Northwest Portland Hostel Blog
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Meet Kathrin and Laura! Kathrin is our new intern from Germany, and Laura is a traveler who is visiting Portland and helping out at the hostel.
I am from the West part of Germany ( Northrhine-Westfalia ) and I live in an area called ” Sauerland “, which is very famous for its winter sports and tourism ( we have a bobsled run and a ski jump nearby ).
My internship provider in Europe gave me the hint of the job at Northwest Portland Hostel. As I was before in Portland (in 2008 and 2009) I was very happy to got this internship. My first impression of Portland was very good, I like the atmosphere and the people. At my first stay here I thought “if I had to choose one town in the U.S to live than it would be Portland”.
I love the Saturday Market ( which is even on Sundays ), where they offer a lot of local and homemade stuff like pottery, jewlery, clothes etc. You can sit at the river and watch the people or one of the many artists while eating something from the wide selection of food.
Of course I like to hang around with my friends and go out dancing or just sitting in a nice bar/pub. I love books ( that is why I can recommend “Powell’s Books” in Portland, which is the biggest independent book store in the USA ). If the sun is shining I like to sit outside in the park or on the porch, making barbecue.
I want to visit the zoo and Mount Hood when it gets warmer, a trip to Seattle would be very nice too, I even want to see the ocean and the beach. Because we are in the wild, wild West I would even like to try a horseback riding trip, like the Cowboys did. There are so many things I would like to do, but it would blow the frame to count them all.
As I have already been to some states of the U.S ( for example California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Washington, Idaho, the New England States and New York ) I would like to see the States where I have not been before.
I am very interested to see the South states, like Mississippi or Georgia.
In 2008 I visited the Grand Canyon National Park, which was very impressive, so I hope I can travel there again.
My name is Laura and I am from Germany. I am living in the northern part called Lower Saxony near the city Hannover. I have already been to Portland two times earlier. In 2006 for two weeks as a school trip with my high school and in 2008 to spent my summer vacation in Portland. And now I am here again to do volunteer work, meet new people from different countries and improve my English before starting university in Germany.
I really like Portland for being such a nice and welcoming city. The most impressive thing I recognized was in 2006: Every car stops when you cross the street. That is very uncommon for me, but I really like it! Another great thing for me is Portland’s Free Rail Zone. There is nothing comparable in Germany. And I think I will definitely use it to go to one of my favorite places in Portland. The Saturday Market. I like to go there, hanging around, catch sun and get something to eat of one of these nice Foodcarts. Another place I really like is Powell’s Bookstore at a typical rainy day in Portland. Just going around the different rooms and through the mass of bookshelves. I can do it for hours.
In Germany I really like to play team handball with my friends. I am doing it now for 16 years and I still love it. I like to hang out with my friends and do cooking together, most of the time Mediterranean food. At the evenings I enjoy watching movies or TV series, like the crime series NCIS.
During my time in Portland I would like to see as much of the city as possible, also the hidden places where no normal tourist would go. The most important thing for me to see is the Rose Garden in summer. I haven’t been there during my last visits to Portland and when I went there last week, I had a great view on Portland and Mount Hood, but at this time, no rose is flowering.
While I am here in the US, I would like to go to Seattle and see this city I only know from the movie “Sleepless in Seattle”. I think other places I will visit will come up by the time.
Welcome Kathrin and Laura! We are excited to have you both join our hostel team!
Friday, March 23, 2012
March 20th, 2012 was World Storytelling Day.
We decided to ask some guests to write down anything they considered a travel story. Here are a few entries:
We saw old-school bluegrass and sipped on delicious Terminator Stout.
Lounged at the Mission Theater and explored Powell’s Bookstore
Had coffee at World Cup and enjoyed the artwork on the walls
Also enjoyed the presence of international guests at the hostel, sharing stories with others.
-Alan and Katy. Chico, California.
Recently, I was invited to a hidden town. A town that was built in North America. This place was made up of those who had given up on modern society and government. The town itself was built in areas with no satellite availability and no modern services. The town flourished and had everything one could need. They are opposed to outsiders and I was only allowed in because of an invite from the local barkeep. I stayed for one week and hid from the world. This place I speak of is called The Astral Mountain.
My West Coast Adventure
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
A little rain never stopped a true Timbers fan, especially for the season opener! Over 20,000 excited fans flooded Jeld-Wen Field, wrapped up in green and gold gear, ready for the kickoff game against Philadelphia Union.
As the Timbers Army (Portland’s infamously passionate fan base) sang the national anthem, fireworks and confetti erupted over the field, lighting up the sky.
The game was still 0-0 at the halftime, but early in the second half Philadelphia scored a goal. The score was soon evened out by newbie Andrew Jean-Baptiste, whose header just barely made it past Philly’s goalkeeper.
The crowd erupted, chanting “We are the Timbers, you can’t stop us!” and “PT-SC (Portland Timbers Soccer Club)” while clapping, screaming and high-fiving friends and neighbors. Green smoke filled the stadium, Timbers flags were waved, and more songs broke out (see video below).
