Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Too many days in Portland: what I did and how I did it

Portland. I had such dreams that on this return trip, you would be everything I wanted and more....

Portland. Like a caricature of its own self. But hey, my view was probably also tainted by the fact I was staying in an airbnb that could have been the bad house in an episode of Scooby Doo.

There were some great things about Portland though and one was right around the corner from said house. Coquine. So good I ate their twice. Like amazingly good. Like you should go to Portland just to go there good. Great space for lunch and then converts to a cosy dinner venue. 

Other good thing about Portland. Beer. It's great. Craft breweries everywhere. Food vans. Just google them and pick one close to where you are staying. Donuts from Voodoo are still good too. Antique shops are a must - pretty overpriced but great for a browse. And Powell's bookstore. It's a wonderful place to while away a few hours. And in the end, Portland is just that. A place to take your time, take it in and take it down a notch. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Two days in Astoria: what I did and how I did it

I caught the morning ferry from Victoria, Vancouver Island and landed 2 hours or so later in the US at Port Angeles. I took the route down highway 101 (mainly so I could stop at Hamma Hamma for oysters and chowder) and the drive to Astoria was just long enough for one driver.

Astoria itself is a great town to stay in. Filled with craft brewery places, cute boutiques and antiques it maintains its authentic working town vibe - so much so, I preferred it to Portland. For beer, your choices are many. For food...not really a gourmet kinda place. I'd recommend Astoria Coffee House and Bistro. Great breakfast, scratch cocktails, good food and fabulous vibe (kicks playlist also).

If you ever find yourself in this part of the world, enjoy a laid back few days in this delightful town: long walks, vintage browsing, chats with locals and beers. 

Next stop...Portland

Thursday, June 7, 2018

36 hours in Vancouver Island: what I did and how I did it

Here's my first tip. If you haven't driven a car for two years, maybe don't pick the middle of the CBD mid morning to pick up your hire car. Just saying. 

The other thing to consider. GPS. First time I've hired one and won't be the last. Amazing lady accompanied me the entire way. Never got lost, but did get sick of her telling me to U-Turn.

Other other thing.... ferry travel with car takes a while as you have to build in the additional wait time at the terminal. If I'd thought of that a little more I would have headed off earlier.

I took the ferry from the terminal nearest Vancouver airport...the name is really long and I'm sorry I can't be bothered to look it up, but the trip was deadset easy in terms of getting on and off the ship and the view as you make your way across to the island is breathtaking. 

I decided to stay outside of Victoria, the main city in a place called Sooke. My airbnb was a perfect rustic little cabin right on the shore. I could have stayed there a lifetime, honestly one of the most beautiful places I've ever stayed.

Before I drove to my cabin though I stopped by the Public Market in Victoria to pick up some produce for my stay. Next hot tip. Don't bother. It's a half kind of opened market with not much to offer, but has potential and if you want to eat in - but for fresh produce, it ain't the place to shop.

In seeking an alternative supermarket I spied bottle shop for some local beers. Like Vancouver, the Island has many craft breweries so it was great to pick up some local beers and head to the cabin to hunt for pine cones, drink beer, eat olives and daydream.

Aside from that, Vancouver Island has some great hikes, fabulous vistas and lots of terrifying signs warning you off bears and cougars....next stop Astoria.