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.