Video of the Timbers Army
The second goal was scored by Kris Boyd, formerly of the Scottish Premier League, who joined the Timbers during the off-season. The third goal was by Kalif Alhassan from Ghana, finishing the game with a score of 3-1—Timbers victory!
No doubt this season will be an exciting one, especially with the new players and endless entertaining support from the Timbers Army! Check out Portland Timbers website for more info on the Rose City soccer team!
Friday, March 2, 2012
Our new Merchant of the Month is Blitz 21!
Comfortable couches by the front window, looking out onto busy 21st Avenue, a large bar offering daily deals on craft brews and specialty cocktails, an extensive food menu, large screen TVs to watch any and all sporting events (Go Timbers and Blazers!), and plenty of bar games, like pinball and pool. With a full events calendar, complete with free live music Sunday through Wednesday and Trivia Night on Thursday, this bar never has a dull moment. The best part? If you’re a guest at our hostel or a member of Hostelling International, you will receive a significant discount! Buy 1 menu item, get the 2nd FREE! Just present your hostel key card or your HI membership card.
You can look at their online menu here, and make sure to check them out while staying with us! They’re only 5 blocks away, nestled in the heart of the Northwest neighborhood.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Even before the popular TV show Portlandia aired last year, Portland was a weird place, just a lesser-known one. It’s true, a lot of people have chickens in their backyards and homemade pickling stations in their basements next to the fixed gear bikes and beer brewing equipment. Portlanders can seem snobby about things like reusable grocery bags and braking for pedestrians, but really, we are notoriously friendly for “city folk”. Just this morning, I did the daily crossword puzzle with my policeman friend at (one of) the (many) cafe(s) near the hostel. Halfway through the crossword, the barista brought us free cookies. It doesn’t get much better than that.
The quirkiness is something we love about this place, so why not show it off! Many travelers visit Portland with the goal of seeing the weird and wacky, so with the help of our volunteer, Caroline, we’ve created the “Quirky Portland Walking Tour”. The inaugural tour was last Thursday, and it included the Lovejoy Columns, North Park Blocks, Mary’s (Portland’s oldest strip club—didn’t go in, but pointed it out), Ground Krontrol Barcade, 24 Hour Church of Elvis, Waterfront Park, Made in Oregon sign, Voodoo Donuts, and ended at Portland City Grill for a drink. The next tour will include Mills End Park (the World’s Smallest Park) and the Pecularium. Caroline also discussed history and interesting facts about Old Town and the Pearl District.
I can’t imagine Portland losing it’s weirdness anytime soon, so the material for the Quirky Portland tour will only grown from here on. From the mustache donuts to public statues of Zoobomber bikes, let us show you what keeps Portland weird and lovable!
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Often, one of the hardest parts about traveling is being away from the ones you love.
This sentiment was expressed by a guest on Skype with his girlfriend in the hostel common area last night. He was showing her the cookie he had decorated, with their initials S & R in a red and white icing, and said, “I wish I could just teleport home for, like, one day!”
There are certainly mixed feelings surrounding Valentine’s Day, but why not spread a little love in the form of cookies? This year, we decided to host a cookie decorating party in honor of this sugary sweet holiday. Whether you are a fan of Valentine’s Day or not, we know at least you’ll enjoy the homemade treats.
We gathered the cookie cutters (big hearts, small hearts, Xs, and Os), mixed the sugar cookie dough, spread out the icing, sprinkles, and bowls of candy, and went to work. Some guests made construction paper hearts to go with their cookies. One guest in particular made his paper heart to carry around to the pubs, hoping to spot a nice looking girl. He figured if he already had a valentine ready in his pocket, it would boost his odds of getting her attention.
Another guest wrote “I love you” in as many languages as he could come up with without Googling it, which was approximately six (he needed spelling help, but that doesn’t count).
I love you
Ich liebe dich
In how many languages can you say “I love you”?
Happy Valentine’s Day, from the HI-Northwest Portland Hostel!
Monday, February 6, 2012
January 2012 marked the beginning of our Merchant of the Month Discount Program, where local businesses give significant deals to guests of our hostel and other Hostelling International members. In return, we promote their business around the hostel and online. With so many great small businesses in Northwest Portland, we want our guests to really be able take advantage of what this neighborhood has to offer.
We are pleased to announce that Santa Fe Taqueria is our February Merchant of the Month, offering a discount of buy 1 get 1 free (equal or lesser value), any item on the regular menu. With Whether you choose a classic burrito or one of their specialty plates, their Mexican food is all delicious, and a great deal! They also have events throughout the month, like a Valentine’s Day tequila tasting, “Ukeladies” on February 22nd, neo-soul night on the 25th, and free salsa dance lessons every Thursday!
Make sure to check them out while you’re in Portland. They’re located just ten minutes from the hostel at 831 NW 23rd Avenue (at Kearney Street).
Thanks, Santa Fe Taqueria, for helping connect the many Portland visitors to our awesome local businesses!
