The last stretch of my Portland trip was starting. Upon our arrival in Portland, we drove to Washington State to visit a volcano Mount St. Helens, and we stayed the night on the coast. After that we headed back to Oregon and visited some national parks, spent the night in Seaside and toured Tillamook Cheese factory. Now it was finally time to get to know Portland itself.
At first we stopped at Fort Vancouver Historic Site which is on the opposite side of the river from Portland, in Vancouver Washington. The Columbia River separates these two cities and states from each other. Fort Vancouver was built in the 19th century to be a market place for fur. Many ships arrived there yearly and the fur was sold all the way to China.
Today there is a replica of the old fort where people can visit and get to know the history of the area.
Before touring around Portland, we decided to drive to Bonneville Dam. We drove down the Washington side of the Columbia River, and planned to cross the river and come back to Portland on the Oregon side.
Bonneville Dam is one of the 60 dams on the Columbia River and it started operating in 1937. The main purpose of the dam is to produce electricity. We got to visit inside the dam and see for example the machine room and the fish ladder. Fish ladder, which helps fish to migrate across these barriers, is usually full of fish during the summer and fall months. Many different salmon and trout live in the Columbia River.
After visiting the dam we crossed the river on the Bridge of Gods to the Oregon side. Before driving back to Portland, we took a scenic route called the Historic Columbia River Highway where you can see multiple waterfalls. Waterfall Tour Loop is a tour where you can see eight waterfalls and where you can move at your own pace. Some of the waterfalls require a small hike, but most are visible from the road. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to hike to many falls and it was also raining here and there, so we only stopped at the biggest ones. But even that was plenty. Someday I would love to return and explore more of these waterfalls that were hidden in the forests.
The most famous of these waterfalls must be the Multnomah Falls which is also the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon. It looks amazing and was also seen in the Twilight movie.
At last we arrived in Portland. For most of our visit it was raining, so we ended up touring around in the car. There are about 2.5 million people living in Portland making it the 25th largest city in the US. Despite the rain, Portland seemed to be a very nice city.
The most memorable place in Portland was Chinatown. Even though it is way smaller than what we have here in San Francisco, it was very idyllic. Officially it is called Old Town Chinatown and it also includes the oldest part of Portland. The oldest buildings there are from 1871. We walked around for a while and then went to get some coffee. It wasn't until we were home already when I realised that we had missed the famous doughnut shop called Voodoo Doughnut. If you are in this neighborhood, make sure you stop there.
Our long weekend in Washington and Oregon was soon ending and we had to head back to the airport for our return flight. What a great little trip with good company!