at last

sometimes i get a lust for wandering. for the most part i bat it down and keep to my comfy surroundings. but every now and then it creeps up on me and i actually let it lead the way. i just so happened to let it have a go and it chose to take me on a trip to portland, oregon and seattle, washington. i'm very glad that it did.
portland has to be one of the best places. i know i've read and heard lots of bloggers and people say that it's a great place to move to, but come on, if everyone is moving there why should i? well, they are right actually. everything i've ever really wanted or could want is in that one city. so many of the restaurants have whole menus dedicated to vegetarians, meals that are nutritionally complete and tasty! waiters actually know what it means when i say i can't eat gluten, instead of saying "does that mean you don't want bread?" or "you can just take that part off when you get it.".
there are stores that stock ribbon, many different types in whole color ways. there is a fabric store that carries nani iro fabric. there is a plethora of lovely clothes sold in small boutiques where the owners actually care about what they sell and where it comes from. not that there aren't large stores like anthropologie or nordstrom, but hey, at least there's choices. like i don't have to go to the mall; i can choose not to.
on one of our days there, we took the metro rail to 24th ave and lovejoy. i love that there is everything you could need all within 3 or 4 blocks of where you live. there was this teeny tiny bakery that makes only gluten free goods. i bought a mini apple tart and a blueberry crumple muffin. the muffin was light and moist and chewy with delicate tastes of cinnamon and fresh blueberries, definitely the best blueberry muffin i've ever had (a feat, because i've eaten my fair share of blueberry muffins all over this country, and three others, and for it to have been a gluten free one, kicks all), the crust on the tart tasted and felt just like a flaky, buttery pie crust should. we found an amazing grocery store that had a giant variety of produce, and cheese from all over the world, a baked goods section that had yummy macaroons, and a butcher that stocked fresh fish. i could eat there everyday and die a happy herbivore/sometime pescetarian. and that's the other thing that is great about this city, the metro rail, as in reliable public transportation so that i don't have to own a car. i would so want to move there tomorrow if i could.
i feel another trip to portland is necessary in order to do further research and to cement any plans concerning actually living there.

seattle was big. giant city big. i don't actually like big cities. they are fun to visit and to do some specialty shopping, and to see the art museums, but i wouldn't want to live in one. it was really neat that it was a 28 dollar train ticket away and only took 3 hrs and 40 mins, but to live there, and work there? no way.
we had vegetarian dim sum that was very yummy, and i bought the comfiest pair of heels, and had the chance to do some tea tasting (actually was reacquainted with my favorite, but forgotten, chrysanthemum tea), toured around what has to be the most vibrant and modern public library, and all in all thought it was a neat visit. but would i visit again? eh, maybe not. if i lived in portland it would be absolutely necessary to make a sojourn up there in order to fulfill my mid-century modern furniture dreams, though.
oh, if you are ever in portland or seattle and want an affordable, eclectic, funky, stylish, and modern, and on top of all that also comfortable (organic cotton towels form turkey anyone?) hotel, ace hotel is where you want to be staying. the rooms were inviting and colorful, i did not mind in the least having to share a bathroom (the least expensive rooms have a common bathroom, which was cleaned and stocked at all times), and both hotels are centrally located in the downtown area and near public transportation. i wish there were more places like this when i travel.

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