To make a long story short, both Tyler and I were disappointed with Portland, Oregon. While we’d heard it was a very hip city, upon our arrival, we immediately both sensed this “dirty” vibe. The buildings and streets were industrial, but more run-down than fresh and modern. For good or bad, we definitely let our initial impression of the city dictate our overall feelings about Portland, and quickly determined it was not for us.
However, we did have an afternoon and a morning scheduled in the city and we made an effort to visit a couple of the attractions we’d read about during the research phase of our trip. The first site we visited was the Japanese Gardens on the western side of the city. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but I absolutely LOVED the experience. The gardens are not huge, but they feature ten “exhibitions” or stops for visitors to admire. Each was beautiful in its own way, but I was mesmerized by how the whole concept behind a Japanese Garden.
While I am no expert nor can I really even claim to know anything about the actual philosophy, I will share what I saw and felt.
As you can see from the pictures, rocks, grass, flowers, fish, trees, and statues are all featured in a Japanese Garden. There are also a number of patterns, shapes and textures present in each of these elements. Although this level of variety could be overwhelming, chaotic, or even confusing, somehow, it all worked. The rounded trees, jagged grasses, and criss-crossed stone pathways all balanced each other out, and I found myself completely at peace. I even caught myself thinking about how nice it would be to spend an afternoon reading there, which is funny because I then caught myself thinking about how I should go buy a book about Japanese Gardens. I liked it that much!
Across the street from the Japanese Garden was Washington City Park, which contained our next stop – The International Rose Garden. Unlike the Japanese Garden, the Rose Garden was free of charge to the public, albeit equally amazing, and Tyler definitely enjoyed our walks through these gardens much more. As a photographer, he was snap-happy. Get ready to enjoy a profusion of color, as there were over 300 varieties of roses! =)