Saturday, June 25, 2011

Portland, Oregon (Hotel, Dining, & Nightlife)

My fiance Shyawn and I spent four days over Memorial Day weekend visiting Portland, Oregon to celebrate our one year anniversary.

I am going to divide my report on Portland into two separate posts; one on hotel, dining, and nightlife and the second will be on sightseeing.

Portland is located about three hours from us by car, although neither one of us could claim that we had ever truly visited the city. As with many people I know from Seattle, we had both experienced many drive-bys and a few half-hearted visits. For years I had wanted to get a true taste of the city so when we were thinking of places to go and visit for our anniversary weekend I figured Portland would fit the bill as the perfect place for an economical long-weekend trip.

HotelHotel Modera was selected after reading its glowing reviews on both Trip Advisor and Yelp. I wanted to stay somewhere centrally located in the downtown area that was recently updated but one that also wouldn't break the bank. By booking directly through the hotel's website and paying for the room in advance, I was able to secure two nights at $109 and the third night at $99. Had I not done that, the room would have been about $30-$40 more per night. Since we had our car with us, I also paid ahead of time for valet parking which was $20 per night instead of $27 per night that we would have paid upon arrival.

The hotel was very modern and clean with lots of simple details that made it feel as though we were staying at a very upscale and luxurious place even though we had paid so little! I loved the fun and colorful art as well as the heavenly smelling Tarocco products in the bathroom. The staff was extremely accommodating and went out of their way to help us. I would stay here again in a heartbeat and definitely recommend it to anyone!
Lobby of Hotel Modera.
Elevators at Hotel Modera.
Our room at Hotel Modera. 
I loved this fun mirror in our room. 
Pretty orange bathroom at Hotel Modera.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

France's Château Country, the Loire Valley (Langeais, Chenonceau, Chaumont, Blois, Chambord, Cheverny, Amboise, Villandry, Azay le Rideau, Abbaye de Fontevraud, & Chinon)

Day 7 continued (Thursday, September 3, 2009)

From Fougeres, I began the very long drive towards the Loire Valley. Throughout the nearly three hour journey, the sun was in a constant battle with the clouds, but it appeared as though the sun was going to win, or at least I hoped so. Seeing blue skies while in the Loire Valley was extremely important to me as visiting and photographing the many château was one of the things I was most looking forward to during my visit to France.

My first stop within the Loire Valley was Château de Langeais, which was rebuilt in 1465 on the ruins of a 10th century fortress. This chateau is most famous for a well-known incident that occurred within its walls. In 1491, King Charles VIII secretly married the 14-year old Anne, the Duchess of Brittany at Langeais, a union which forever changed French history. Prior to the marriage, Brittany was complete independent of France, but afterward, it became a part of France.
Entrance to Chateau de Langeais.
View from Chateau de Langeais.
Chateau de Langeais.
Interior of Chateau de Langeais.
One of the many bedrooms at Chateau de Langeais.
Chateau de Langeais.

I thought that Château de Langeais had many interesting rooms, almost all of which were filled with period furniture from the 1400 or 1500’s. I also found it very helpful that there was an English explanation sheet in every one of the rooms.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A brief stop in Brittany: Cancale, Emerald Coast, Saint-Malo, Dinan, and Fougères

Day 6 (Wednesday, September 2, 2009)

I headed out of Mont. St. Michel early this morning in order to get a head start on my day. I was hoping to possibly see blue skies, but, unfortunately, that was not the case so my mostly cloudy and gray photos of the Mont from the day prior would have to suffice.

My first stop of the day was in the seaside town of Cancale. This small town of about 6,000 residents is famous for its many oyster beds, but I came to simply stroll the quiet backstreets and to enjoy the gorgeous water views. I also stopped in at a bakery to purchase my daily ration of croissants.
The town of Cancale from a distance. 
Cute house in Cancale. 
Street scene in Cancale.
Oysters for sale in Cancale.
Waterless harbor in Cancale.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Normandy Part Trois: Balleroy, Coutances, Granville, Villedieu-les-Poeles, and Mont St. Michel

Day 5 (Tuesday, September 1, 2009)

Much to my disappointment, I awoke to a cloudy morning in Bayeux. After getting ready and packing my bags, I walked over to a nearby grocery store and then a patisserie in order to stock up on some food.

My first stop of the day was a small town called Balleroy, where I had wanted to visit it’s chateau. The approach to the chateau was via a grand avenue that had identical trees lining the street the entire way. The chateau was commissioned back in 1631, and was owned for several centuries by the Counts of Balleroy. In 1970, the famous Malcolm Forbes purchased the palace and restored it. He also decided to create a museum within the chateau dedicated to ballooning, an avid pastime of his. Upon arrival, I noticed on the entrance sign that the chateau was closed on Tuesdays. I wasn’t too disappointed with this news though as I would soon be visiting many chateaus in the coming days when I headed over to the Loire Valley. Instead, I decided to just walk up as close as I could to the exterior of the chateau and snap a few pictures. Along the short walk, I met a very friendly black cat whom followed me along the path. I also met what I assumed was one of her kittens, an extremely cute black and white cat. I was in absolute heaven as I missed my own kitties dearly and was in need of some kitty loving. After obtaining some great shots of the beautiful exterior, I walked next-door to a church, took some photos, and then said goodbye to the cats.
Chateau de Balleroy 
An outbuilding at Chateau de Balleroy.

One of my kitty friends.
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