10 Sep

You would think after going to sleep some time after 4am Friday morning that Christine and I would be out for quite awhile catching up on sleep. Well, you would think wrong. Somehow we were up, excited and ready for our day by 9:30! Haha, I suppose that’s how it goes when you have limited time with someone. We put on workout clothes and went to a park in Vancouver where we were supposed to embark on the “Waterfront Renaissance Trail”. We planned to go for a jog on this nice, paved trail that ran along the river line. The only problem was…we couldn’t exactly find it. We got down to the beach area and a trail was nowhere to be seen! We searched around and eventually decided that our jog was mostly going to be a leisurely beach stroll. It was still beautiful to look at!

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This whole area was apparently the previous location of the Kaiser shipyard, a place that was instrumental during WWII in getting vessels out to sea. The old Kaiser tower is still there and we climbed it for a good vantage point.

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It was another absolutely gorgeous day (as all my days there were) and we ended up being rather pleased with our “failed jog”. Great scenery has a way of making anything seem wonderful.


We hadn’t eaten breakfast and were pretty hungry by the time we were done so Christine took me to a semi-fast food place called Burgerville which they have all over the place out there. This place is no McDonald’s! Where else fast food but in the PNW can you get a salad with FRESHLY caught salmon on it? (Which we did) All of their meat came with values as well like the kind of acclaim you would expect from meat in a nice, farm-to-fork restaurant. Why can’t the fast food chains around here be so health conscious?!

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We got the salad, a sandwich and fries and shared it all while cracking ourselves up over the most random things. If you’d told me I would be laughing so hard in the middle of the day in a fast-food joint no less, I probably couldn’t have pictured it. Ironically though, our visit to Burgerville became another talked about highlight of the trip! We didn’t want to spend time napping but we did need a little resting/down-time so we went back to Christine’s apartment. We spent the next couple of hours chatting, laying around on the couches and looking up tons of restaurants for dinner and things to do for the second half of our day. We finally cemented a plan, got ready and headed back into Portland.

Our first destination was the International Rose Test Garden and it was an absolute BEAR to find. It is set high up in the city and instead of being off of a main road, we had to take random road after random road. The roads were residential and they were twisty and full of hairpin turns and went steeply up and steeply down and to top it off somehow the screen on her GPS was backwards so we were actually going the opposite way of how it appeared. It was a mess! Luckily we kept our sense of humor through it all and enjoyed seeing the many gorgeous, huge houses in the affluent neighborhoods, sometimes more than once. Haha. We finally made it and even though I wouldn’t consider myself a huge fan of flowers, it was absolutely gorgeous. Roses EVERYwhere.


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I guess that this part of Oregon is the perfect climate for growing roses and there was every kind imaginable! They were so beautiful in the sunlight and we walked around a good while marveling at all the colors (there were even gray ones!) and taking plenty of photos.

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Once we’d exhausted all the aisles of roses that we cared to look at, we ventured over to the Japanese Gardens which we actually had to pay to enter (the rose gardens were free).



While it wasn’t the most exciting thing we did, there were still a few interesting things to see and it did provide a good view out over Portland since it was at such a high elevation.


We saw rock gardens, koi ponds, a small waterfall and other even took some, what we deemed, “senior pictures”. Ha!

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We were beginning to get hungry for dinner but knew it was going to be awhile. We had chosen Toro Bravo as our restaurant for the night and they don’t take reservations. This place was rated as one of the top Spanish restaurants in Portland which means lots of incredible, authentic tapas and Christine had never been to a true Spanish place before! We put our name in, was told it was a 2 hour wait (which we expected) and walked right upstairs to the speak-easy themed bar, Secret Society Lounge.


(Yes, Christine has my shirt on now, we changed into other outfits for the second half of our night.) We had already known this was upstairs and it was our plan all along to frequent it. We both got prohibition era cocktails and note to self: I do NOT care for absinthe!


I thought I was going to like this champagne cocktail with absinthe but nope. It tastes like black licorice! Lesson learned… We finished our drinks with still an hour to kill but since this place was so expensive we decided to go somewhere new. Right next door to Toro Bravo was a place called Bunk Bar with a cute outdoor area. We got a drink here, headed outside and…no available tables. We were dead set on sitting outside though so we went as far down as we could possibly get while still being on the property and sat on a set of concrete steps.

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It was one of those things that you don’t plan but when it happens it just makes everything that much more perfect! See the people waaay at the other end? 🙂


We’ve perfected isolating ourselves and having the best time.


Finally by almost 9pm we had a table ready! Christine gave me free rein over choosing the dishes and I gave her free rein over choosing the drinks. She got us champagne and I got a plethora of things to share. Bacon wrapped dates:


A manchego and cured meats plate:


Tortilla, which is one of my favorite Spanish dishes. It’s not a “tortilla” at all, but a cold egg + onion + potato dish that I tried last year in Providence, RI for the first time. LOVE it!


Potatoes Bravas, which is a dish of friend potatoes with cheese.



Some other potato dish with octopus (I hadn’t realized when I ordered just HOW MANY of the dishes had potatoes in them haha)



And finally an egg, tomato and grilled bread dish. We had SUCH a fun experience here!



We ventured around after dinner and found this huge street painting that was really beautiful, Portland has random art like this all over the place.

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We weren’t ready to call it a night yet so we went and played pool at a local place close to Christine’s apartment in Vancouver called Irishtown.


We were both miserable at it but had a great time anyway of course. We also laughed our heads off at the absolutely abysmal karaoke that was taking place. Someone positively slaughtered “Piano Man” and someone else about ripped their vocal cords doing “I Will Always Love You”. It was comical to say the least… We went to nearby Lake Lacamas afterwards to have a little fire and set the camera on an incredibly long exposure which capture the below, amazing shot!



Amazing that it can have that much light in it during the dead of night! Day 2 was another completely unrivaled success. 🙂


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