Travel Journal


Portland, Oregon


Drink cocktails like Hemingway at the Solo Club (where you’ll get so sloshed you’ll talk to the fish carafes). That’s when you order a matcha/cherry sponge cake to soak up the alcohol.


Solid brasserie fare (and portions) at Resto St. Jack. Made room for dessert even though I was stuffed to the gills. Sit at the “bar” for the best view (and smell!) of the kitchen

Friends told me to go to Portland for: 1) Hikes and 2) Eats.

Since I went in winter, I could only do the latter. Here’s a list of my top-faves:

  1. Best Happy Hour: Clyde Common
  2. Best Tarte Tartine: Restaurant St. Jack
  3. Best Thai Chili Wings: Pok Pok
  4. Best Coffee: Commissary
  5. Best Late-night Bite(s): Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen
  6. Best Dessert/Ambiance: The Solo Club
  7. Best Kale Salad: Oven & Shaker (also, fried chickpeas)

Skip the sites (except for Powell’s City of Books – as a bibliophile, I was drooling).

Enjoy my list!


Reykjavik, Iceland

November 19-25.

Swimming between two tectonic plates in Silfra, National Park Thingvellir. It’s some of the clearest water on Earth to dive into. These photos were taken in the beginning, where we mucked up a bit of sand – from floundering against each other, adjusting to our tight suits, and generally ecstatically looking around – like kids on a Disneyland ride.

Yes, we snorkeled in freezing water (about 0 degrees Celsius that day, in pouring rain). We had a drysuit on top of a wetsuit, so only needed one layer of thermal underwear – but two pairs of socks (I’d recommend your thickest, & woolliest, as that froze first). Then the face and mouth are mostly covered up, but your lips will be blue by the end. Hands too, as your gloves allow water to pass through! The 30 minutes is more than enough.

What’s it like to swim through channels with water so clear and blue you can see 80 metres down? A bit eerie and surreal, like a science-fiction movie. I wandered from the group and drifted over some canyons with alien-looking wisps of algae. The lack of life makes it seem mildly desolate, like one of the few untouched places of the world.

The group we joined was Perks? Transfers from Reyjavik, photos taken of us, and a rather congenial guide with hot chocolate and biscuits at the end. Yum!


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