My days in Portland

Ooops, there has been so much stuff going on that I totally forgot to write about it. Very often I went to bed before 11Pm which is something I would never do at home. Let me tell you about my days in Portland, OR!

My last day in Portland I did a walking tour that I really should have done earlier. The guide, Eric, was entertaining, informative and pointed out a lot of cool places and things to do. Some of them I had already done, some of them unfortunately not. Oh well, maybe next time, Portland is a place that you want to come back to.

After some more shopping I attended a Portland Thorns match at Providence Park. It was nice to see so many people cheering for a women’s soccer club. Even though they lost, the atmosphere was amazing and fun. I originally had bought tickets to an arena football game but since it was all across town I decided to walk five minutes to the soccer game. Did not regret that!

My train ride to San Francisco was relatively uneventful. Except that it was so long and cold that I could hardly bear it! 17,5h to Emeryville and another 30 minutes to San Francisco. I found a nice older lady as a travel companion sitting next to me. As we shared our travelling stories a lot of time went by very fast and besides that I even slept a few hours! The view was interesting, you pass so many different landscapes. Good to do once but I’ll certainly fly next time!
I’ll post more on San Francisco and my adventures later, now it is time to sleep and recharge my energy for my last day tomorrow! I’m quite sad to leave already!

Talk to you later,


Happy in Hipster Portland

I have been remarkably busy here in Hipster Portland, hitting my pillow always around 10PM and being asleep within a few moments.

Portland is as the title of this post suggests a very hip town. I don’t think that I have ever seen so many vegan/organic places or a food aisle that long with just organic products. I’m still very fond of supermarkets, there is a Trader Joe’s nearby that I will probably visit tomorrow to buy snacks for my long train ride.


Yesterday, I spent a good portion of the day with some other people from the hostel watching the Euro Championship. I hated to see Germany lose against France but also felt it coming during the game. Nevertheless, we had a good time. Portland is famous for its microbreweries, so we watched in a local pub. I didn’t try the beer though as it was noon and I had planned to do more sightseeing later.

Powell’s book store

Unfortunately I only made it to Powell’s Bookstore that day. Powell’s is this huge and very famous bookstore with the size of a block (imagine a Karstadt full of books). They actually give you a map for that place as it is oddly sectioned. It took me a while to navigate and after looking for one book for half an hour I asked someone and was handed actual directions! Very friendly staff! I then had to turn around because it started to rain and I hadn’t brought my umbrella (silly me, I was so sure it wouldn’t rain).

Street markets

I later went to an art festival in the Pearl District with my roommate Julia. This time with an umbrella. Rain in Portland is different from rain at home, very often just a light warm drizzle. Still it becomes annoying after a while.

weird ice cream flavors

Later that night, I joined a group of people to this very special ice cream place where they have all those funny flavors such as olive oil or cinnamon snickerdoodle. It was a very nice dessert!

My day today started a little late, I had just installed Pokemon Go and I am already really addicted. Most of this morning I had to catch Pokemons and level up! It is so much fun!

Portland Art Museum

I then walked over to the Portland Art Museum to get my dose of culture. It’s a neat place, they have a wonderful collection of Native American Art which is of course new to me, but also a smaller collection of European Art (that is on display). The Modern Art is in a connected building which I didn’t expect to be that big. I only took some pictures (plus that very weird selfie).

The rest of the day was spent on a major shopping walk though I ended up ordering half of it on Amazon (thanks Prime!). TBC tomorrow when I hopefully will know more about nice boutiques!

Portland is very very lovely, I like it a lot and would have rather stayed here longer than I did in Seattle. People are so friendly and some actually say hello on the streets.

I will now go on and relax a bit. Maybe catch more Pokemons!

Talk to you soon!


My US West Coast Packing List

As most of you know, I will be going to Seattle, Portland and San Francisco in a few days. I’ll be staying in these three cities for a total of 19 days. These days will be almost equally divided between these three cities where I will be living in hostels. This will actually be my first try to not pack as much as usual. I tend to overpack. First of all, I always worry too much, so I try to be prepared for all occasions. And then, I never want to do laundry, so I try to bring enough clothes. So, this time, different approach: I have read so much about different ways to travel only with carry-on and I wanted to give it a try this time. This is my US West Coast Packing List:

This time I divided my bags and I made a table to sort which bag is going to hold what:

I’ll be travelling with my Kalahari camera bag, my Herschel Backpack and a smaller Carry-On suitcase which has four wheels and has been proven to be very convenient for travelling.

Camera bag

My camera bag will fit into my backpack and is, of course, holding:

I added a plastic bag, in case it might rain. My camera bag will be my daybag as well, even though it doesn’t look that nice, it can hold all the things that I need when I’m adventuring.


