Nine Oregon beauty spots near Portland

My abiding memory of Oregon is rich, multi-layered, far-reaching greenness. Of yellow-green grasses rolling down to the sea; of forest-green walls of fir surrounding us on drives down long, straight roads; of bottle-green mosses and teal-green waters. Green is the colour the Pacific Northwest wears so well, as if to prove all other colours unnecessary. During my time in Portland — a trip that lasted a little over a week — I managed to get out of the city on two separate road trips to immerse myself in this immense greenery. At the time of my trip it felt as…

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Finding peace in Portland’s prettiest gardens

Portland is rightly and justly lauded for many reasons, but the beauty of its landscape and urban architecture isn’t one of them. With garden-of-eden nature brushing right up against the bleeding edges of the city limits and Mount Hood towering over it in the distance, it doesn’t really need it. But look a little closer and you’ll find 10,000 acres of public parks amid the concrete and sprawl of the city. Among these, a handful of carefully manicured gardens really are Portland’s diamonds in the rough. Here are three that stood out to me. Lan Su Chinese Garden Occupying a…

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Embracing weirdness and wildness in Portland

Oh, that lo-fi Portland buzz. It’s all under-the-radar, no try-hards please, yoga-or-die, meme-worthy hipster cliches here, but I dare you not to love it. As something of a pilgrimage spot for things I love the most in life (cheese, beer, bookshops), Portland was already on my radar as somewhere I wanted to go one day. When a family wedding in the city compelled me to book a ticket, I put up zero resistance. My only regret is that I couldn’t spend longer there — in Portland itself, but also in Oregon and the wider Pacific Northwest region. If you ever…

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The best of Rome

Visiting the cultural, historical, gastronomical, architectural behemoth that is Rome without a plan of attack would be a fool’s errand by any stretch of the imagination. With a blow-by-blow itinerary that included tactical naps, pre-booked, timed tickets, backup bars and restaurants and backups for the backups, there was no way I was going the Eternal City slip through my fingers on my very first trip. I know — I sound like the tourist of nightmares. But I’d like it to be known this is not my preferred approach to a city break. Ideally I’d like to stay for a month,…

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Behind the shot: the Northern Lights and me

This photo of me with looking out at the Northern Lights makes me so happy every time I look at it. But the story of how we got the shot while we were on holiday in Iceland is not what you might expect… I had a good feeling about Hofn from the start, which is odd given that it is not a place that makes a spectacular first impression.  It turns out that I had great intuition: it was a town full of surprises. First there is its name, which is not pronounced Hoffen, as we’d been calling it before…

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