Welcome to Portland, Oregon. I have never seen hipsters being so proud of something that has no relation with Apple. If you have to believe Oregon’s inhabitants, their state is the place to be and PDX is the awesomest city on earth. Well, it is pretty nice. While the state’s capital is not going to win any beauty contests (but then again, which American city will?), the atmosphere is great and the artsy-fartsy couples and family oriented vibe is really comparable to, yes, Barcelona. Millions of pop-up eat stalls (surprisingly, none of them owned by local PDXers) and dozens of microbreweries colour the streets. Good stuff.
Upon leaving the city you’ll notice why everyone here is so stoked about the great outdoors. A short drive out of town puts you right in the middle of the Cascade volcanoes or waterfall-cladded river gorges, a hikers paradise. Really.
Not a mountain person? Drive the opposite way and find yourself on Highway 101 to admire the rough pacific coast and cute seaside towns.
Each and every curve reveals yet another spot to sit down, relax and count the number of gray whales that you’ve seen passing by. Do not be tempted by taking a cheap whale-watching tour in Depoe Bay, though. Your not so funny captain will race towards a random patch of open water, will apologise for 30 minutes that “those animals can be unpredictable” before returning harbour. Number of whales spotted: nil. Maybe we were unlucky, but then again, not even 20 minutes later a whale passed right by at the spot below.
Speaking about sea-dwelling mammals: we had a few close encounters with some out-of-state sea lions as well. Cute? Territorial bastards, that’s what they are.
After nearly a week of sand, sea and trying to avoid the cops while sleeping at night (finally found out one can legally camp anywhere, as long as it is not within city limits), we once again geared up for mountains and snow. A huge detour later provided us with the view below. Worth it!
Next up: Kalifohnia!