Thanks to Portlandia, I knew exactly what to expect of Oregon’s largest city: feminist bookstores, decorative birds, and bicycle-rights activists.
Our hotel room came with a record player, locally-made charcoal cleansing bars, and street art (inside).
I could have been happily entertained without leaving the block.
But we did. A book of self-guided walking tours took us around the compact city centre: Waterfront Park, Old Town Chinatown, Pearl District, and Downtown.
The architecture, particularly in the historic areas, was low, brick, often covered in art, which made the city seem all the more twee and appealing.
The food was good, the coffee was better. By American standards, anyway.
After watching an artist set up an exhibition which consisted of spilled Twisties on a white surface (hey, when in Portland…) we gave the galleries a miss for the thrift shops.
Indulging my church obsession, Willie let us stop by the First Presbyterian Church of Portland.
The man at reception said staff keep the placed locked and supervised – even during the day – to keep out the homeless.
Hmm, I thought: “And as the door of God’s mercy is always open, so too must the doors of our churches…”
However, I can sympathise – there sure are a lot of homeless people in America.
The following morning, I got up early and attended The Bar Method.
More expensive even than the barre studio at home, but worth it.
Other than I don’t have a tattoo or stretch earring, I felt perfectly at home in Portland.