Monthly Archives: September 2014

Some travel days are but a compilation of snippets, drop in moments punctuated only by the form of transportation that takes you to the next.

Thanks to some favourite Portland places put forward by friends, these are the moments from today. Oblation Press & Papers, Powell’s Books, Isabel in the Pearl District for lunch and the Japanese Gardens in Washington Park for the afternoon stroll.

Midst all that, I have to thank the lovely Laura from French Cut Hair for cutting my still short post-chemo hair today. As it was my first hairdresser visit for over six months, I’m putting this down as my very own personal highlight of today.

Oblation Papers and PressTypewriters at Oblation Papers & PressPowells Book storeisabel for lunch - Portland 19 Sept 2014French Cut HairCranes - Japanese Garden - Portland 20 Sept 2014Raked garden - Japanese Garden - Portland 20 Sept 2014

The Howl Room - Crystal Hotel Portland - Sep 2014 - Allen Ginsberg

We are staying in the Howl Room of the most eclectic Crystal Hotel where Allen Ginsberg’s influence reigns. This evening we got into the Ginsberg spirit on the way home from dropping off some laundry (needs must) with some ale at Tilt and a shared bottle of Reisling with our meal in the Zeus Cafe attached to this establishment.

Tilt - Portland - 18 Sept 2014

Edgefield White Riesling - Zeus Cafe - 18 Sept 2014

Crystal Hotel - Portland - 18 Sep 2014

After an early morning flight from San Francisco, we settled in with a walk along the Willamette River and captured some bridge and geese action. We also had a successful excursion to Union Station where we bought a train ticket to Seattle for Saturday afternoon.

We have a full day here in Portland tomorrow and a rich list of suggestions and referrals of what to see from those who have gone before us. 🙂  Watch this space for the Friday report.

bridge girders - Portland - 18 Sep 2014Canadian goose - Portland 18 Sep 2014Geese feeding - park - Portland - 18 Sep 2014

As an aside, tomorrow sees the release of Apple’s iPhone 6. These campers were ensconced outside the store before lunch time today.

Apple Store queue - iPhone 6 - 18 Sept 2014

Dear Tony

Please forgive the informality. I feel like we should be on first name terms.

Thank you very much for The Layover program, in particular the San Francisco edition, where you alerted us to the existence of the Swan Oyster Depot. Our lunch today was the perfect intermission in our day, sandwiched as it was between a stunning morning walk along the California Coastal Trail and an afternoon ferry ride across the Bay.

The hour in line to join the counter was well worth the wait. We started with a cold Anchor Steam Beer to accompany a mixed dozen of the freshest oysters which we watched being shucked. Then it was on to a cracked cold crab which was equally delectable. We were made to feel very welcome and all of our requests were met with good humour. Despite the growing queue outside, there was no pressure on anyone to rush their meal. It was a wonderful experience.

We ended the day with pasta from Uncle Vito’s which, while most enjoyable, could not begin to match the sheer pleasure and entertainment that we found on Polk Street.

Yours most gratefully.

Golden Gate Bridge - morning Coastal Walk - 17 Sept 2014

Golden Gate Bridge 2 - 17 Sept 2014Cliff House - 17 Sep 2014Swan Oyster Depot - waiting in line

Swan Oyster Depot wall menuSwan Oyster Depot - schucking our oystersSF Skyline

The squirrel sighting was a bonus. This photograph is offered up for those who are easily distracted.


You forget how steep the hills are in San Francisco until you need to walk them. San Francisco hill climbs

September San Francisco sky and hill climbs

This afternoon was the kind of Spring activity you have after you’ve both agreed that, after being awake for 24 hours, sleep is the sensible option. Then the need for food arises, and wins.

pear and goat cheese salad at Estela's Sandwich Shop Bush Street SF

And of course, it really is a good idea to get out into the sunshine for a melatonin fix to adjust more quickly to the time zone, so we can go to bed on West Coast USA time and not still be 18 hours ahead on the body clock. Today’s walk steered clear of the hot spots, as will tomorrow. No Fisherman’s Wharf, no Alcatraz, no cable car rides. Just a steady reconnaissance around downtown and Chinatown.

The stop off at Lori’s Diner was to charge up for the hill climb back to our digs. I ordered a chocolate malt and forgot to say no cream.  This might well have been considered impolite as the server was very keenly pitching every kind of extra calorie boost to her customers. I worked around the problem.

Marquards Cigar Store - San FranciscoFacade and fire escape 1 - San FranciscoLori's Diner - exterior - San FranciscoLori's Diner interior - San Francisco

A short rest break then it was out for a quick Chinese meal, having clocked up 32 hours of nothing but the odd short doze. It was a relatively painless excursion across the ocean and through airport processes. A good start to the trip.

City Chopsticks - San FranciscoEggplant - City Chopsticks SF

A koala sighting is pretty special. It’s even more so when the SECOND koala you see is in the mood for sitting for a photograph.

If not for the fact that I alerted some bike-riding visitors from Yorkshire to the first one (curled up and sleeping), I wouldn’t have known this one was about. One of the women kindly rode back to alert me to its presence.

In other morning walk news, there was a blue kingfisher on the shoreline quite a way out of good range. And the lorikeets are still feeding on the eucalypt blossoms.

Koala - 13 Sept 2014

koala 2 - 13 Sep 2014koala 3 - 13 Sept 2014

Lorikeet feeding - 13 Sept 2014

kingfisher - 13 Sep 2014

There wasn’t too much activity on the incoming tide late this morning so I wandered up to an area of the wetlands where pairs of shore birds are gathering in these early days of Spring. There were curlews too, doing what they do best, laying low and camouflaged in the scrub. And this white-faced heron came a little closer than another pair I spotted. This shot gives a good sense of the colour of grasses near the mangroves at the moment.

On the way back home I dropped in again on Oyster Point and was rewarded by an egret on the hunt for fish.

white-faced heron - Moreton Bay wetlands - 12 Sept 2014 - FX Vignetteegret stalking fish - 12 Sept 2014fishing - 12 Sept 2014 - egret - FX TS and Vignette