How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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North to Alaska: Last Day and New Horizons

Sunrise had been forecast for 5:00 a.m. but with last minute checking and rechecking everything ended up in our suitcases that belonged, we missed taking pictures.

Vancouver on the Horizon

Neither Mary nor I had checked what time the Lido Market would be open for breakfast, but she suggested we order in. An excellent idea. I had scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, toast, and coffee. Mary’s choices were a fruit plate, cottage cheese, muesli, and coffee. A soft knock on the door announced breakfast’s arrival. What a feast. Food that needed to be hot did not disappoint.

The kitchen staff called, “Did you enjoy your breakfast?”

“Indeed. Excellent. Thank you.”

Later, Mary called to have our trays removed. Unlike hotels, halls on ships are narrower and likely to cause tripping hazards if anything other than luggage is left outside. Once again, someone came lickety-split.

As we waited for expedited disembarkation announcement, Mary could not find her key card, without which she could not leave the ship. She called the Reception Desk and an attendant promised a new one. While she raced to pick it up, I worried how long she may be held up. The fusspot I am, I grit my teeth and worried about missing our proper exit. Finally, she returned and we pushed and pulled our luggage out the door. Only about a dozen people stood around with us, some with carry-ons but no luggage. Within minutes, a solitary uniform pointed forward. We offered our key cards for scanning, and out we zipped. “Keep the card as your souvenir,” said the scanning lady when finished.

It’s as if everyone had already gone ashore or was this a ghost ship? No one ahead and no one behind. We scurried downward, were directed by a silent figure with a smile and a wave to proceed straight down the length of the airport building. No customs and no questions. How strange. Just us two: no crowds or foot traffic. It felt special being an expedited passenger but surreal, and I wondered why anyone exiting the cruise ship, whether to catch their flight, hop a bus or taxi to their hotel, wouldn’t get off like we had. Why go to the trouble of putting your bags outside by midnight and then wait inside the airport to claim them?

Part of our itinerary included a taxi and driver upon our return to Vancouver. No sooner had I inquired about this, three women came forward, one a trainee. Our taxi awaited. The rep handed a voucher to the driver and we sped through Vancouver traffic to the Sheraton. The weather continued overcast; smoke-colored clouds hung heavy and low, more like a dismal fall rather than past mid-May.

Within ten minutes or so, the taxi arrived at Sheraton Wall Centre. Already registered at the hotel as part of the holiday itinerary, our key cards were ready and we headed to the seventeenth floor, sans luggage. The bags arrived before we did. Impressive.

~ * ~

Next on July 6thVancouver Again. Now What?

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

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North to Alaska: Art Auction Confusion

I woke at 6:45, anxious to start our day. A dry deck faced us; the ship rocked beneath our feet.

After breakfast, I intended to get the rigmarole of going ashore the next day out of the way. I sorted through the forms and luggage tags. We had a couple options: independent or expedited and chose the latter as we fit all the criteria, the times fit better, and I’d rather pull our own luggage off the ship than leave it outside the door before midnight and have to wait to collect it upon arrival in Vancouver. Mary stopped by the front desk to collect printouts of our accounts. I spent more than I’d anticipated. How easy it is to spend money when all you have is a credit card. I should have disregarded an internet connection as a necessity, considering we had so much downtime.

Mary signed us up to attend an art auction. Not up my alley but the promise of a glass of champagne was a good incentive. Upon registration, a nice woman handed everyone a number and three stickers, which we were to affix to paintings we favoured.

When the fellow responsible to display the next painting for auction, he snapped off the stickers and mashed them. I saw no point in the stickers unless the ones with the most were brought out first or was the exercise to engage would-be buyers?

The champagne must have been a special purchase. Only one glass per customer. My mouth puckered with the first sip, but I managed to work at it until the glass was empty. Swirling the glass gave me something to do while I slid lower in my chair, bored. The auction did not heat up; a few painting sold, but the bidding was low and unexciting.

Tummies rumbling, we scouted out to lunch. Upon our return, lo and behold, the auction still rambled on. Mary did not win anything though she purchased a wad of draw tickets. At the end, as loyal attendees, another woman handed out white 10 by 13-inch envelopes. Mary opened hers right away. She disliked the print of a moose and daring as ever, she asked for an exchange. She made a face at the print of single cottage in a field of wildflowers in her hand and hinted at trading with me, but I liked mine. I decided to love my modern print or would someday and planned to buy a fabulous frame it might deserve. Teasing aside, I did—I DO—like it.

Duet Night (print) by Charles Lee

The rest of the day we wandered the ship, saying goodbye to new friends. For the third and last time, we enjoyed dinner at the Rotterdam with plans to enjoy Elliot Finkel, a piano entertainer in the theatre. The members of the audience loved the fabulous and popular Disney show tunes he played, but the show lasted only 45 minutes. Two guitarists, a drummer, and a female keyboard player accompanied him.

The show over, we had plenty of time to catch the sunset. Announcements earlier mentioned 9:29 and then 9:15 pm as sundown. Thank goodness, we were early, yet we still missed it. The sun slid into the ocean in the split second I blinked. What a disappointment. A fellow passenger caught it and said, “The sun slipped behind the mountains and into the ocean like it had been in a hurry to go to bed.”

