Friday, October 27, 2017

Hanging with Amy 2017: Part V - Portland gardens, OMSI, and German food

For our final day in Portland, we were a bit more laid-back and played the day by ear. The first thing Amy wanted to see was the International Rose Test Garden. I'd come twice before, but only in June. I hadn't realized so many roses would still be in bloom mid-September.
I took lots of Amy pictures since Oscar had already taken plenty of me on our last trip here. Gardens are more her thing anyway.
It was really difficult to get a picture that wasn't a close-up without people in it.
The 2nd down on the left in the middle picture is called raspberry swirl. It's the only one I remember since it made me think of an ice cream flavor.

Amy was thrilled with English nerd delight to discover the Shakespeare Garden.

She especially liked the trumpet flowers (Amy plays the trumpet).

There were some Polynesian dancers rehearsing in the little amphitheater as we walked by.

There was also a cute little building for the bathrooms, which were unfortunately closed for the season.

We went to the Japanese Garden next. Fewer blooms. More zen. The Japanese Garden charges for admission while the Rose garden does not, so we'd never checked it out on our previous visits.

They had beautiful sand gardens but they wouldn't let Amy go frolic in them, much to her dismay.

 Our only waterfalls this trip. 

The goldfish were neat!

Plenty of people had thrown coins into the river, in spite of the "coins prohibited" signs.

A nice city overlook, if a bit distant.

Next we drove down to the OMSI museum. I was able to get us in free with our museum travel pass, but we did have to pay extra for the Pompeii exhibit. The artifacts are incredibly well preserved from the many layers of ash. There was a quote there saying "we learn most about a society best from its trauma."

I must go to the actual Pompeii someday.

They had a cool simulation room showing the effects of the volcano and how quickly it destroyed the city.

At the end there were actual bodies molded out of the ash they were buried in. It was fascinating but incredibly sad. I wanted to have a picture to remember it, but I couldn't bear to take a picture of the humans, particularly the little children. I contented myself with this guard dog.

Afterwards we got to see what I'd wanted to come here for - the prenatal exhibit. They have real embryos and fetuses from 4 weeks through 33. It's just mind blowing. I could have stayed there all day reading about all the different features that develop each week. I should mention that none of these babies were aborted. All died from either miscarriage or accidental trauma. The last baby was still preserved in the uterus, so I'm assuming her mom died too :(

It's sad to see all those babies that never got to take their first breath, but it's also very striking, particularly after you've carried a child. If I were pregnant and lived near Portland I would seriously visit every week to say "this is what my baby looks like now." It would be so much more meaningful than the standard "my baby is the size of a blueberry/peach/etc. because those don't reflect the form of the baby and how it has real human body parts.

Eventually I was drawn away from the prenatal exhibit. We saw a really neat geode and a cool digital globe showing different geological features, like hurricane patterns and volcano activity.

After that we had lunch, which was delicious but required a longer wait than we were expecting.

There was also an inventors fair outside. We wandered around in the frigid cold and rain, bought some local honey, met a huge WALL-E and climbed up in 'The Walking Beast'.

From there we got some tasty donuts from Blue Star donuts. I had blueberry cake with basil and passionfruit/cayenne/cocoa nib while Amy had a cinnamon sugar with cardamom and a Horchata glazed.

And we finished off the day at Gustav's, my favorite German restaurant. I was sad to hear they'd closed the one in downtown Portland due to serious issues with the old building, but there are three other restaurants in the suburbs around Portland. I was delighted to have delicious fondue again!