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Things to do in Portland: City Tour

Aug 17, 2007
Greyline tours offers a limited selection of tours of Portland and the surrounding areas. The one we took was the City tour combined with the tour of The Columbia River Gorge. It's a full day tour but it was a lot of fun. They must not get a lot of tourists in Portland or maybe it was the time of year that we visited because this our was only offered on Sundays and they were only 4 of us on a 49 passenger bus.

The City tour was pretty basic. The guide was great though. He knew all the history of the parks and buildings and pointed out all the interesting ones. At least he thought they were interesting. I was having a hard time staying awake looking at buildings.

But then we went to the International Rose Test Gardens. This place was beautiful. It would've been perfect if it hadn't been for all the dog poop all over the grass. There must have been over 200 kinds of roses. Of all colors. Orange, Red, White, Yellow, Purple, Pink, and more. They also had several other kinds of flowers. We went in late May and the roses had just started blooming. So there were a bunch but not as many as there are in June and July when they bloom in full season. I would love to see that.

Portland actually attracts one million visitors in June when they have a month long rose festival. All types of activities go one and it's a ton of fun. But it's hard to get hotel rooms so if you want to go, you should book early.

One thing about Portland the guide pointed out was that it rains 9 months out of the year. Wow. How they handle it I couldn't tell you. But they say it's a light drizzle not a full ruin. But that's just as bad in my book.

After the rose garden we were taken to the Chinese Garden in Chinatown. This garden is supposed to be a copy of another garden of Portland's sister city in China. The garden itself was beautiful. And we were lucky enough to arrive when the tour was starting. By listening to the tour guides you get a much better understanding of all the nuances and symbolism that you would miss without it. The tour made the visit really worthwhile.

After lunch we got back on the bus again for the second half of the tour - the Columbia River Gorge. A gorge is actually a chasm that the river cuts through the land. So the Columbia River Gorge is the name of the Columbia River and the land on both sides. Our first stop on this tour was the local dam and fish counting station. They have fish ladders here and someone actually sits and counts every single fish that swims by. They do this to keep track of the numbers of fish that come back to the area to spawn every year.

Stop number two was a fish hatchery where we go to see how the mass produce fish. Very gruesome. But we also got to see Herman the Sturgeon. He's a 10 foot sturgeon swimming around in his pool. Herman used to be 12 feet long, but someone came in at night and stole him so he was replaced by another fish who is now called Herman as well. The Sturgeon is the fish we get caviar from.

The best part of the day, in my eyes, was what we did next. We took a scenic old highway and saw six different waterfalls. Each of them unique and beautiful. It was fun jumping out of the bus and taking pictures of each one. Never have I seen so many waterfalls so close together. Multnomah Falls was the highlight. We stopped here for 45 minutes up to the bridge to get a closer view. Nature is just awesome.

The last part of the trip was a visit to the Crown Point Vista House. This area gives you a spectacular view of the whole Gorge from up top. Simply breathtaking.

If you want to see Portland and you only have one day to do it, do this tour. If you have a car though, every place we visited was free except the Chinese Garden. So you might want to go to Union Square, figure out which bus is going on what tour, and follow the bus. They only have two buses so it shouldn't be hard.
About the Author
Mrs. Kamadia is currently traveling the country while working as a travel nurse. Most of her expenses are paid for and she only works 3 days a week. To learn how visit her travel nursing website.
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