The Beard and I spent several days last week in Portland. We flew out there to see Mumford and Sons, but we stayed a couple of extra days to take in the sights and enjoy a rare get-away together.

Descending into Portland

We’d heard good things about Portland, but it wasn’t high on our destinations list. We’re both oriented toward warmer climates, and Portland certainly is not warm this time of year.  Despite the cold (actually, it feels colder here with the wind) and the mostly gray skies, Portland is a heckuva fun city.

The entire trip came about as a rash decision. I had heard Mumford and Sons on Austin City Limits and liked them immediately, which was strange. It usually takes me several listens to get on board (or not) with a band, but I bought their album as soon as I heard them on ACL. The more I listened to it, the more I wanted to see them live. So, one Saturday afternoon I looked up their tour dates and saw they had two shows remaining in the US in 2011, Portland and Seattle.

On a whim, we decided to check out M&S and Portland! Let me just tell you, this kind of impromptu-adventure-rash-decision-making behavior really thrills me. Life is such a delicate combination of metered and measured, chaotic and busy; it’s my belief that an opportunity to escape the routine should always be taken.

Boo and also Yah!

Mumford and Sons were excellent, and I was on cloud nine the remainder of the night after seeing them! It was the perfect way to kick off our trip. After the concert, we traversed the Steel Bridge to explore the downtown area and indulge in falafels and an ale or two.

Crossing the Steel Bridge after Mumford and Sons

There’s so much to see and do in Portland. We didn’t come close to accomplishing it all, but I’m not of the philosophy that one should kill one’s self sightseeing. We took the “let’s wander around and see what we see approach”. We walked all over and ate and drank our way across the land of ports!

Because we did so much eating and drinking (excellent food, and it’s a city of coffee and microbreweries), I was glad we hoofed it back and forth and up and down the river so much. The Bearded Guitar Hero, on the other hand, developed shin splits the second day and whined  requested a motorized wheelchair! I teased him mercilessly until I woke up on the third day with sore legs myself!

Pizza, books, eco-hostel

Yoga is alive and well in Portland. There are studios everywhere. I wasn’t terribly discerning about where I tried out a class, I just wanted to get in some yoga. I chose a hatha class at Yoga Pearl, because we were wandering around downtown that day and it was easy to find. The instructor was warm, creative and knowledgeable, and the studio atmosphere was nice. It was fun to try out a new style in a new city. The evening of our last day in Portland, I came across an Ashtanga studio not a stone’s throw from where we were staying. It’s on the list for the next trip to Portland.

Seeing Portland by foot

While there, we had breakfast with a high school friend who’s living in Portland. She directed our attention to Portlandia, so I watched some excerpts on Youtube. Hilarious, and so true. The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland. I liked the 90s!