Portland and Manzanita

In preparation for a few days beside the seaside, we went to CostCo to get some food. It was 9am. The shop didn’t open until 10. So much for it being conveniently located so close to our Airbnb!

We passed the time with coffee and bagels. Again, the café was playing Beatles music. Most of them seem to in America, which is OK by me as I have no Beatles music on my phone!

As we drove by the so-called Sniff Dog Hotel, Liesel said, “Isn’t that just a kennel?”

Shopping done, we drove into Portland to meet Jyoti and Gita for a late breakfast. It’s a hilly old city is Portland, when you have to walk that far for what for us was an early lunch.

The old and the new in Portland

Cheryl’s was where we ended up after the first place told us there was a 35-minute wait. My tummy grumbled its disapproval, I think everyone’s did, which is why we ended up at Cheryl’s. And the background music was by…? No prizes, just for fun! (The Beatles, of course.)

We walked back up the hill via the biggest bookshop in the world, Powell’s Books, and guess whose book was the first one I noticed, prominently displayed by one of the front doors?

Another Mary Beard book that we’ll read one day
Smug: Mick has this book on his Kindle
A big book shop

We spent quite a while in this shop, I could’ve bought several books. Instead I just added the titles to my ‘list of books to read one day’: we are travelling light, after all.

The best and funniest toy was this:

Not universally popular, this president

We carried on walking and passed he library where we saw this sculpture: Dans La Nuit (Lovers) made by Gaston Lachaise in 1934.

Dans La Nuit (Lovers)

This was a spooky moment because, while in the bookshop just few minutes earlier, I’d misread the title of a JRR Tolkien book as ‘The Two Lovers’.

JRR Tolkien’s The Two Lovers (at first sight)

We left Gita and her Mom at her apartment while we drove out of Portland and towards the Pacific Ocean. The drive was a couple of hours long, through the trees, lots of trees, it was very green. And hilly. And of course, it rained again while we were on the road. But this had its compensations when we stopped to look at the view. Early in the afternoon, the Sun is quite high in the sky, so any rainbow will be low down. Wow, what a beautiful sight.

Rainbow valley

As we approached Manzanita, not only was the road hilly, hitting altitudes of b etween 1000 and 2000 feet, it became more and more winding. Whoever designed that section of the road must have been drunk! Actually, I suspect the hills determined the route of the road.

We found our Airbnb easily, and as the blurb had siad, it is just a five minute walk to the beach. Klaus and Leslie were already there having spent the previous night just down the road.

We walked down to the baech to watch the Sun set over the ocean but alas and alack, the horizon was shrouded in cloud. It was still a wonderful sight though, the beach was very long and the tide was out and there were very few other people. The only problem was, the grass growing on the dunes is very sharp and pointed.

A quick walk to the beach
And a pretty good sunset

Jyoti, Gita and Josh arrived later, and, having eaten on the way, we all wandered down to the beach again. The sky was as dark as I’ve ever seen: no light pollution. As our eyes adjusted, we saw hundreds of stars, some recognisable constellations and best of all, the Milky Way arched overhead. We never see it that clearly at home in England, so this really was a treat.

Josh works as a Park Ranger locally and he said this was the clearest he’d ever seen it too.

Next day after Liesel got up, I played around with the camera on my phone. It was unlikely but I thought, if the sky’s that dark and clear tonight too, I want to try and take some photos. So I worked out th optimum settings and kept my fingers crossed.

After an eggy breakfast thanks to Liesel and her grandma’s old recipe, most of us went for a long, long walk on the beach. My legs enjoyed being scratched by the grass.

Liesel and her Mom, Gita and her Mom

There were quite a few other people on the beach today, which we found a bit intrusive. There were signs that bikes had been ridden earlier, and horses too. There was even a big dollop of horse manure.

We saw some seals in the sea, lots of seabirds, the most interesting one being a pelican: it’s mouth can hold more than its belly can.

Look hard, you can see a seal
Look hard, you can see a pelican

Plenty of driftwood at the top of the beach, a couple of jellyfish near the highgtide line, some seaweed but most importantly, Sun, sea, sand and, er, blue skies with fabulous fluffy clouds.

Gita skipping with kelp

When we found the gap in the dunes that would take us back to our home for the weekend, we sat down, lay down, had a kip, soaked up some rays. It was just like being on holiday.

Later in the afternoon, we went to the township itself, Manzanita where there was a Farmers Market for late risers: it didn’t open until 4pm. We looked in all the shops too, on the mian road.

A whale of a bench in Manzanita

It’s 2018 and so sad that it is still necessary to put this sort of sign up in a window. Surely this should be the default setting by now?

What about the Martians?

Farmers Market, then: coffee, scones, cookies, apples, free ice cream because it’s the last one of the year, cheese samples, blueberries, all justified because of our incredibly long walk this morning.

On the other hand, Jyoti and I walked back to our luxury beachside accommodation with her (Gita’s) dog Shanti while Liesel and her Mom looked at more shops.

After dark, after everyone had gone to bed, I went out into the dark night with my phone and a book. Yes, nice and drak, but disappointingly, there were clouds obscuring the view. I could see stars but couldn’t make out the Milky Way tonight. Still, I took some photos and while I can’t identify any of the objects in the field of view, it looks like stars! And the background is dark too. So, all my experimenting in bed this morning paid off. Have a look at this photo: this might not work, but try to download it and see if you can view any stars when the picture’s enlarged:

It’s full of stars

Author: mickandlieselsantics

We are a married couple, one American, one Brit, one male, one female, neither of us as fit as we would like to be, well over 100 years old altogether.

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