Thursday, May 16, 2013

Urban Trekker

    I never imagined that painting the kitchen could lead to so much fun. I’m almost reluctant to see it end!

    When the wear and tear of 13 years began to pock the pristine whites of our cabinet-filled kitchen, we consulted painters and weighed the economic and lifestyle impact of a project that would lock down the kitchen for three weeks.
Three weeks of sanding, patching, painting and drying? We decided to escape the paint by moving 100 miles north to Portland.
    Dean and I have been coming to Portland all our lives. Growing up in Oregon, we drove to Portland to shop or celebrate a birthday. We knew the city’s major arteries. But this time, we dropped our bags in a vacation rental apartment and became tourists in a new territory. Our exploration has turned into a trek!

    Urged on by Laura Foster’s wonderful Portland City Walks, my pedometer has been clicking enthusiastically as we’ve explored new routes through a city we thought we knew. Foster’s reporting and observational skills have guided us eagerly through historic neighborhoods, scenic park areas, foodie haunts, and the trendy transitional settings of Portlandia fame. We’ve traveled greenways beside the Willamette River and peered at busy shipping docks. 

    Yesterday’s walk, (which included a bit of directional confusion as we left Pittock Mansion in Washington Park) brought us back with a record 18,000 steps and a sense of awe for the wealth and the vision that shaped this city.

    I love the insight of a Proust quote that reminds me, “The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”  On foot, my eyes find different subjects than reveal themselves during motorized travel. I’m on a voyage of discovery that’s shedding new light on a place I’ve known all my life. What began as an escape from paint is morphing into new potential as a focus for future travel. Three weeks of urban trekking on the streets of San Francisco?  Or maybe New York City?

   Perhaps we’ll paint the bedroom next!

     Laura Foster writes a blog that offers additional walks and stories from the Portland area.  Her walking guide is available in Portland area book stores or on line.

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