Tuesday, March 17, 2015


We started each day in Portland dealing with its infamous pea soup fog. Even the cars seemed to get swallowed up in this fog--except for Tilly. We were pretty happy about our sunshine-yellow Tillamook Kia.

Because we just happened to park next to it, the First Presbyterian Church, a building completed in 1890, was our first stop in downtown Portland.
The nice ladies at the front desk gave us a "visitor" badge and took us to the sanctuary. It has a rich brown wood vaulted ceiling that gives it a nice outdoors-y feel:
Their pipe organ at the front of the room is stunning:

Stained glass windows were made by Portland's own Povey Brothers Studio:

A simple communion table at the front of the room reminds visitors of the Sunday service:

Our next stop was The Grand Marketplace, antique mall/junk store extraordinaire:
We had read about this on the internet, and it lived up to its rave reviews.  If you can think of it, the Grand Marketplace probably has it:
Grand Market, Portland, Oregon

. . . and that includes two of the cutest (and hairiest) doggies ever (Yes, they are real):

Luckily, our suitcases could only accommodate so much, and I don't think we could hide these dogs in our check-in bags.

Our next stop was the world-renowned Powell's Books, one of the biggest bookstores in the world:

The headquarters of the chain, dubbed "Powell's City of Books," claims to be the largest purveyor of used and new books in the world. It occupies a full city block with interior space of 68,000 square feet, and it contains over four million new, used, and rare books.  The used book business appears to be booming. We saw several people going in with books to sell, and there were even special parking places for people bringing books into the store.

Powell's is so big that they have a map to help you find what you need (and don't need):
Everything is color-coded to enhance the shopping experience, not that I need my book shopping experience enhanced.  
But you know what? It was my DAUGHTER who I had to drag kicking and screaming out of this store. She would have slept in the cookbook section if it had been allowed.

Portland has plenty of quirky sights around town. I love the juxtaposition of these two shops, The English Department and Canoe. Thoreau would approve. However, I'm not sure what he would make of that 30-foot steel sculpture on the left affectionately named Pod. It is supposed to represent "the infrastructure, energy, and vibrancy of Portland."  Hmmm.

On the other hand, I really like this candelabra drinking fountain:
I love murals, and downtown Portland has several. The make an ugly wall a piece of art and an ordinary outdoor space extraordinary.

Mural, Portland
How about this metal sculpture that looks like a roof line covered with telephone poles are antennas? I wish I knew more about this one.
One day when we were walking on a street a few blocks from Powell's Books, we ran across this plastic horse, tied to an old ring embedded in the cement.
Ten feet further down the road we spied a rocking horse, hitched to a metal brad in the concrete. Clearly, Portland has a sense of humor--or some Portlander does.
What's not to love about this bicycle rack "sculpture" topped by a gold-plated Stingray?

Over the course of our five days in the city, we discovered that Portland has a very artistic flair.
(Yes, I bought one of these white milk jar vases.)

It's a city with a lot of personality, that's for sure.


  1. I love the interior of the church. We'll have to put that on the list when we visit together some day.

  2. Fun to see all the sights, including the "Benson Bubblers." (http://www.portlandoregon.gov/water/article/352768) I was entranced with them, too. We hit several of the same places, but this time I found that Powell's overwhelmed me, and I left probably too quickly to really get into the place. Fun to revisit it through your eyes.