Monday, January 30, 2012
Ten years ago, the idea of filming yourself eating live octopus in Korea and then submitting the footage to a film festival would have sounded absolutely ridiculous. But now, thanks to the smart phone phenomenon, anyone is able to capture anything on film, anywhere in the world, and share it with everyone. This is the premise of the Nomading Film Festival.
NoFF was created with the belief that anyone with a camera, fancy or not, can be a filmmaker. In the words of the NoFF team themselves, “We believe that stories caught on film, while traveling, are some of the most entertaining, educating, beautiful, and authentic. These are stories which should be shared, acknowledged, and awarded”.
Last summer, the Nomading Film Festival had their inaugural event in New York City at Hostelling International-New York. The event was such a success, with over 80 films submitted and 11 chosen as finalists, the NoFF team (Mikey, Bassam, Josh and Andrew) decided to put together a Winter Recess on the west coast. Luckily for us, they chose Portland! The event was held last Saturday, January 28th.
NoFF’s Winter Recess included a day of screening the 11 finalists films from their event in NYC, a raffle, and a question and answer session with three of the filmmakers (Caitlin from Travel Yourself, and Tawny and Chris from Captain and Clark) held at the McMenamins Mission Theater. Over 100 people attended, a great turn out. The collection of films were entertaining, inspiring and creative, and no two were alike. One of the most astonishing films was of a newborn baby elephant taking its first steps with the help of its mother.
After a break in the afternoon, the festival-goers reconvened at Boothster in NE Portland for the Benefit After Party. Ticket sales went to the various non-profits supported by NoFF: Teen Living Programs, ProjectExplorer.org,100 Cameras and Matador Youth Scholarship Fund.We danced, drank free Widmer beer, and hung out with travelers and filmmakers from the Northwest. Hostelling International USA even gave away 3 free hostel stays to a couple lucky raffle winners!
All in all, it was a fantastic festival, bringing people together to share the love of travel with the creativity of independent film-making . Plans for NoFF WinterRecess 2013 are already in store. We’ll keep you posted!
Check out the photos, courtesy of Jennifer Harju
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Sandy Diedrich’s lived the mission of hostelling—dedicating her life to building a community of locals and travelers wherever she called home. When Jim, now the owner of the HI-Northwest Portland Hostel, first met Sandy in 1980, he was opening his first hostel in the small coastal town of Bandon, Oregon. In her spare time, Sandy used her incredible organizational skills to create a quaint, yet thriving tourist hub out of the sleepy little town Bandon once was. When she and her husband, Bob, moved to Portland in 1997, Jim recruited her to sit on the board of directors for hostelling. She went on to serve at President of the Board for years.
Sandy lived and worked in Northwest Portland, using her skills and personality to mobilize the community and her neighborhood. She served for many years as a board member of the Northwest District Association and then became President. She also received the NW Examiner’s Citizen Award for her commitment to the NW neighborhood.
Before her death in August, 2007, Sandy was a major supporter of Jim and Britta’s hostel, and became a close friend. In Jim’s words, “We miss her dearly, but her spirit will always live on in our neighborhood and our hostel.”
The lower common room of the historic Elliston building was named after Sandy, to honor all she’s done for the Northwest Porltand community and the hostel. Currently, the common room is being redesigned, and as things are moved around and redecorated, it’s nice to take a moment and remember a special person who made a significant impact on the hostel that operates today. The bright painting is hung in the common area in her memory, portraying Sandy and Bob together (see below). Jim was right, her spirit continues to live on in our city and inside our walls.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
One word: ChocolateFest.
This is the 7th annual Portland ChocolateFest, and like most other events in Portland, people expect the unexpected. Only the weird and wacky gets attention, and ChocolateFest-goers can expect plenty of weird and wacky concoctions at this year’s festival. Ever tried quail drizzled in chocolate sauce? Neither have we. But after this weekend, that will all change. Just in case you aren’t already sold on this event, profits go to benefit the World Forestry Center, so you can eat chocolate AND feel good about saving the planet.
Held at the Oregon Convention Center, ChocolateFest is an opportunity to sample from some of the Northwest’s finest chocolatiers and candy connoisseurs. January 20-22nd, 2012. Tickets are $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 for students (13-college, student ID required), and $7 for children 5-12. More information can be found here.
image courtesy of portland.daveknows.org
Everyone’s second favorite thing (after chocolate) is a good mustache. You can’t turn a corner in Portland without seeing someone wearing a mustache t-shirt, eating a mustache shaped chocolate, pasting a mustache sticker on their bike, or simply just carrying a mustache on a stick. The mustache’s slighly less popular (but just as important) best friend is the beard, and this weekend, Portland is celebrating them equally with the 2nd Annual West Coast Mustache & Beard Championships. Whether you sport a mustache and/or beard or not, you don’t want to miss this event. Come enjoy some of the most creative and inspirational facial hair artwork on the West Coast, from the natural mustache to the freestyle beard, and everything in between. Saturday, January 20th, 2012. Crystal Ballroom.
Check out pdxpipeline’s event page for more information about this not-to-be-missed event!
image courtesy of pdxpipeline.com