It is SUNDAY and I am posting from the 14th floor of the Westmark Hotel in Anchorage Alaska. We are now into the land part of our tour. All is going well. I will pick up Sat. and Sunday later tonight. JUST USING INTERNET WHEN I HAVE THE CHANCE
TUESDAY AFTERNOON A great day! The luggage arrived in Ketchican and so did we. Docked before daylight and we went out to walk the streets about 9:00a.m. Steward assured us our luggage would be in our room when we returned. as with all docks where cruise ships land, the dock at Ketchican was filled with “shops”. Too many diamond and jewelery shops, many Alaskan mementoes. I purchased a cap. We walked along the pier, took a few pictures and then returned to ship. Hung up our clothes! Yeah! and then went for lunch on the Lido deck. I ate some stir fry cashew chicken, wonderful brown bread, a part of a vegetable panini sandwich(did not care for this) some bread pudding with a wonderful vanilla sauce and raisins. We walked the promenade deck around the ship to “walk off our lunch and then back to cabin for nap. Sun is shining a bit although it is overcast and the gray clouds cling to the tops of the tree-covered mountains along the shore and the shops and cottages of the town. Ketchican is labeled as the salmon capital of the world.? Beautiful area, but much too dreary for me.
Wonderful dinner: New York Strip, (excellent) Jr. had short ribs that he thought were very good. Also seafood chowder in a bread bowl, Caesar salad, and for dessert a Denali Fudge Brownie with ice cream.(double dark chocolate and nuts) Dinner partners were interesting. One couple from Australia( a definite Crocodile Dundee accent) Nice people who agreed with my viewpoints about society and the home and “politics” )so that made them nice) and then a creative(I use the term rather loosely) graphics designer and his wife (a former elementary teacher) Did not agree with the man about anything and he was quite vocal about our economy and our insurance plans and our health plans etc. etc. We have chosen open seating for our dining this cruise and so our dinner partners change each evening. Advantage is meeting new people all the time-disadvantage is not always having the same waiter and sometimes seated with people we have nothing in common with, but open seating allows you to go to dinner any time between 5:30 and 9:00 which is a definite advantage. Show in the evening was ventriloquist comedian. Very funny. We did stop as we walked through the casino on our way back to our room. They have penny slot machines. A penny slot machine will take $5.00 very quickly for your education and information. I received no return on my $5.00. May try again though. Do you think I am a true gambler?
WEDNESDAY : Juneau,Alaska Perhaps I haven’t mentioned that Jr. still gets up at usual early morning time. Goes out, walks the decks, greets the people and drinks his coffee. I meet about 8:00 a.m. for breakfast on the Lido deck. The Lido deck is supreme breakfast buffet. I have had eggs Benedict two days in a row now. (I love the white sauce they make with a touch of mustard I think) a chocolate chip croissant has also become a breakfast favorite. After breakfast we visited the streets of Juneau. Shops again of course. Bought a pair of lovely square,tiered, copper earrings in an artists’ gallery. Some beautiful things on display by Alaskan artists. I really enjoy the true artists’ shops, but the tourist’s trinkets become quite boring to me even though I am a shopper!!
And perhaps the best day of the trip so far! We had booked an expedition entitled “The Best of Juneau”. Left the dock by bus and traveled out of city, stopped for our first picture shot of the Mendenhall Glacier. (an amazing sight as I was not prepared for the glowing blue color of much of the layers of ice.) It was here our bus malfunctioned; however, we soon loaded another bus (it was full so must have been 50 people.) An expensive tour so we think these people have a good thing going.:-) We traveled next to the docks and boarded a catamaran for a small privately owned island where we were served grilled salmon, cole slaw, sweet corn, and wonderful carrot cake. Neither of us is very fond of salmon, but we found this very tasty. Quite firm and well cooked. After the lodge, we went whale spotting….and the fun began. Enthusiastic, young woman for naturalist guide and narrator. After perhaps 30 minutes, the boat slowed, made a u-turn and someone on the top deck shouted “Behind us.” A pod (this is not a term I was familiar with previous to this trip) of orcas were swimming and surfacing just off the left(starboard?) side of the boat. The guide indicated that it was very unusual to see the Orcas…the entire crew was quite excited. The Orcas are the killer whales with the white markings on their side. Beautiful in the natural environment. We remained in the area for some time watching these creatures of the sea and then moved on across the water to search for hump back whales. Again we were fortunate to come upon a group of them feeding off shore. Our young guide told us that she had not seen this many together for some time. We could see them spouting from quite a distance and then the huge tails would hit the water. All of this was very exciting as we floated on this body of water surrounded by the snow covered mountain peaks, and rocky, pine tree shores. One of the women in the group and I discussed how easy to believe in a Creator in this setting.
