After an excrutiangly long time of waiting for another trip, we are finally blessed with the very first #findgizel of the year. And where do you ask is yours truly traveling to this time? Why, the beautiful city of Portland in Oregon of course!

Writing about this is giving me such huge separation anxiety because for the short amount of time I have spent in this weird and magical city, I have fallen in love. Do I say that about every single place I go to? Haha, possibly! But, it’s not hard to fall in love with places as someone who’s only visiting for a short while. This city very quickly became my favorite. Dare I say, it’s kicked Seattle off the top list! At least now, I’ve stopped with the delusions of wanting to move to new cities right away. My little mountain town, (no matter how claustrophobic it gets) will still have a special place in my heart.

You will be seeing familiar faces in this blog. My friends Pierre, Ryan and myself are planning to make this “mini-trip” to anywhere in the country an annual thing. I’m so glad they recommended this city because I have never been, and it was such a great choice!

Portland is such a beautiful place that has so many things to offer. The weather during our trip was perfect for someone like me who’s done with wearing layers upon layers of clothing. The scenery which was a beautiful mix of the modern city (with so much history) surrounded by a whole lot of nature was the perfect setting to drive around to. The food places were amazing, but probably the best thing this city has to offer is their people. The people in Portland are quite possibly the kindest people I’ve ever met.

My favorite source for a “local’s suggestion” are usually the uber drivers that I would encounter. On my way to my hotel to meet my friends, I bombarded my driver with questions about food places, the music scene, local pubs and skiing. I always like to seem knowledgable in front of my friends, and special thanks to my driver, I got really lucky with my first choice.

We all craved for seafood so we went to Jake’s Grill for dinner on our first night, as this place came highly recommended. I honestly wasn’t expecting what we found ourselves in. The place had a high-end restaurant sort of vibe, but it also gave off a very familar and homey-feel. Pierre and Ryan are huge fans of fish and chips and are trying their best to convert me. I am still very much into grilled or raw fish instead of the breaded ones, but I’m not gonna lie, the Jake’s Grill version of it was pretty good.

Before arriving in the city, one of the things we really wanted to do was a nature hike. As you are surrounded by nature, it would be a waste to not take advantage of the beautiful weather and the beautiful evergreen, so we decided to hike Macleay Park. We stumbled into reading a little bit of history of the area about curses, murder and love. It’s quite a long story so if you are interested in learning about it, click the link here.

As you already know, I’m a big fan of castles and old buildings so this random discovery was quite a welcome surprise. The hike up to this little stone house called the “witch’s castle” was all sorts of magical. From its very fascinating history, to the view on the way there and to how easy this hike was, I definitely think this should be a stop if you ever decide to visit Portland!

We met up with a couple more friends and went out to Portland City Grill for dinner and drinks afterwards. This place was a little bit on the pricey side, but I personally think the food and the service makes it worth it. My favorite part about this restaurant was that it was located on the 30th-floor and the whole place was surrounded by full windows so you have a great view of the skyline. We came in just a little before the sun set so we were able to see the city transform from day to night.

While we were walking around at night, we discovered a dessert place called “1927 S’mores” They locally make their own marshmallows and they make the s’mores right in front of you. It was a very tiny little hole in the wall spot which was mostly serving for take out, but if you are patient enough to wait out other patrons, they have a few bar stools for eating in.

The next day we decided to do a little bit of walking around the city. I think it’s a little ironic that I consider city walks as a breath of fresh air. As somebody who lives in a small town for most of the year, I find it very exciting whenever I see the hustle and bustle of an urban area. It was during this walk that we discovered how nice the people in Portland are. I heard the phrase “too nice” at one point. Portland drivers yield to everyone, never honk their horns or never curse at anyone. I loved it! If you see somebody with a furrowed brow, it’s honestly most probably a tourist.

I don’t think we meant to eat at every seafood joint in this city. It just sort of happened that way somehow. We walked around a little bit looking for a place to go to for lunch until we decided that the menu that we liked the most was at this place called Southpark Seafood. To be honest, I still can’t stop thinking about their chowder until now. It was so good!

In keeping with my obsession with castles and old houses, I was so happy we went to visit the Pittock Mansion. I cant really fully explain my love for old, and haunted grand places, all I know is that visiting this place and learning about the history behind it and how it was such a big part of the city was very fascinating to me. The best part about where this mansion is located is the full view of the city from the top.

This city is so full of history and magic and wonderful experiences. The food is great, the people are greater. It is the perfect combination for a perfect trip, what more can I ask for?

I’ve made it my resolution to not have any failed trips anymore this year, I mean honestly that situation is and will be completely out of my hands but I am hoping luck will be on my side this time! If Portland, my first trip of the year would be the basis of how the rest of the year will go travel-wise, I think I will be fine.

#findgizel at the ruins of Mr Danford Balch’s property. Until next time, magical city!

xx Gizel

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