|Some of our fondest memories are from Maine. A spring trip through an icy coast, the lazy atmosphere of small towns where everybody knows everyone, dinners at small restaurants with short menus and passionate chefs, blizzards, pesky albatrosses, lighthouses, hands stiff from the cold warmed by steamy coffee.|
Back then, we were not in the mood for cities and did not make even a brief stop in Portland. When I found tickets from Boston for a buck each way, I was excited to finally make up for it.
The first mug of Portland that I discovered was faces destroyed by drugs and alcohol, the homeless, dirty streets and men propositioning me in a retched way (I'm still puzzled about this one).
Then I discovered mug number two - crowds of tourists roaming the beaten commercial paths in the spit-polished part of the city.
The third face? I got a glimpse of it once or twice. Maybe a return and further search is in order.
Maybe I'm judging Portland too harshly. After all, every American city has its ugly side, dangerous neighborhoods and an artificial side for show. Maybe it's all about the dissonance between the expected and the found. My image was built on our experiences from the coast and on Portland's reputation as a hipster city crazy about its food.
|My first destination was the Portland Observatory, which looks just like a lighthouse (but it's not), see for yourself on the mural!|
|For a port town, Portland has quite an unfortunate location - ships coming into the harbor become visible at the very last moment. When the town got caught off guard and burned to the ground by the British, the residents grew tired of surprises and in 1807 the observatory was built. Using a telescope, they were able to identify ships from as far as 30 miles away!
|It's hard to believe, but in the long history of the observatory there haven't been any suicidal jumpers, not a single one! My questions made the guide nervous and he was hesitant to leave me by myself when I said I was staying at the top to take pictures. |
to be continued.../c.d.n.