Monday, March 24, 2014

Another Portland Getaway

Hello Folks!  This weekend was just delightful.  It was the end of the hardest quarter I have ever faced in my life, and Brandon and I went to Oregon to celebrate.  We did tons of fun stuff.  We stayed at the Courtyard Marriot and used the public railway transportation to get to downtown and do what we wanted to do.

Ok so first things first, as always, we stopped by the food carts to get lunch.  Korean Twist is my absolute favorite cart in the universe.  I always get three bulgogi tacos.  As a matter of fact, my friend Lisa sent me a recipe for Korean tacos just a couple hours after I had downed my favorite ones from this cart.  She is so awesome.... :-) Not only is the food fabulous but the people that work there are always super duper nice.

By the way, most of the food carts are on Alder and 9th, if you ever get the chance to go to Portland. 

Here are what the Korean tacos look like!  You can get them with a side of Kimchi and rice if you like that, or just a la carte.  I could eat these forever.  They are so delightful.

We also went to the Portland Saturday Market.  I highly recommend it.  And if you do go there, do it early in the morning otherwise it is crowded to the point where you have to push past people to get around.

In our opinion, this is better than Pike's Place Market in Seattle.  Except they don't have fresh fish so that is kinda lame.  But as far as flea markets go, yes this is better.  Oh, PS... this is the NON-crowded version of the Saturday market.  Seriously we caught a glimpse of it later and it was beyond belief crazy crowded.

I scored a really cute dress for only ten dollars!  They had a bunch of nice things that I wanted but I controlled myself and only got that one thing.

There were a bunch of booths with lots of cool art, clothes, and jewelry.  I was particularly impressed with their wooden earrings and turquoise jewelry.  They also had a bunch of food stands too!

The market is right by the waterfront, so that was a bonus.  By the way, the weather was so perfect and sunny the whole time we were there.  Early in the morning it was a bit chilly, but I just bought a hot drink to warm my hands.

Afterwards we went to Chinatown and went to the Chinese gardens.  This adorable little lady who worked there took a bunch of pictures of us together on our camera.  It was really sweet of her.  

 This is hands-down the best stop in Chinatown.  If you are a student you can get a student discount to enter.  Everywhere else is....well....sorta creepy and run-down.  There was a gift shop that didn't look so bad that I wanted to check out but it was closed.

One thing I love about Portland is how many blossoms there were on the trees - all different types o them.  Here in the Chinese garden there were lots of pretty plants.

My handsome Brandon!  He looks so good in this garden. :-)

So.... they have this tea house in the garden and we totally meant to go there, but got distracted by something and forgot completely.  Oh well.  There is always next time.

The entrance of the Chinese Gardens.... You can see Chinatown in the background.  One thing I do like is the red street lamps that look kinda festive around Chinatown.  But other than that I wish there were more cool restaurants and bubble tea places and cool gift shops to look at, but alas, that is missing.

We went to this place called Freshii to get some salad and the nicest green smoothie that tasted so healthy!  I liked this sign they had in the restaurant.  It is a good reminder to slow down in life and enjoy things, especially moments of relaxation. 

So....I recommend this place for a healthy pit stop....Freshii.

Right next to Freshii is this greenleaf juicing company.  We took our healthy moment a step further and got some wheatgrass shots there.  I wish I had room for a fresh vegetable juice as well.  It smelled so fresh and good in there.

We took a nice long walk that day along the waterfront.  It was so scenic and perfect.

This was a more nice side of town with less pollution and a nice view of boats.  We got plenty of vitamin D from the sun on our walk.

Brandon even found some new friends....a pair of geese!  Too bad they didn't feel the same way as him and totally hissed at him when he came near them.  It was pretty hilarious. 

Our final destination was this office park with a bunch of blossoms.  It was so beautiful to see.  I love spring time so much!  We went into one of the office buildings, but it was closed, and it was all creepy and dark, but I really had to go to the bathroom (TMI) haha, so we tried to find it.  It was quite an adventure.  Their parking garage was all quiet and creepy like a horror movie or a zombie movie, if you could picture that.  Ultimately, we ran into a security guard, who kindly let me know where the bathroom was and had no questions of why we were wandering around their office building on a CLOSED Saturday.  LOL he was so nice.

We went to Whole Foods and Brandon built this delicious salad.  I had a few bites but was hoping to have some Korean tacos again instead.  Sadly, when we headed over there it was the only cart closed for the day.  Awwww.... I will just have to wait until our next trip to have them again.

Buuut.... one cart that was open was this nice bubble tea cart.  Yep, those lovely bubble teas with all that delicious fruit piled on top are mine and Brandon's.  I highly recommend that you order it without the extra syrup, though.  It is borderline too sweet with it, and Brandon got a little ill because his stomach is not used to that kind of sugar.  Me on the other hand.... heh heh... I LOVED IT.  But actually I would have preferred to have no syrup at all.

Did I mention we wore our matching Nikes the entire time?  We went to the Nike store and the workers totally noticed!

On our last day we went to The Grotto, which is an outdoor Catholic sanctuary/outdoor art gallery.  It was pretty cool, and definitely nice to get some fresh air as we walked around.

I took lots of pictures but will only post a few of my favorites.  I thought this sculpture was cool.  Sad, but very cool.

There was an outdoor cave with this cool setup.....complete with fresh flowers and candles.

There were also a few stands of these burning candles.  I thought this was very interesting.  I don't know much about the Catholic church or what it symbolizes, but I thought it looked pretty. :-)

Their church building (right below the outdoor sanctuary) had a bunch of fine carved art on it.  I was impressed!

The same thing goes for their visitors center.  Notice the cool statues above the pillars.  A lot of thought went into the design of their buildings. 

Inside the church it was just as intricate.  There were sculptures and paintings along the walls.

And the front was definitely the focal point.  You would think I would not be surprised, but this was my first time in a Catholic church and it did take me by surprise a bit.  Mormon churches are like the opposite, with just a microphone up front with some chairs behind it for the choir.  Very different.

Their visitor center had this lifelike sculpture, which was pretty impressive.

Best of all was walking around the outdoor gallery.  I thought this style of art was the coolest, in my opinion.  

We felt a little silly because we didn't know who any of the sculptures were supposed to be, except for the Jesus ones, of course.  We liked this statue a lot.  It is St. Francis.  I have no idea who that is.  Many of the people wandering around the garden did, though, and exclaimed, "Oh! It's St. Francis," right when they saw this.  Brandon and I just gave each other a knowing look and snickered to ourselves because we clearly did not know the first thing about St. Francis.

I thought this little red house was my favorite part of the sanctuary.  I don't even know if it is symbolic of anything, or just a garden shed, but it just looked so pretty and cute there.  One cool thing about the grotto is that you take an elevator that is over 100 ft high just to see this outdoor sanctuary.  When you get out of the elevator you can look over a railing and get weak at the knees when you see how high you are.  I wish I took a picture of that, but my camera battery was low, so I didn't.  It is fairly inexpensive to go up the elevator.  Only $4.50 for an adult.

Hope you enjoyed my little post about our Portland trip.  It was fun.  I wish I could travel more often.  xoxox

Sincerely, Ashleigh Son

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