Arriving back at the dock, I felt we had been blessed by a wonderful tour, but my first glimpse of the glacier only added to my wonder of God’s creativity. A beautiful ancient layer of blue ice stretches across the expanse between two mountain peaks to greet our eyes as we climb the hill to the Mendenhall Glacier. Another awesome sight and only reinforces my belief in a God who creates the minute and the monstrous in the same place. Jr. took a couple of really nice pictures here. And then we were back at the MS. STATENDAM, ate a quick supper on the Lido deck and fell exhausted into bed at 9:30 p.m. ANOTHER FUN DAY.
THURSDAY:Today we docked at Skagway.(Now isn’t that a beautiful name?) Skagway has the look of an old western town even yet today) We did walk the streets as before and stopped at the Red Dog Saloon to enjoy a coke and the atmosphere of the gold miners. Skagway was the starting point for many of the miners going into the gold fields. The museum and the railway station were both interesting. Jr. thinks this was the train station that he left from on his way to Anchorage in 1956. In the afternoon, we rested awhile and I played a game of Bingo for a cruise for two to the Caribbean. I will not be taking that cruise, but I did put down a $20.00 deposit That evening I ate a good New York Strip steak and had cheesecake(with some fancy name) I love cheese cake no matter what they call it. A young ventriloquist, comedian was the show for the evening and he was excellent. I love ventriloquist when they are good. We sat in piano bar for awhile with a couple from Minnesota,. The young woman playing the piano also played the flute, two different types of saxophones and an oboe. I bought one of her CD’s to play when I’m driving. Piano music is my favorite and these are Oscar winning songs.and by 10:00 p.m. were headed to our cabin. Skagway is the last top until we reach Seward. On Friday we will cruise in Glacier Bay and on Saturday we will cruise College Fjord. I am looking forward to seeing the glaciers up close.
FRIDAY: We will not be getting off the ship for the next two days. I do not mind this, but I think Jr. is ready for land. We went to a meeting this morning about our land tour and found the movie theater. Isn’t it interesting that we can be on the ship from Sunday until Friday and just now find the theater. Many turns and side “roads” on the Statendam. Beautiful pink, maroon and gold line much of the hallways, but it is difficult at time to find a way to the next attraction. Cruis ships are so beautifully designed. A passenger sees none of the “working parts’ such as cleaning closets, kitchens areas or laundry rooms, but they must be huge. All we see is the beauty of the shiny brass, the just swept carpets and the clear glass dividers in the Atrium. Young men and women (possibly of Filipino background) constantly shine and scrub, but one hardly notices them. We did go to hot tub and pool area this afternoon. Nice area and of course they have a taco bar, nachos and cheese and grilled hamburgers and hot dogs available for anyone who might possibly be hungry.
