Matt's friend from high school, Thomas, lives in Portland. We spent the day with him. Thomas and his wife met us for breakfast at a hip spot in the city. The food was so so good. Great Falls is definitely lacking in the restaurant department. Plus we rarely eat out in our day to day lives. So I love getting to try new restaurants when we travel. After breakfast, we went to Washington Park. It's 400 acres and has several attractions. We visited the Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden.
Portland Rose Garden
The roses were beautiful. The views of the city were beautiful. But I was very aware of the crowds. After living a year in Montana, I have gotten used to very little traffic and a low population. Portland and the gardens we visited seemed very crowded. I would go back to Portland to visit in a heartbeat, but I think at heart I like living in a small city.
Portland Japanese Garden
Thomas got us in free to the Japanese Gardens which is why we picked it over the zoo. The gardens were very pretty and felt very "Japanese." We were supposed to be quiet and almost reverent. Our kids were pretty good. We did run into an annoyed grandpa a few times though.
I liked all the fountains and the zen rock gardens.
Willa liked the scavenger hunt, and the boys liked the koi fish.
Our flight wasn't until 6 so we spent the rest of the day catching up with Thomas at his house.
Our travel day to Portland was uneventful. This travel day was the opposite. We returned the rental car and took the shuttle back to the airport. While we were checking in at the airport, Oliver disappeared. Talk about scary. We found him within a few minutes and he was standing with another family just around a corner, but those 3 or 4 minutes seemed like 30 when Matt and I were frantically running around trying to find him. Our second flight was a little delayed. We didn't land in Great Falls until after midnight. None of our kids had slept much all day. We were all exhausted and looking forward to getting home. When we got back to our car, it wouldn't start. One of our kids had left a dome light on. We flagged someone down and he tried to jump the van. No luck. It was in some sort of security mode and instead of starting up, the horn started blaring and the lights started flashing. We couldn't get the car to start. We ended up calling a friend to come and pick us up and left the van behind. It was after 1 am when we finally got home. We were able to get the van started the next day after a little google search. Vacations are awesome. Traveling sucks though.