I had some vacation days left over and figured I’d rather use them before the weather gets miserable. But where to? After looking at the cities in the U.S. that I hadn’t been to yet and the weather to be anticipated there my choice was clear: The hipster capital Portland. After booking the flight, Jessie introduced me to the amazing show Portlandia which is a satire of the whole city and hipster culture. During my trip, I wanted to find out how much of that is really true.

Portland Steel Bridge at night

I arrived in Portland on a rainy day. I had already heard the winter over here is supposed to be very rainy and came well prepared with a new raincoat and water-repellant pants. This turned out to be a very good purchase. During the first two days it rained quite a bit but I didn’t have any issues getting around. For the first time, I could also test out how weather resistant my X-T1 is (turns out: very).

Portland is probably the most European feeling city that I’ve seen here so far. There are sidewalks everywhere and people actually use them. Even in the rain! That’s something that’s unheard of in Michigan.

There are also a lot of cyclists that are commuting on their bikes. Car drivers are aware of cyclists and they seem to get along very well in the fast city traffic. I had hoped to spot some cool vintage bikes but it seems that bikes are more a utility here. Therefore, a lot of bikes I saw were rather run down.

Portland also has quite a few cycling-related road signs like this one here: “Careful: Riding without a front wheel might lead to injury.”

I did also see a couple of cool cars including the obligatory bugs and transporters.

The city has quite a few beautiful old church buildings that I stumbled upon.

On one day, I hiked up one of the city’s mountains.

I first stopped at the rose gardens where this gentlemen greeted me in the rain.

I then continued on the Wildwood Trail to get all the way to the top of the mountain to visit Pittock Mansion.

The city was in full fall colors and quite nice to look at.

It is divided by the Willamette River and there are multiple bridges most of which can be lifted for ships. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a single of those lifting events during my stay. My apartment was on “the other side” which meant that every day I had to cross one of the bridges. In general not a problem but my fear of height and the fact that there were 1 inch wide gaps and the vertical lift bridges were quite shaky made this more exciting than I wanted it to be.

The city has plenty of cute small cafes and restaurants.

Food trucks also are a big thing in Portland.

On my way - once again - crossing the bridges of death, I found this very cool cycling mural.

And then there was that one day when the sky was almost clear but the river was foggy. I waited with breakfast and took some picture instead.

Portland fog river bridge

Portland fog river bridge

Portland fog river bridge

Portland fog river bridge

All in all, I had a great time and Portland was a great choice for the much needed vacation. I would even go so far and say that if I had (and got to) pick a different city in the U.S. to live in, this might be it.