Monday, August 17
SUNDAY-August 16…FIRST DAY . Spent the night at the Comfort Inn in Indianapolis. Mitch and Kaatje came over with us. Their flight does not leave until 11:30 so they got to sleep in. I was glad for them. We got up early about 5:45 and left the motel to arrive at airport much too early! Now we are waiting. We are seated by the “MOVING WALKWAY” and the monotone of “Please, watch your step” will no doubt remain in our sub conscious for the rest of the day. If you have not heard this lovely tone, it is a caution for those riding the rubber belt to the next destination; however, many people cannot just ride, they must walk so they are doing double time. Says something about the people of our society today. We are in such a hurry. Much the same thing as walking up an escalator!. The sun was a bright orange ball over Indy as we drove to the airport. A beautiful morning to start our trip. We will fly to Minneapolis and then to Vancouver. 12 people sitting around me at this point. Two talking on cell phones, three on computers, 2 reading, 1 sleeping and almost all of them are drinking a Starbucks which is just across the way. I have tried to pray a bit and remember that it is the LORD’S day but it is difficult in the airport setting. Perhaps later today I will be able to do that. 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning now. When we arrived in airport at Vancouver we waited at luggage carousel for a long period of time and no luggage. We greeted the Holland America lady and she assured us that they (the cruiseline) had picked up our luggage. We climbed aboard the bus for the dock, had a nice ride through the streets of Vancouver. Lovely, but I think might be an expensive city to live in if the bus drive is to be believed. After going through the showing passport, getting signed on to ship etc. we found our stateroom. Now get this…our number is 666. I am not a superstitious woman, but I wasn’t highly impressed with number. Our room is one of the nicest we have had on a cruise-we have a nice large couch and an extra chair so we could have guests (if we knew anyone). Now comes the fun part-we ate our first bit of soup and salad just to tide us over until going to the main dining room. At this point the announcement for the life boat check came through loud and clear. Such a fun drill, but we always meet nice people and think they would be fun in lifeboat. You can see who needs help with jacket.
When we came back to the room for a brief rest(by now I am beginning to wear down physically) we had no luggage. It seemed that everyone else had their luggage as no luggage was blocking any of the doorways.(this is usually the case on first evening of cruise.) I began to be concerned-checked with steward, checked with front office,-no luggage. At this point, I have filed a claim for lost luggage-who knows where. We do have insurance and they have assured me that clean underwear and formal attire for tomorrow evening will be provided if our luggage is not found on the ship. So the important things are covered. If it is an airline problem, the luggage might meet us in Ketchikan on Tuesday. Notice I use the term “MIGHT”. I refuse to let this spoil my evening. Going to apply fresh make-up (which I have) take a Bufferin (which I also have) and go to the main dining room for what I know will be a lovely meal. We have set sail and are now moving slowly out of the Vancouver harbor. Early Monday morning. Luggage DID NOT show up. Ship office gave us shirts and disposable underwear and free formal wear. Anxious to see what that is.:-) today is on board ship. Had a great omelet on the Lido deck. Out to discover how to get around on the ship. Monday afternoon: The evening wear is definitely NOT us, but will suffice. Jr. will be in full tux and I will wear long black velvet skirt and rather glitzy black top with cowl neckline.l (I did not spell it cow, but I feel a bit like that.) Nevertheless we will have formal wear! As we were napping after lunch the front office did call to say they had found our luggage in Vancouver! Perhaps we will be able to get it after we dock in Ketchican tomorrow. We have not planned an excursion for tomorrow but may do an underwater “experience” with a couple we have met up with from Minnesota. On Wednesday we will reach Juneau and there we have signed up to go to Whale watching and then to glacier walk and on to salmon bake. Sounds fun doesn’t it? I hope to post some pictures tomorrow or the enxt day. Today we have on-line service for ½ price after 2:00 P.M. It costs .75 a minute…yes a minute. So you know I won’t be on long. Weather is partly sunny, the ship is beautiful and Holland staff is exceptionally nice.
Sunday, August 16
Walk with me on our trip to Alaska. Will try to keep a brief daily post of what is happening. As I write, I am listening to the monotone of the moving walkway repeating "Please watch your step". We got to airport early (of course) and now we are waiting, and waiting. Airport is a fun place to watch people. No one dresses up to fly now. Families of three and four children, grandmas and grandpas, two older women who told me they were taking their mother to Vegas. Of course she is almost blind, but she goes every year. They rode with us on the transport to the airport. We left our van at the Park and Fly. Sun is a big red ball (ratherlike the big exercise ball I bought last year). Looks to be a beautiful day to fly. Elderly lady beside me is talking to her suitcase. It has fallen over twice, but I think she has it now. She has positioned it between her legs. A funny sight. Ok enough for now . More after we arrive in Vancouver and board the ship. It is Sunday and I find I miss worship, but I am so thankful to God for the way He blesses our family. Just must mention that Paige (our grandson's wife0 is due to have baby girl (Probably while we are gone :-) Come walk with me as we cruise and tour. Will try to keep you posted and send a few pictures.