USA West Coast road trip – Portland (28 November)

In Portland, we celebrated Kaija’s 30th birthday. The night before, we decided to stop in the typical American roadside motel. Earlier nights we slept in the car which was actually pretty convenient due to the size of it. We bought some cheese, fruits, sweets, and vine and started celebrating the birthday already according to Estonian time. Next morning, on the real birthday day, Jaanus had planned some surprises. Unfortunately, Kaija managed to figure some parts of the plan out, because Jaanus tends not to be very good at keeping secrets 😊

We started the day in the typical American diner where we had proper breakfast. In places like this, you get huge portions. Typical breakfast consists of hash browns (which are Kaija’s favorites), omelet, fried egg or smashed eggs and pancakes or waffles with maple sirup. Usually, you get coffee with a free refill. After filling our guts with all of this, we continued with the next part of celebrating the birthday.

The first present was a spa with a massage. Kaija was bit surprised when we arrived at the middle of the suburb area. She thought, it is not possible that there is a spa in those private houses, but it turned out that there actually can. It is just not the spa complex we are used to in Estonia. This spa was built in the basement area of two private houses. This particular spa was also different in this sense that you could be naked there or with your swimsuit as you wish. This came as an interesting surprise for both of us. But its Kaija’s 30th birthday and so there is no better time to try new things when you start your forties. Still, We decided to leave our swimsuits on despite that pretty much everyone else was naked. The place itself was very civilized. Most of the people were young and fit and sort of hipi styled people who meditated there. The spa had very strict rules – we had to sign a paper stating that we will be quiet and will not disturb anybody, will not stare nor touch anybody including your own partner. The spa was quite small but cozy. There was one outdoor big jacuzzi and three saunas including the steam sauna. Being used to the proper saunas in Estonia we made fun of how low the sauna seats where, because the hot steam did not reach you unless you stand up. No one builds a sauna like that in Estonia. Still, it was great to have a sauna after such a long time. Without a doubt, it was one of the most unique events during our trip so far – every day you find and learn something new and interesting for yourself 😉

The second present was something which Kaija did herself by going to Ross for shopping. Ross is known for its low prices for quality brands. It’s stunning how much cheaper the goods are comparing to the high prices of the same things in Estonia.

Next, Jaanus had rented one nice Airbnb place where we could make ourselves ready for the third present. Jaanus took Kaija out for a dinner. We went to a unique small restaurant in Southeast Portland called Willow that offers a 6-course tasting menu. Its restricted to 11-seat at Chef’s Counter for a dynamic and interactive meal. Every course included a detailed description from the Chef. According to research, Jaanus found that this place should even have a Michelin star but we were unable to verify the same when we were there. It was surprising that the whole place was run by two men. They did everything themselves – from preparing the food, cooking it, serving til washing the dishes. Ok ok, they had a dishwasher for this actually. The main Chef was very entertaining and the food was incredible. It was as good as in top restaurants in Estonia where you have the whole team running the place.

We very much enjoyed the evening and the whole day and it was nice for a while to loosen our budget for a proper birthday celebration. Everyone needs a treat from time to time.

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