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Day 43 - Visiting Portland

I had another early departure on this morning as I it was again time for me to leave Seattle, after two wonderful days. I got up at 6 am and after a quick shower I had breakfast in the dining area of the hostel. After that I went one more time upstairs to pick up my stuff and left the hostel after check-out just a bit after 7. I walked the short distance to King Street Station and checked in for train 501 Amtrak Cascades, a regional train service that runs between Vancouver, BC and Oregon. The train was a brand new Talgo tilting train that reminded me a lot about the modern trains we have in Europe. However, as it is with all modern trains also the seats in this train weren’t really comfortable. The train departed at 7.24 am, 6 minutes before the time printed on my ticket. Luckily I had been at the station on time. The first station stop in Tukwila, WA came up after just 15 minutes followed by a second one in Tacoma, WA. Soon after Tacoma we got an amazing view of Mount Rainier in bright morning light. Soon after, the train followed the shore line providing breath taking views of the sea and the Cascades Mountains in the background. Further stops in the state of Washington followed in Olympia-Lacey, WA, Centralia, WA, Kelso-Longview, WA and Vancouver, WA. Finally the train crossed the state border and entered Oregon. We reached our final station stop Portland, Oregon almost 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Before leaving the station I put my bag into storage. I then started walking towards downtown. I passed first through Chinatown and had a brief look at the Chinese Garden. I then turned towards the Willamette River walking alongside the embankment. I passed by the Maritime Museum of Portland and the Salmon Street Spring. I then turned headed towards downtown and eventually ended up at the Pioneer Courthouse Square. There I was listening to a free lunch concert that took place on the square. After the concert had ended I got hungry and went for lunch. After lunch I went further south until I reached the Portland Art Museum, where I spent most of the afternoon. The collection was really great. I started with contemporary art in the basement before seeing great works of Modernism followed by sculptures and Minimism. I then went to see the photography gallery featuring great works of Ansel Adams and many others. In the second building there were collections of Asian art and classic paintings as well as drawings. I wasn’t expecting to find so many great works of art in this very museum. After I had gone through the entire collection it was time to head back to the station. On the way back I still got some groceries. I arrived at the station well in time and still had some time to wait until train 507 Amtrak Cascades was boarding. I picked up my bag and had some dinner before I got on the train. The train came in on time from Seattle departed however slightly delayed from Portland. This Cascades train had better seats than the one in the morning and was obviously one of the older models. Train 507 did one stop at Oregon City, OR before reaching Salem, OR at 7.27 pm, about 15 minutes delayed. There were no taxis at the station so I had to call one. Luckily the abbey had provided me with a number of a local taxi company. First it seemed as nobody was picking up the phone and I started to get concerned about getting stranded in the middle of nowhere because there was just nothing around Salem station. Then however I reached the taxi company and they sent a car that came after about 15 minutes. The taxi driver was really nice, he knew the way to Mount Angel pretty well and used a much shorter route than the navigation system proposed. Still the ride took quite a while and was more than 53 dollars in the end. However, this was the only way to get to the Mount Angel Abbey. The ride itself was nice, passing through large corn fields while the sun was just setting. I arrived at the abbey just at twilight hour. Before entering the guest house I took a short walk around, also in order to have a first look at the Alvar Aalto building for which to see I had come all the way to Salem and Mount Angel. A monk checked me in at the guest house and showed me the way to my room. After I had put my bags into the room I went outside again to have a closer look at the abbey and its surroundings. I liked the place as it was so peaceful and quiet. After a little walk I went to sit down for a while on a bench just enjoying the beautiful view from the hill, while it was finally getting dark. Once back in the room I went to sleep soon.

Amtrak Cascades Seattle to Portland

Portland Union Station


Maritime Museum of Portland

Lunch concert at the Pioneer Courthouse Square

Portland Art Museum

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