Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Portland's Esplanade

The sun came to Portland during Rose Festival!! Briefly. Ked and I had not seen her face for weeks. We knew the chances were high that our renewed acquaintance would be short, but we could make it sweet, so we decided to head out into the world on a beautiful Sunday to see the sights and soak in the feel of a city awash with masses of cheerful frolickers. Maybe I should avoid words like "soak" and "awash" though. It was a particularly soggy spring around these parts, and the golden orb is even now a little shy of company and tends to hide in her room.

Never mind the rain--let's move on to our city adventure. The Willamette River runs through the middle of Portland, and there is a lovely walk, called the Esplanade, which parallels the water on both sides for about three miles, and crosses it at several bridges along the way. The east side has a beautiful view across to the city skyline and Waterfront Park, and the west side walk takes you along the park itself, which on this particular Sunday housed the carnival that is an annual Rose Festival attraction. The bridges offer gorgeous views of the city, the river, and on clear days will give you a look at our wonderful Northwest mountains. Few sights can top that of Mount Hood in all her glory, still wrapped in winter white, but shining in the spring sunshine!

Now, you know I'm not telling you all of this because I think you're going to be interested in the fact that Ked and I had a fun outing. Of course I want to show you pictures!! Click on them if you want to see them enlarged, and come walk the Esplanade with me!!

The Esplanade designers did their best to make the walk beautiful, artsy, and user friendly. The walk parallels a freeway to its east, but you really don't notice it much once you reach the river. The walkway is wide enough for pedestrians, bicyclists, skateboarders, and rollerbladers all to share the space pretty comfortably, as long as folks remember to follow sensible rules-of-the-road. Pretty easy, unless you get too distracted by snapping pictures and enjoying how pretty the view is!!

Part of the entertainment along the river is watching the bridges go up and down to allow ships to pass (unless you're in a car, waiting to cross that bridge!) Portland sits where the Willamette flows into the Columbia, and both are deep enough to allow large ships to come quite a ways inland, making Portland a very active port city.

The Willamette has its share of smaller boats as well, and a sunny weekend will find the river flowing with traffic.

My motto: Never miss the opportunity to wear a sunhat!!

I found myself wondering how this tree formed into this particular shape. Wonder if one of our famous local ice storms took out a chunk of the middle some year? Clearly Ked's not thinking of ice here, though. He's just enjoying the day.

Love to see our flag standing at attention.

I found this aspect fun, with all those intersecting angles.

Walking along the Esplanade, you definitely get a sense of why Portland is sometimes called Bridge City.

Plenty of room for traffic here, but for some reason I did manage to get quite a few shots with a minimum of people in them. I love the flow of this one.

The freeway passing overhead really just feels like part of the scenery--sort of like the monorail at Disneyland. Ooh! Speaking of Disneyland, we're heading there soon with some dear friends, and I can't wait!! I love doing the Disney thing with other people's kids! (A bit off topic, I know, but I'm just so darned excited!!!!)

Don't ask me why I felt the need to get a shot of rust and peeling paint. I just thought it looked cool.

Waterfront Park has some charm, don't you think?

We loved the look of this ride from underneath. It has such an old-fashioned carnival look to it. Makes me want cotton candy--and I don't even like cotton candy!!

A sunny day will always bring out the fountain-dwellers.

.. and let's not forget the street musicians! What would life be without jazz in a Mickey Mouse hat? (This guy was pretty good.)

Oh, for the courage to be flung in the air...
Nope, ain't there. If I get really relaxed and happy first, though, I can probably get myself to go on Tower of Terror at D-land again!

Here's where we say goodbye to our Sunday stroll. Ked and I crossed the bridge and headed back to our car after this. Nice view of the city from this bridge, doncha think? The bustle of the crowd meets the serenity of a near-summer day. Gotta love Portland.