Nancy Barber (nlbarber) wrote,
Nancy Barber

Portland sightseeing, day 2

Todd and I set off around 8:30 and walked to the Max rail line. Bought day passes ($4 each) which turned out to be a good deal, plus they saved us 50 cents off the Zoo admission--the Zoo wisely charges for parking if you drove, and discounts your admission if you took public transit.

We spent three hours at the zoo, which was really nicely done. The exhibits were nicely laid out and landscaped, so there was much more of a feel of exploring a road or trail than moving from one slightly disguised pen to another. Animals and/or exhibits that impressed: Stellar sea lions, penguins, Asian elephants, warty pigs, lorikeets, gerenuk, and the very active bat colony.

After the zoo, we caught a bus down to the rose test garden in another part of Washington Park. We wanted to take the train (they have a scale-model train that runs a 4 mile loop) but it doesn't start until Memorial Day. We wandered through the rose plantings looking for the few early blooming specimens, and enjoying the vistas of Portland and Mt. Hood that the elevation of the park allows. We missed the bus back to the zoo (you can walk--it's 2 miles, uphill, so we said no), grabbed a hot dog lunch from a cart, and went the the Japanese garden that's right at the rose test gardens. Emerged from there tired enough to enjoy sitting for 30 minutes waiting on the next bus, which took us back to the zoo where we could catch the Max back downtown.

I do need to rave about the Max Zoo station. It's the deepest train station in the U.S., and the station highlights the geology of the area. There's a long section of core displayed on the platforms with the formations labeled and various geologic events and fossils carved as art, with descriptions, in the granite slabs lining the walls. The elevator indicator arrow goes from 10 million years ago (train platform level) to present (surface), and the elevator panel inside the car has a cross section of the shaft with the formations shown. Oh, and the elevator indicator inside the car shows the descent in feet, where a normal elevator would show floors. It's a train station to warm the cockles of a geologist's heart.

So, we took the train back downtown, walked to the hotel, and met up with John. We got on the streetcar to ride around, thinking perhaps to stop and do some shopping, but Todd needed to get back to call his mother for Mother's Day--he still doesn't have a cell phone, so needed the hotel phone. We did find the neat Keller fountain as we walked back from the streetcar--almost a block of pools and falls, most of them full of people enjoying the water, the sun, and the warm temperature.

We went to Veritable Quandry for dinner, and decided up front to share a chocolate souffle for dessert when the party at the table next to us had one while we were deciding on dinner. The meal was good (I had grilled chicken served on kale and black-eyed peas), and the chocolate souffle was marvelous. Then we walked down to the waterfront getting John oriented a little, explored a marina, watched a dragon boat crew setting out to practice, and then circled back to the hotel. And so to bed--I will have a minipifflefest breakfast meeting, then will see if I can get to Powell's and to Moonstruck Chocolates along with whatever other sightseeing and shopping Todd, John, and Bruce (the local person) want to do.
Tags: portland 2006, travel

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