Portland, 18 and 19-Feb 2014

Our last full day in Portland, and the rain finally caught up with us. Fortunately it was more of a sprinkle than anything else.

Portland Art Museum

Since we had a 2-for-1 coupon, we knew we would want to make it to the Portland Art Museum. Since we didn't go there on Saturday, we knew we'd go there on Tuesday. We arrived around the time they opened, figuring we'd be able to look around a bit, grab lunch, then get back to the museum for a tour of the photography exhibit.

Venice: The Golden Age of Art and Music

The first exhibit we went to was "Venice: The Golden Age of Art and Music", which had started a couple days before. In addition to paintings and drawings, music manuscripts were on display, as well as several instruments, which I found the most fascinating. My favorites were the viola d'amore (it had six normal strings which are played with a bow and six strings below them which freely resonate) and the theorbo and archlute (very long lutes with half the strings connected to a second tuning box further up the neck).

While we were in the Venice exhibit, a group of a couple dozen high school students streamed in carrying folding stools. Their teacher had them gather around and was talking about things which didn't seem directly related to the exhibit. As we exited (through the gift store, of course) we saw a couple other large groups of students, so perhaps each group found their own room.

There was a bit over an hour before the photography tour, so we went around the corner to grab lunch. There was only one other person in the café when we got there, but the place was very full by the time we left. Good timing.

Cobalt Blues

 Cobalt Blues exhibit at the Portland Art Museum

Cobalt Blues exhibit at the Portland Art Museum

As we returned to the museum, we still had a few minutes before the tour, so we poked our heads into the Cobalt Blues exhibit about ceramics. It had a wide variety from early attempts to 20th century pieces, one of which had a big crack in the middle which happened during firing.

Dusk Through Dawn: Photography at the Edges of Daylight

We met up with the docent who led us to the Mark Building where the contemporary art exhibits live. The other people were a student from University of British Columbia who was in town to participate in the Northwest Model United Nations (she represented Luxembourg) and a woman who was originally from South Carolina but lived in New York for a while, sleeping in parks and painting.

As the name implies, the exhibit centered around photos taken during sundown, night, and sunrise. They were from all around the world, by a wide array of photographers, and all eras. Landscapes, portraits, and street photography were just a few of the genres. The docent had a connection with a lot of the photos, either with the photographer or with the people who loaned the photos to the exhibit.

Feast and Famine: The Pleasures and Politics of Food

After the tour was done, we were going to head out, but decided to take a quick look at the Feast and Famine exhibit, which was mostly paintings and drawings (including a Warhol and some Lichtensteins). It also had a Lightenstein tea set (we didn't know he did ceramics) and a couple sets of Campbell's Soup cans with labels such as "Freddie Mac and Cheese".

By that point we were ready to sit for a while, so we braved the showers and made our way to Powell's.

Powell's Books

I mentioned on previous days that Powell's Bookswas always in our back pocket in case it was really rainy, and in this case it was also a good half-way point to the hostel. For the times we had walked near Powell's in the days before, we hadn't been near the southeast corner; as we approached, we saw that whole corner was under construction, with even the sidewalks closed. We walked around to the northwest corner to go in and find our way to the café.

While we were having our drinks and snacks, we got a message from Amtrak saying that we would be on alternate transportation for all or part of the trip. That normally translates into "something is blocking the tracks", and it sounds like it was mudslides between Olympia and Tacoma. We figured we would be on a bus instead of a train.

 SF Post at Powell's

SF Post at Powell's

After a while, we started wandering through the store. I roamed the Science Fiction section for a little while, then stumbled on the SF Post, which has author signatures on all sides. At some point they decided they needed to cover the surface with sheets of acrylic, which they presumably remove when authors sign the post.

We met up again, and realized we had both worked our way to the Pearl Room (on the top floor), but hadn't seen each other. Not a small bookstore.

After stopping by the store for a few groceries, we went back to the hostel to eat dinner and pack. While we were in the room, we heard a big racket in the hallway. Ends up a woman had just arrived with a lot of stuff. When we went to the guesthouse kitchen later, it looked as if she was in the middle of arranging things, as all the table and counter space was in use. She did get everything upstairs, as the hall was clear later in the evening.

Heading home

We went down to breakfast earlier than we had the other days, and noticed that there were many more sweet pastries available. The other breads were also good, but we did also grab chocolate croissants.

The weather held out for our walk to the train station, which was nice. We got there a bit before they were checking people in, which meant giving each of us a card rather than seat assignments, since we were riding a bus rather than a train.

Amtrak had chartered two busses to take the passengers, and lucky for us one of them was an express straight to Seattle. Because of that, we got back to King Street Station a lot faster than the other bus which made all the normal stops.

Not long after pulling out of Portland, the rain started, and ended up being pretty heavy. However, it let up as we passed the Seattle city limits and was done by the time we exited the station. We walked over to the bus station, and after only a few more minutes, were on our way home.