Our next destination was Portland, OR. I’d almost say it’s like a smaller version of Seattle, for those that have been to Seattle, but I’m afraid I’d be offending Portlanders. The city has a very cool vibe. I think of cities by the vibe they portray. New York is the big time…broadway, Times Square, parades, and so much more. Chicago is high class. Seattle is artsy and full of the independent spirit with vendors filling up Pike Place Market. Houston is, well, UGLY!
Portland is hard to label. There’s the cool waterfront that seems to be a centerpiece of the city’s life. While we were visiting, the city fair was happening. Classic carnival games and rides…a great atmosphere! Next door to it was the Saturday market, kind of like a huge farmer’s market. Tents were set up all of the place with people selling produce, meats, artwork, hand made items, jewelry, clothing, etc. A few streets up was Pioneer Squarewhere a variety of events could occur, from music concerts to drama to other things.
Up the hill (the Portland terrain is definitely hilly) is Washington Park, which contains a variety of statues and monuments, the Oregon zoo, and the International Rose Garden. The park was incredibly beautiful. The plant life so lush and thriving. The statues and monuments erected with such wonder and care.
One of the sections of the park in particular that caught my attention was the holocaust memorial. Scattered throughout this particular area were bronze statues which are to depict the condition of which the Jews were ripped out of their lives. A baby doll sat alone in the corner of a bench. A violin and a teddy bear strewn on the sidewalk. All of it along the walk to the memorial itself, a horseshoe shaped monument with various inscriptions on it. It was a very powerful visit to this memorial and it led me to reflect gravely upon the holocaust.
Portland is a wonderful place full of culture and diversity. The people overall were friendly (though I must say the beggars on the street were quite plentiful). It is definitely on my list of places to return to so I can experience more of its richness!