Mon 24 Jun - Portland, ME

Our last day in Bar Harbor and we are trying to prolong the experience with an early morning Shore Path walk.

We grab a coffee from a friendly guy at his hole in the wall shop called "Coffee Hound" on Main Street. He knew about coffee beans and Di was happy with her filtered coffee. Hans felt that his Latte was OK, but he still votes the best US espresso being from Lancaster, Pennsylvania closed followed by Brooklyn Coffee Roasters in DUMBO, New York City. "Coffee Hound" however had been given a good write up from Boston Globe which was prominently displayed on a wall.

Our coffee went down well sitting in the park overlooking the water as we watched a couple of girls do their morning exercises. The girls certainly had far better balance and flexibility than us - yes, we were jealous!

There are a lot of local lobster fishermen and a few were getting ready to go out for the day at the wharf.

This guy was lowering lobster traps to his partner on the boat below. We noted the tide is quite low and its a long way down to the boat.

The fisherman owner of this vehicle is (we guess) a republican and we feel that his bumper sticker on capitalism was "right on". If you can't read the detail, the sticker says "Capitalism is personal choice, effort and responsibility, Socialism was founded upon principles of envy". Guess no one ever gave him a handout?

Other locals out doing their own thing this morning. A lone paddle boarder looked fantastic.

Our choice for a stroll after coffee was to return to the Shore Path, which we think is so lovely. We met a few joggers otherwise it was quiet.

First you walk past the historic Bar Harbor Inn. This original section called The Reading Room with the rounded end, is about 140 years old and has always been a hotel for tourists.

Then you round the corner and look more north eastwards, to the porcupines.

It is low tide and you can just see the top of a sea wall which was built a while ago and then started to "settle" (ie: sink). How ironic!

A 9.30am we are packed up on the road again heading south on US 1 coastal road (as opposed to yesterday when we took the same way but north). Today's trip passed through or near a multitude of towns named after England and Ireland. Belfast, Newcastle, Camden, Brunswick, Bristol, Bath etc.

This bridge caught our eye at a town called Bucksport - a mini Anzac Bridge but with the span in the centre of the bridge.

Our first stop was in Belfast for a fruit break and a stretch of legs after an hour in the car. We stopped near the wharf and sat in a nice park and spent a few minutes looking around. Belfast is a good looking inlet/river town and close to the sea. Boat building is still going on here and we saw some big yachts with shrink wrap. They also had 2 rescue tugs.

After our break we drove to a nearby foot and cycle bridge we had noticed on the way in. It looks like it replaced an old road bridge - you can see Bridge St leads down to it. This new bridge was built in 2006.

Very nice for a short stroll, we walked across and back and liked what we saw. Even this guy!

This old boat shed made us laugh - it leans to the left and looks like it has a "broken back".

Looking back towards Belfast - remind anyone of Ireland? Nope, and definitely not an Irish Colleen in the foreground.

Back in the car and continuing driving south. It was lunchtime (near 1pm) and we had no clue where we were but out of nowhere appeared a diner that seriously had something like 100 cars in the car park! Very good karma so we joined them for lunch at Moody's Diner.

Moody's Diner seems to be an institution here. We got the story on our placemats. The business is still family run, set up in 1927 by "dad" aka "P.B" to service people driving with Model T fords and staying in his tourist cabins. The main road (route 1) moved in 1934 so he just built a connecting road to his cabins and moved his "lunch wagon" (as it was then) down to the new main road.

What you see when you enter. The decor is not lavish and definitely traditional. The staff had shirts with "I'm a Moody person" at the back. You could buy the t-shirts from Moody's and various people seem to have done this and then taken photos with their Moody shirts in various world wide locations. The photos go on a wall near the entry and include Mali, Moscow, Sydney (with the obligatory view of the Opera House from the Rocks) and Uluru to name a few.

After a short wait, we had a table.

Here is a photo of our booth and some of the other customers at Moody's Diner behind us. There were a lot of Zimmer frames and walking supports in the place, which normally means good value traditional food.

Everything is claimed to be made on the premises at Moody's Diner and the menu is described as "good home cooking". They also claim they make about 20 types of desserts (about 10 types of pies) so we may have to try some later.

For $21 we got, for Hans, haddock strips, mash and coleslaw and, for Di, chicken croquettes, beetroot and potato salad. After our meal we also ordered an apple crumble "to go" for our afternoon tea. Yep - good value.

The food might not look fancy but it definitely was good and we scraped the plates clean. No need for dinner out tonight.

We arrived at La Quinta Inn, our motel in Portland, ME, around 3.30pm, and we checked in.

Unfortunately they are resurfacing parts of their car park so when we walked into our room we noticed a very strong new tar smell - housekeeping had left the window open! Closed that pretty quickly.

A quiet afternoon as Hans was feeling a bit rundown, and unfortunately the new asphalt smell didn't help his headache. A snooze followed...

Just before 7pm, we wandered out to see whether we could get some dinner in the local "hood". On our map a Thai restaurant just around the corner has been rated reasonably well online, but when we arrive it is closed (as it is every Monday). Should have guessed...

"Hood" turned out to be the right label - as we are paying considerably less than other hotels in Downtown Portland, we soon realize that the West End of Congress Avenue is not the glamorous part of town.

Location shot follows...

We checked out a few other food joints, but there was very bad karma everywhere, hardly anyone dining and in the case of the Chinese restaurant, it was totally empty. We also went in and checked out a Japanese buffet and walked out knowing our chances of food poisoning were far less if we cooked back at home.

So off to Save a Lot, a supermarket just next to the buffet place. It reminded us strongly of Aldi, which we really like, and we found smoked Polish Wurst and cheap Dijon mustard.

Di came up with a menu quickly - serve with canned potatoes and collard greens (both we already had back in the room). This could be a German Feast - for a cost of $5.26!

Ta dah...And it was ... At Di's Küche (Di's kitchen in German).

Surprisingly delicious and quite authentic. For those who don't know Collard Greens is a southern/soul food dish made from leaves of a cabbage closely related to Kale, and stewed with onion, ham hocks and spices. It is quite similar to German Grün Kohl.

Dinner in an exquisite setting... Sort of...

Alles Gute. Good night.

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