Seattle: Week Five

My penultimate week over here was mostly spent outside of Seattle and Bainbridge. I spent a few days down in Portland during the week and then on the weekend we all drove over to Leavenworth to stay with some friends and enjoy Oktoberfest in the middle of the Cascade mountain range. So it’s a bumper crop of photos this time!

Despite having been to the US three times prior to this trip, I’d yet to travel anywhere by bus, so when I decided to head down to Portland to see an old friend for a few days, I thought it only proper to do so by bus. Sadly it wasn’t one of the cool, silver Greyhounds like you see in the movies. It was a Bolt Bus which, nice as it was, didn’t have the ‘cool’ that I was hoping for. Ah well. It was cheap. That’s something.

I’d spent a couple of weeks in Portland when I was over here last and after a few nights at the YHA downtown, we got in touch with a girl through Couchsurfing.com and ended up staying with her and her housemates for the best part of a week. We quickly become friends and after heading further up the west coast to Vancouver we decided to make our way back down to Portland for a surprise visit. Anyway, when I knew I was coming over to Seattle this time, I got in touch with Nikkie and we spent a couple of evenings hanging out in some of her favourite neighbourhoods.

During the day, I spent my time wandering the districts of downtown Portland with my camera. It’s a nice city to walk around but all of the Portlandia vibe that you see on the TV show and hear about isn’t obvious from this part of the city. Nikkie said that Portlanders live in the suburbs and she’s right. She took me to Alberta and Mississippi, two of her favourite streets to walk down and they’re such wonderful neighbourhoods. So colourful and alive with people and their sense of community.

So my tip to you if you’re planning on visiting Portland is don’t forget to visit the outlying areas. Downtown is fine, but ultimately it’s much like any other large American city (although The Pearl district is well worth an afternoon wandering around, particularly the Lovejoy Bakery!) So if you can, get out to the ‘burbs!

Leavenworth is a funny little town, reached via Steven’s Pass through the Cascade mountains. Originally a logging town, it was transformed in the 1960’s to resemble a Bavarian village. Since then it’s been pulling in tourists all year round with the highlights being Oktoberfest and it’s Christmas market, where I’ve been told it’s like being inside a giant snow globe. Sadly for the weekend we were there it rained a lot, so walking around the town in the daytime wasn’t as enjoyable as it could’ve been, with a lot of time spent looking in shops that we wouldn’t normally give a second glance. Even the pharmacy looked appealing with the heavy drizzle bouncing off our heads!

So here are my highlights from last week, along with a couple of shots from the ferry ride back to Bainbridge Island after visiting Portland. The evening rides home seem to get the most amazing skies!

street art in portland oregonstreet mural in portlandstreet photography portland oregonsalt shop in portlandsun setting in portland suburbswhispy clouds around mountainpeople sat by the river in portlandportland riverboatducks sat on a river logcityscape of portlandindustrial bridge in portland oregoncyclists on bridge in portlandlarge signpost in portlandportland squareyellow van parking lototter statues in portlandbuilding signs in portland oregonportland oregon street architecturemichael powell pavement starstreet signs in portlandportland street foodpowell's book shop in portlandfront of car sticking out of house in portlandsunlight coming through the treesmoss hanging off tree branchsunset in washington stateunion station tower