Welcome to day 2, we’ll really it’s day one away from the known of Canada, but then really it’s not really day anything because we haven’t started our biking yet. Anyway, welcome to Portland, where we’ll stay 2 nights before getting going with the cycling part of the trip.
The day started nice and early with a 5:30am wake up to catch the train from Vancouver to Portland. I wish I could say I loved the train ride and it glorious view after glorious view for eight and a half hours, but really i was so tired from a restless nights sleep and the early wake up that I just wanted to sleep. Though we did see a glorious sunrise over the mountains coming in to Washington state and Bellingham. The rest of the journey as spent napping eating and listening to podcasts and trying to find somewhere to crash for the night. Upon arrival we hadn’t had any luck finding anywhere and not wanting to waste our limited time here we just headed for a hostel so we could drop our bags and go explore.
Once we lay down for a minute in the hostel however we contemplated not moving again, travelling and lack of sleep were taking its toll.
But we couldn’t be stopped, I knew there was a Football (soccer) game on in town that afternoon, the Portland Timbers vs DC united and I really wanted to go. We didn’t have tickets but we figured we could grab some at the box office, how expensive could it be ? Turns out it was out of our budget and with no ticket touts around we thought we might not get in. Harry, ever the problem solver hopped online and within two minutes had found two tickets in the home end $17 each?! Bargain! So we got them, and walked strait in. Got to love modern technology. We’d barely been in town an hour and we’d rocked up and got strait into an MLS game.
Coming from the UK I can whole heartedly say I wasn’t drawn in by the quality of an MLS game, seeing a football game in foreign countries has long been a tradition of my families on holidays because it’s an awesome way to see a snippet of local culture. I can’t lie as well, I’ve always loved the spectacle of American sports too. It’s so much more than just the game, it’s the experience, from the national anthem before kick off , the vendor walking round the stands selling popcorn and cotton candy and beers, the live replays on the big screen and the mascot.
Speaking of which Portland has the best one I’ve ever seen! It’s an homage to the city’s logging past, a big burly looking lumberjack with old school hard hat, that literally saws off a chunk of timber every time the Home team scores, after which he hoists the cut log above his head to a huge ovation from the crowd. They bloody love it and I did too. He then walks around the whole stadium with said cutting on his head. It’s great and totally impossible not to get drawn into the whole experience when you’re there.
The game its self was great , the Timbers aren’t half bad, they won the league two years ago and with mine and Harry’s favourite British ex premier league player in the MLS captaining them, Liam Ridgewell (midlands legend) DC stood no chance. 4-0 was the final score and the quality of the goals really blew us away. So it was good vibes all around the stadium with the fans in great voice all game.
The final thing I’ll say about that game was how bloody great the concessions were. Back home you’re happy with a Bovril and a pie, Portland being the self confessed hipster city it is would never be happy with that. Artisan hot dogs, freshly popped corn, huge nachos and best of all BEER! You can’t even get beer at a football game in the UK but this place had 8 different beers on tap! Everything from domestic basic beers to premium European import beers to local craft breweries, I couldn’t believe it!
America, you do sports right, keep up the good work!
After the game we headed to Old Town Pizza and brewery, a former hotel converted, that claims to be Portland’s most haunted pizzeria ! Oooooh. Full disclaimer I don’t know how many haunted pizzerias there are in Portland so that may not be that cool of a claim on their part. But the pizza was good, and totally knocked us out so we meandered home and hit the hay.
*update to yesterday’s blog, Harry wanted to let everyone know he was the first to cycle through dog poo, said it was the highlight of his day*