Portland is a fun place. Both Tanya and I love this place, and why not, it has all the stuff we love, cyclo-culture, amazing beer, foodie options, cool districts, chilled out just enough and just a little rough around the edges to make it interesting.
This isn’t an extensive list, we only had two days in Portland and one day was July 4th (everything was closed). These were our favorite activities.
- Rent bikes, if you have a little ones, go Dutch with Clever Cycles
- Get away from the heat in Forest Park
- Buy a baguette from Ken’s artisan bread and and fill it with goods from City Market
- Go to Hop Works Bike Bar
- Eat a Swedish breakfast at Broder, show up early to avoid a line
- Check out Alberta Street
- Eat ice cream from Salt and Straw
- Check out some of the many farmers markets
- Drink coffee in one of the cafes and think up skits for the next season of Portlandia
Tanya and I are foodies and our travels usually have a food and drink spin, so if that isn’t your thing, download a copy of Travel Portland Magazine for many more options of what to see, do, and eat.
The scenery along the cowboy trail.
The Cowboy Trail (hwy 22 & 6) was one of the last things we saw while we were in Alberta. It starts in Mayerthorpe and heads south to the USA border through Waterton National Park. This slower, scenic route is definitely worth the drive. Bright green hills on the left and jagged mountains on the right, this is what I think when I think of Alberta scenery. This is also a great way to end the Alberta part of our holidays.
Both Tanya and I never really understood all the fuss with Alberta Beef, we thought that it was like most beef that is produced in North America. But this is no normal beef, and our drive down the cowboy trail was proof of this.
Upon the hundreds of thousands of acres that we saw while driving, we saw many cows eating grass (which is what they are supposed to eat). With the ability to roam free and walk about, this is the reason Alberta Beef tastes so good.
Why does this matter? Most of the beef that is produced in North America is produced in a feedlot. Fueled by corn and 24 hours of light, cows are jammed into a small building to produce what some call meat. Even though this meat is cheaper, I avoid this meat as I don’t agree with its practices.
This trip has changed our view of Alberta Beef, and thanks to the cowboy trail, you can see real cowboys (really, we saw a bunch herding cattle) creating some tasty beef.
Just out for a walk an a beautiful sunny evening in Edmonton.
Sometimes you just have to stop and look up.
Life through the screen
I am not really sure when it happened, but all of a sudden we seem to living life through the screen. I am not saying this is a bad thing, nor is it a good thing, it just is what we (and possibly you) do. Documenting out lives through photos, tweets, status updates and sms, this is the 21st century.
Is it really that different?
I would argue that people have been tracking their lives as long as there have been tools to do so. From writing journals to making photo albums to what we do now, we have always wanted to document our experiences. Our brains are hardwired to forget trivial information and experiences, but that doesn’t mean that we want to forget them.
This is to remembering (or documenting) the trivial, and not so trivial experiences.
While visiting friends in Calgary, we went to Wild Rose Brewery for lunch. I decided to order the sample pack and taste the beers that Wild Rose Brewery produces. Here are my favorites (and not so favorites).
- S.O.B. is a slightly bitter and friendly session ale. This is the perfect drink for a weekend afternoon.
- HooDoo Hef is really nice. A well balanced hefeweizen with character, interesting, slightly sweet, and with the promised clove flavour. There is a slight banana flavour as well. Great mouth feel, great beer. This is a seasonal brew and is one of my favorites.
- Wred Wheat is a good amber ale, balanced, interesting, dependable and something that you could drink all night.
- The Brown ale is chocolatey and malty, delicious and another great beer by Wild Rose Brewery.
The not so good
- Velvet fog is boring, no flavour stands out, and this unfiltered beer looks more interesting then it tastes. The beer does have great mouth feel, but not worth experiencing twice.
- The IPA is a little off, I can’t put my finger on it, but it just isn’t like the IPAs from Victoria and Vancouver.
- Alberta Crude has a great start, complex flavours, a smooth beginning and a great middle, however, the finish doesn’t live up to the start. A bitter note near the end leaves you a little confused, and you wonder what happened to the great start.
Wild rose has a full line of beers with great variety. There are some real treats (Wred Wheat and Brown Ale). The seasonal is fun and interesting, definitely showing you that the brew master knows how to make new and interesting beers.