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by Josh Weimer, online editor

My original intentions when visiting Portland were pretty clear: show up at the Rubik’s Cube National Competition, spend as much time as possible over the next three days geeking out over my favorite combination of stickers and plastic, and then leave. However, when I realized entirely different plans had been arranged, and that sightseeing was inevitable, my expectations weren’t especially high (sorry Mom).

My first stop in Portland was at the Alberta Street Fair, an annual event featuring street performers, music, and plenty of shops to stroll through. I ate dinner at Stella’s Tacos, a joint somewhat comparable to Torchy’s, owned by a distant cousin of mine. The breakfast tacos were A+, and probably the best ones I’ve ever tried.

IMG_0929The bulk of my visit in Portland was spent at the Rubik’s Cube National Competition, but I’ll try not to bore you with the details. Essentially, it was 3 days of solving Rubik’s Cubes. Big and small ones, with one hand, blindfolded, and some that, oddly enough,  weren’t even cube shaped. For someone like myself, who would be considered a Rubik’s cube fanatic by some (and addict by many), this was an awesome experience, and one I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

One thing I definitely didn’t expect was the amazing scenery just outside of the city. My pre-conceived notion of Portland was pretty standard: Austin, but a bit more hipster. Taking walks through beautiful foliage definitely wasn’t something I considered before visiting; However, if you’re willing to rent a car, you can find many state parks and hiking trails only 20-30 minutes outside of the city. I personally visited the “Bridal Veil Falls”, and they definitely didn’t disappoint. The main attraction was, as the name suggests, the waterfalls. It was only about a mile walk to reach the falls, and they were stunning.

The view of the Williamette river from Downtown Portland

The view of the Williamette river from Downtown Portland

Downtown Portland is also a really great place, if you can find a place to park. It is  primarily a walking area, something I really enjoy, especially considering it’s only about 80 degrees there in the summer. While there, I hit up Powell’s Books, the largest book store I’ve ever been to. There were three stories of books, from the floor to the ceiling, ranging in subject from art history to quantum physics to harry potter. If you had the time, you could easily spend all day getting lost in all of the books. Downtown Portland also offers a really nice view of the Willamette river, and you can walk up and down the river for a scenic view.

Overall, Portland is a really nice city that I wish I could have explored more. There’s always something to do wherever you go, and and something for everyone to enjoy.