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Oregon, my Oregon. Also: Europe is Go!

The Pacific Northwest Part:

I'm back from my annual pilgrimage to beautiful Oregon! Which, as always, was beautiful, though hotter than normal. 100°F to begin with. We went up for Dear Old Dad's 75th birthday celebration on the 4th of July, which began with a Portland/DOD-specific scavenger hunt with 75 clues! My aunt and uncle drove myself, McDiva, and 7-year-old Nephew all over town looking for Voodoo Donut boxes, electric cars (that was a gimme), my sister's memorial bench, and "proof that Portland is keeping it weird". McDiva had refused to participate, but when she saw the clue list, she offered to be our official team photographer. Then the party got underway at a public park, under a large shady awning. My aunties brought lovely pies and cobblers made with home grown berries — including Aunt Nellie's Blackberry Pudding, an old family recipe famous for including the ingredient "butter the size of an egg". Nummy.

It was lovely seeing the whole extended family, and the party would have been practically perfect, except for the dead body. I mentioned the heat, right? An older fellow (my age, probably) who was also enjoying the park with his girlfriend had decided to take a nap in another shady area, and...didn't wake up. Some of the people at our gathering were unaware of all this, as it was discovered later in the afternoon. But the family doctor and his brother were in the thick of resuscitation attempts, and very shaken. Then Nephew, who had been playing hard all afternoon, and not necessarily keeping out of the sun, got a touch of heat exhaustion, though he rebounded within a few hours. Heat: I'm against it.

After all that, the rest of the week was more typical. We met up with friends and family. McDiva did a hefty amount of thrift shopping, her favorite activity. Many of the guys went for extended bike rides. We hiked up city hills and to Columbia River Gorge waterfalls. We ate amazing food, for which Portland is becoming justly famous. At one place, I ate my excellent broccoli rabe/pepper sandwich at a picnic table while being misted like the vegetable display at a fancy grocery. Oh, and she and MiAmor both got new computers. Even the PDX cuckoo clock has "tax free shopping" as one of the highlights of visiting Portland, along with craft beers, and funny beards.

McDiva took a train ride up to Olympia, Washington to visit one of her friends, and when she got back DOD took her and Nephew on a camping trip! I'm sorry to say, it was probably her first one, with tents and sleeping bags and all. We've done plenty of cabin stays, but not much in plein air.

Once I got back, my mind turned to thoughts of Europe:

I bought our plane tickets! It's happening! I was hoping to make London our first stop, but due to the vagaries of airfares, it was less expensive to go to Paris for a week to start. Whee! I'm taking McDiva, who has never been Over There, and then we will meet MiAmor and the rest of the family in Rome for the Wedding Week, and the 3rd week will be a combo of Venice and Florence, from which we will fly home. Whee: it bears repeating.

Do any of you have apartment recommendations for Paris, Rome, or Florence? I think we're all set in Venice, where the bride has booked a palazzo. *sighs dreamily*

Give me your tips! Like, for instance, would it be inadvisable to take the Chunnel to GB for a day (or two) trip? And let me know if you might be available to meet up at one of those points in October!

This entry was originally posted at http://rebcake.dreamwidth.org/39017.html. Please comment here or there using OpenID.

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
herself_nyc
Jul. 17th, 2015 10:55 pm (UTC)
Have you been to Paris before? If not, you'll probably want to just do Paris things for a week. But I have taken the chunnel train and it's fun and of course London is London, so either way you probably can't go wrong.

A friend who just came back from Europe found he did well booking stays at AirBnB.
rebcake
Jul. 18th, 2015 02:33 am (UTC)
I've never been to London, though. *pines*

I have been to Paris, but McDiva has not. I'm sure we can easily fill a whole week, especially as we seem to be agreed on most things — yes to catacombs, no to going up the Eiffel Tower, yes to Versailles — but she is partial to shopping while I am much more into museums. DoD may be joining us there, so that will also be a factor. So many spreadsheets to build before I go! (I like the planning part quite a bit. Can you tell?)
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 17th, 2015 11:14 pm (UTC)
Eurostar is pretty easy - about 2.5 hours each way, with a check in beforehand. You will have the time difference the right way round too, gaining an hour coming to London, which is handy. Also, you know, London. :) (Though I have a bad feeling I'm in Venice when you're in Paris, which is not helpful for meeting up.) It arrives at Kings Cross, so very convenient for pretty much anywhere in central London you might care to visit.

In Paris the in place is still the Marais, I think, but I loved being on the left bank near Rue du Bac if you can find somewhere in that neighbourhood instead. Not likely to be cheap, though.

I'm strictly hotels not apartment rentals because I'm on my own, but if you would consider a hotel in Rome, this is a gem: http://www.lancelothotel.com/. Not in the shithole by the Termini station, or the boring shopping district - you're close to the Colosseum in a less touristy area but great for sites and transport. Also the hotel is the last place in the universe to offer half-board, with communal tables to eat good food at decent prices. (Optional, but worth considering.) Some of the guests will be at the WHO or have people in the nearby hospital, it's comfortable enough to stay a while.

That's all I have, I'm afraid. But it'll be amazing.




rebcake
Jul. 18th, 2015 02:53 am (UTC)
I'm definitely looking for a place in the Marais, if possible.

I'm looking up that hotel! It is in the area we want. The wedding is at Santa Maria in Aracoeli, and the after party at a hotel near the Colosseum. I mean, I'd be pretty happy staying in Trastevere, or the Navona area, but it would be best if we can minimize walking for the old-ish and very young. The spread will be from 3-75 years old, at least. Mr. 75 is used to trekking around quite a bit, but we'll see how he does with his new knee later this month.

This are all very helpful. I do wish we were going to be in the same place, though!
shapinglight
Jul. 19th, 2015 07:06 pm (UTC)
Afraid I can't help with the places to stay thing. It's years since I was in either Paris or Rome, and though the apartment we stayed at in Rome was nice (I based Buffy's apartment in Vampire Winter on it), it was some distance from the centre.

If you make it to London, I'll definitely come down. It would be great to see you.

ETA: Your visit to Oregon sounds a little more 'interesting' than you might have liked.

Edited at 2015-07-19 07:06 pm (UTC)
rebcake
Jul. 20th, 2015 03:55 am (UTC)
If you make it to London, I'll definitely come down.

How sweet you are! I'll definitely let you know if it looks like it might happen.

Oregon had its bumps, it's true, but I kinda roll with things, if I can. Anyway, I can usually find a bright side, and mostly did so. All of my various family members made it safely home. Nephew pulled through to get very slightly injured another day.

Digression: I recently read an article saying that optimistic people have one trait in common: they are always late for things. I am one of those, on both counts, though I've gotten less late as I grow less optimistic, I suppose. Maybe I'll be on time for my own funeral, at any rate. (I was just a smidge late for my wedding, thereby fulfilling the childhood predictions of my parents.)
shapinglight
Jul. 20th, 2015 04:54 pm (UTC)
That's interesting.

I always used to be pathologically early for things. Now, I find I'm often late. On the other hand, can't say I've noticed myself getting any more optimistic. ;)
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