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Published: August 7th 2018
It's pretty toasty in Portland and air quality isn't fab, so I needed something with guaranteed shade today - The Grotto ended up being the perfect fit! It's billed as the place "for solitude, peace and prayer" and it didn't disappoint. The lower garden area is free and has a few statues (Jesus with the cross, some other statues off near the cliffside), a grotto with a statue of Mary and a kajillion candles around it, and a small(ish) church you can visit. Thankfully they have an elevator that brings you up the cliff to the upper garden.
First place I went to upstairs was the Meditation building - it's on the edge of the cliff and gives you a lovely view off towards the mountains. You could see the haze from here, but it was still beautiful. It's kind of a shame the airport is so close by though, because you can see (and hear) the planes come in to land. Anyway, it's still a lovely spot to sit and relax and meditate for a bit - full glass window with the view and large, comfy chairs to relax in.
After spending ~10-15min there, I headed off to
do the walk around the gardens. Everyone was so friendly - the gardens are maintained by volunteers, a bunch of them said hello while they were watering plants. There's also a monastery in the back (you can't visit, but you see it), and I ended up seeing two Servite Friars as they walked around - both times they welcomed me and wished me a pleasant visit.
The gardens really are beautiful - both the nature and the statues. Speaking of nature, giant trees..!! I got my giant trees. Perhaps not as big as the ones I had planned to see, but they were still wonderful to see. (Although spending half a day in the forest, I def felt my allergies afterwards). Since there were so many trees, I was happy to be in the shade 90% of the time. There's also a Peace Garden which is a little trail through some little ponds - they have statues for the mysteries / inspired by the rosary and that was quite lovely too. There's a tiny red chapel in the middle as well - I love that it's red, it really pops. And total random find - there was a Lithuanian
shrine..!! I mean what are the chances.
After that I decided to bus to Alberta Street - it's supposed to be... sort of like Westboro? with more street art? I suppose that's a decent comparison. I had fun looking at all the random stickers and graffiti, grabbed a piece of apple pie at one of the stores (yum!) and then managed to figure out how to get back to the downtown area. Clearly pie wasn't enough as the bus left me off just beside the Voodoo Donut shop - it's quite similar to Suzy Qs, but they're not warm, so boo. Good prices though..!! $1.50-$3.00 depending on the donut you choose.
From there it wasn't a far walk to Powell's City of Books - holy cow, now THAT is a book store. The last thing I need is more books, and since I only have a carry-on, that helped ensure that I didn't go buy more books, but it was fun to just wander around the store. They claim to be the biggest new/used bookstore in the world and I believe it... it's insanely huge. Not only did I enjoy roaming around just to see the sheer size
of the store (and their collection), but it was also fun to see so many people sitting and reading in little nooks and crannies, and the kid area has tables for them to read at. I absolutely love it.
Tomorrow is supposed to be 37 degrees (ew) and air quality is supposed to be garbage, so other than do laundry (woohoo), I think I'll putter down to Starbucks or another nearby coffee shop and get some work done in a nice, air-conditioned environment.
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