Portland, Oregon: Independence, from whom?

Finally we got to visit Portland, the city we had heard so much of. It greeted us with 12 bridges of varying sizes, designs and usages crossing over the Willamette River. We had a guided tour to Portland’s coolest sites by locals.

My husbands’ cousins took us to a lovely area surrounding the Mississippi avenue with numerous chick shops and restaurants. After lunch in ‘Por qué no?’, a mexican restaurant we headed downtown.

Our tour started with delicious ice creams at Ruby Jewel, after which we went to the world’s biggest book store, Powell’s city of books. Totally worth spending a few hours exploring its million – new and used – books under three and a half thousand categories.

After Powell’s we visited the West End shop, a women’s clothing boutique owned by my husband’s cousin, and saw mountain Hood from 11th floor of her apartment.

Portland hosts tens of different food trucks serving food all over the world, from Poland to Japan, in one of its central quarters, SW 9th & Washington. A Living room movie theater offers movies with a dinner. Beautiful coffee shops and boutiques can be found side by side within a few quarters from Powell’s.

We didn’t spend our nights in the city, but in a suburb called Sherwood. Sherwood was a picturesque little place with beautiful neighborhoods and parks, surrounded by vineyards.

We got to experience the traditional 4th of July barbecue starting with a cute little parade in the morning. The boys were super excited about seeing police officers who wished happy fourth, and about candies thrown by the kids walking in the parade.

It happened to be our anniversary and so we escaped for a couple of hours to visit the Ponzi vineyards and did some wine tasting. Their oak barreled Chardonnay revealed to be delicious!

In the evening relatives came over, and the whole street gathered around a barbecue hosted by Arttu’s cousin and her husband. Fireworks echoed through the night and the US flags decorated porches.

The next morning we would start finding our way towards East. The road trip would really begin. Listening to fireworks in the darkness I took my new book, the People’s history of the United States by Howard Zinn that I bought from Powell’s and started reading about the stories that never get told in schools.

Independence Day, I thought, the day the great nation freed itself from the British Empire but destroyed all the native nations of the New Empire.