This past Saturday, I went down to Portland, OR, with a few friends via Amtrak. For those of you that have never traveled by train, you really should. I rode several trains as a kid. And in 2007, I LOVED the train trip from Anchorage to Fairbanks (and back). Trains really are the way to travel. Americans should embrace this more!
Once you get to the station, you have the whole day to enjoy with your friends. You have the freedom to sit back and enjoy the scenery while someone else does the driving. You can share snacks, read a book, knit on a sweater (as I did) all while enjoying the view. And poof! A couple of hours later you're at your destination. The round trip cost me just $50.
Once in Portland, we walked around the downtown, window shopping as we found our way to our lunch destination. We ate at Jake's and had seafood. I had an AMAZING dish they called 'Salmon Saute'. I should have taken a picture of it. Salmon and shitake mushrooms. Fine food - so good in fact that Ranger Jim kept trying to eat off my plate. We all shared our food around the table. ;) Oh, and the sourdough bread at Jake's is great too. I'd go back there for dinner in a heartbeat. Note though that the menu changes daily, depending on what seafood they can get in - but I'd bet anything you had there was good.
After lunch, we went for a walk. Ok, so the walk was long and uphill (sometimes fairly steeply uphill!). We went to the Japanese Garden at Washington Park. Beautiful gardens! The cherry trees were blooming. In another month or so, the azaleas will be beautiful!
We headed back downtown and to Powell's book store. More like book warehouse. Every title known to man and then some. They call themselves a "City of books". Check out the store map - you need the map or you may never find your way out! I love book stores; I could get a coffee and look for hours. But this one seriously overwhelmed me. Don't go there if you can't spend the entire day.
About 5 p.m., we decided to head out and walk a bit more. Window shopping on the way to the train station. We got to the station a bit early and had a bit of refreshment at the pub. About this time, Mika and I decided we were a bit tired. ;)
Union Station at Portland
The trip back to Olympia/Lacey was nice. Lots of chatting, snacks and relaxing after a full day of walking and sightseeing in Portland!
Trains are definitely the way to go. Hopefully I'll get to ride the Alaska RR again this summer. ;)