the side. While we were at the restaurant we immediately connected with another traveler at the table next to us. She was lively with conversation and adored Ellie. The two of them quickly became best friends for the evening and when she realized that it was my 29th birthday she treated us to a gourmet chocolate mint cake.
It was moments like this evening that I imagined when we embarked on the traveling lifestyle. We met new people who were fascinated with the bustling life around them. They easily drop into conversation with strangers and they’re as welcoming as family. Ellie didn’t hesitate to partake in conversation with us adults. She explored the new food with excitement and enjoyed her first experience at a romantic restaurant.
Onward to Kauai!