Yesterday was pretty fun. I spent the day touring around Portland - first in the car to get a lay of the land and then on foot. I went to this bookstore that is apparently famous here. I could see why. It doesn't have all the old world charm of Elliot's in Seattle, but it is HUGE. It's an old building, laid out a bit like a library with really tall shelves crammed with books - used and new, on THREE levels... and these aren't just small bedroom sized levels, these are rambling, color coded areas of pure literary bliss. So I bought a few used books to read throughout the rest of my trip - and the best thing - no sales tax in Oregon. Cheap on top of cheap. :)
Of course the bookstore wasn't the highlight of the day. I had a fabulous lunch at a local micro-brewery. Apparently Oregon has more micro breweries than any other state - or something like that. My sister and brother in law would LOVE it. The beer was very good and so was the food. My wandering continued and led me to the Chinese gardens - right in the middle of the city. This was a place that made me think of my mother. She would have loved the meandering paths, the blooming orchids and other plants I simply can't name, and the tea room complete with several periods of antique Chinese furniture - and tea of course.
But I still had more to do. I was on the hunt for something chocolate, not just any old chocolate. I wanted dessert - and some good red wine to go with it. Where to find that on a Monday afternoon? I stumbled across the answer to my prayers, a chocolate and wine shop. I kid you not! Sweet treats, or something like that. It had chocolates (you know, cream filled, nut filled, fruit filled... and better yet, it had chocolate desserts. Flourless torte, pies, cookies, mousse. I had a to die for chocolate mousse and a lovely Carmenere from Chile. It was the perfect combination and a great place to spend the afternoon reading a good book and people watching. Never let it be said that all the good people watching takes place in the midwest. There is some good material here too!
Now today I'm off to Boise in the rain. I'm hoping to stop at a few wineries on the way and sample the fares. Don't worry, no swallowing today. I have a long way to drive, but I do want to taste and local wines and see if there is anything worth bringing home. Now, hopefully I don't have any mountains to go over today cause I heard there might be snow at higher elevations. (It's not very warm and it is raining pretty heavily.) Going to be a slow drive east.