My backpack will include:

  • my camera bag
  • my Apple iPad mini + Logitech case
  • all chargers and cables
  • my two Lonely Planets for Seattle and San Francisco (I just can’t leave them)
  • small notebook and pen
  • small plastic bag with medication and liquids that I want to bring on the plane with me
  • my scarf (against the cold, or to use as a blanket or pillow on the plane)
  • phone, money, tickets, passport etc.
  • small bag with an inflatable pillow, Ohropax
  • my collection of sunglasses
Carry on suitcase

I decided a few days ago to check my small suitcase simply because I am too lazy to carry it with me during the layovers that I have. I purchased Eagle Creek Pack-It cubes though to hold most of my things. I’ll be bringing:

  • shoes: Minnetonkas, Birkenstock-like sandals, flip flops for the shower
  • travel towels
  • travel-size hair dryer (it was shortly on my list to be left at home, but I get a cold very easily when I don’t dry my hair)
  • two pair of pants (1 jeans, 1 slacks)
  • dress + leggings
  • underwear+socks for a week
  • my umbrella
  • Bikini
  • seven tops
  • three cardigans or pullover
  • toiletries

Am I missing something? As always, I keep checking my list over and over again, fearing that I might forget something very important!

My must-pack items

It’s exactly 8 days until I am leaving for this year’s adventure. Since I won’t rent a car this year, but will be travelling by train mostly, I tried to plan ahead and think about what I really and absolutely need to take with me and what will be unnecessary baggage. Still, I noticed that there are a few things that I depend heavily on, especially while being abroad:

Sunscreen and skin care in general

Since I can remember, my skin has been high-maintenance. I get breakouts from almost everything such as food, dust, sun or stress. Since travelling combines many of these factors, I am careful to pack all of my skin care things. This time I will bring my favorite cleanser from Sebamed in a travel size and probably stock up on the things I used while I lived in Ohio which was mostly from Neutrogena or AcneFree. Both work fine for me.

As I have very fair skin, I usually end up with a sunburn within the first two days even if it is cloudy. Last time I went whale-watching and even though I used sunscreen, I ended up with a nasty burn and blister on my nose. It took me a week to get rid of it otherwise I would have ended up looking like Rudolph on my friend’s wedding pictures. This trip I thus come prepared: First of all Neutrogena Clear Face Sunblock Lotion with 30 SPF which I like a lot because I don’t feel like I bathed in oil after applying it to my face. The second sunscreen that I am bringing is a foundation with 30 SPF from Shiseido. It is one of the few foundations that don’t cause breakouts with me and that I can use everyday.

My Iphone and other technical stuff

I know I am a typical smartphone addict. My iPhone holds all of my everyday information that I need, all of my contacts, my calendar, my music. I have tried travelling without my phone, without service or without data, simply relying on free WiFi in restaurants or cafés. It doesn’t work for me so far. I hate having to stop somewhere to connect my phone to Wifi in order to look up some places or to google the way. I love using Twitter and/or Instagram when I’m travelling and posting pictures right away. Call me spoilt, but my Vodafone service works all over the EU which is why I decided to go with an American SIM card this time. I’ll probably be able to tell you more after the trip when I can say for certain that it worked. As of now: I ordered a SIM from SIMbee online for 30 USD. I will have unlimited texting and calls within the US, plus 300 MB of data (after that it will become slower), plus a certain amount of free calls worldwide.


Usually, I’d say that I’m a heavy sleeper. I never wake up to any noise outside because I have got used to it, I guess. When I travel, however, I feel like I sleep more lightly which means that in hostel dorms I constantly wake up due to noises. Two years ago, in Boston, I got really mad at the A/C in my dorm room that couldn’t be turned down and kept making so much noise right above my head. The staff at the hostel was very sorry and they provided me with a dozen free pairs of ear plugs. I have to admit that it takes some time to get used to them, but since then I don’t travel without Ohropax anymore.

A scarf

Be it summer or winter, I always bring a XXL scarf which I can use as a scarf, a blanket or a pillow. Air conditioning can be cold even during summer and when you have to spend some time freezing, a scarf can safe you from getting sick. Been there in Thailand where I caught a bad cold from air conditioning on a bus (didn’t have any blankets) and had to stay in bed for three days missing out on a good time on Koh Samui.

Comfortable shoes

Shoes are always a big question mark on my packing list. They take up so much space and still I can never decide on which and how many to bring. They are often the reason that I overpack. I guess gone are the days where I only brought my trusted Converse and a pair of Havaianas to walk around. Lately I had issues with my knees and I know for certain that I will need comfortable shoes on my trip if I don’t want to take an ibuprofen every night. So far (list is not finalized yet) I decided on my Bata shoes which feel like Birkenstocks but don’t make my feet look that big, a pair of sneakers with insoles and my Minnetonkas. I’ll also bring old flip flops for showering in the hostels, just to be safe. Since I like to go shopping anyways, I’ll have a reason to go if it turns out that I really need more shoes (I always do) or that one of the pairs I brought isn’t comfy enough. I was thinking about buying these sandals from Crocs which is something I thought I’d never say about anything from Crocs.

What are your must-pack items? Is there anything that you can’t live without while being abroad? I’m curious!