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Next on June 29th – North to Alaska: Last Day and New Horizons

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


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North to Alaska: Creek Street Shops and a Tram Experience

As we left Dolly’s house by the back stairs, Mary noticed the guide from the tour we latched on to in Juneau. We scrambled to join the group, wondering how much we’d missed. As we joined the people clustered around the guide, Mary talked to a woman in an unobtrusive jacket with an emblem on the breast. She tsked the tour did not belong to the cruise but was an independent. We mentioned there had been no problem in Juneau. “We’re almost finished so I guess you can stay.”

She led us down a path to the shops on Creek Street and the tour was over. At least the drizzle had stopped.

I laughed at the many advertisements for the shops. Mary wanted to take the tram ($2.00 USD) up a high hill for a fantastic view of the town. Whoever had given her information about it said the entrance was up the hill. Which hill? “Are you sure she meant this hill.” I hated wasting my time. On and on we trudged. No tram entrance. The hill levelled out; we accosted a couple coming toward us, who did not give specific directions but pointed down the hill. We stopped at one of the shops, then asked another passerby. Back to the tourist-filled sidewalk, we meandered through the same shops for the third time.

“There it is.” Mary had the look of someone who knew where she was going all along. A family of five joined us. Maybe because the Cape Fox Hill Tram happened to be red, I immediately thought of Dr. Who and his telephone booth. The buttons for operation are the same as you find in an elevator. The over 200-foot incline took about minute before we stopped more than 100 feet above the harbour.

We had no idea what we’d find at the top. Straight ahead double doors enticed us into a lobby, which appeared to be a hotel. Fantastic seating with deep sofas and chairs faced a working gas fireplace and a switched on flat screen. Out the back door were gardens and more totem poles. On the other side of the lobby, magnetic food smells and brewing coffee drew us in. The best seats by the windows overlooking Ketchikan were taken, but though almost noon, the restaurant was not busy. I felt invisible as no server approached our table until Mary lassoed a waitress for the Wi-Fi password. I only wanted a simple coffee. Not Mary, who perused the menu; muffins took her fancy. When a waiter finally stopped by, he said they had none.

“But they’re on the menu. What kind do you have?”

“I’ll check.” He disappeared. We waited and waited. We waited some more and grabbed a waitress, asking after our server. Mary’s blueberry muffin finally arrived. It wasn’t oven-warm so we decided it hadn’t just been baked because service had taken so long and we’d been told they had none.

We caught up on email, ate, drank and left money for the food and left. Who has all day to wait for service?

Traipsing back to Creek Street and the many quaint shops, I no longer found them appealing and voted for a return to the ship for a proper, if late, lunch.

The day finished with an enjoyable viewing of LaLa Land in the ship’s theatre. Prior to seeing the movie, I’d heard there were opposing camps regarding this production: those who love it and those who do not. I loved it. Popcorn arrived late once again, during the latter part of the movie and we were drawn to pinch a bag each on the way to our room. One last look outside confirmed we had missed the sunset again. The skyline appeared bruised in shades of purple, pink, orange, and yellow.

Night, night.

~ * ~

If you’ve never tried it, here’s a chance to see what a tram is like.

Next on June 22nd – North to Alaska: Art Auction Confusion

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


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North to Alaska: Ketchikan Beckons

Dismal fog and rain greeted the new morning, the cruise ship a little tippy and drunk. We had an early breakfast, eager to set foot on dry land again. In the distance, Ketchikan beckoned in what we hoped was fading mist.

We were too early for the 10:00 a.m. disembarking. A small group paced a narrow hallway, faces placid but feet itchy to move on. Soon the line became a throng, hallway, and stairway congested with humanity taking off layers as crowding and body heat rose. It worked like traffic at a standstill where cars in the exit ramp manage to squeeze in front of drivers who are already frazzled from waiting but can’t help edging forward, all but honking horns for something to do.

As 10:00 drew near, Mary realized she’d forgotten her wallet, fought her way down the packed stairs and raced to our room. I should be used to last-minute shenanigans but they still unnerve me. She made it back before the doors opened and we made our way outside at last to a fine, discouraging drizzle.

Ketchikan means creek of thundering wings of an eagle where Tlingit people fished and named the creek by that name.

Watchful for the tour guide we’d come upon in Juneau, she had been neither in the waiting area on the ship nor coming ashore. Passengers gathered in groups around placard-bearing advertisers promoting excursions. The trickle of travellers thinned to zero. No use wasting more time, we took several photos and moved on.

A prominent sculpture greeted all visitors in ship’s port, titled The Rock. Click to read about it and meet the seven life-size figures represented.

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Mary had Alaska canned salmon uppermost in her mind. We tried the first store advertising canned salmon—and there were many. She decided $7.99 USD was too expensive for a measly can. She asked for directions to a processing cannery. The sales girl withheld sharing a specific route, pointed in the general direction of the front window (or maybe a wall), and said it was a long walk up the hill. Good news to Mary who wanted to investigate. Without clear having done any previous research, she blindly headed off with me in tow.

A white bus passed with a sign advertising free shuttle. At a bus stop, we talked to a young English speaking Asian couple, who were guests on another ship. “The free shuttle goes quite a way out of town—all the way to Walmart,” the young man said.

We didn’t want to go to Walmart and Mary decided she wanted to take a city bus. Like the Aries she is, she was willing to jump on the bus and expect the driver to tell her where to find a cannery. Miserable about the situation, I finally convinced her this approach was not worth our time. We should have taken the shuttle for the free tour of the city and beyond. If nothing of interest prompted further investigation, we could return and carry on. What a missed opportunity.

Quick Facts:

To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.

John Muir

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Next on June 8th – North to Alaska: Dolly Who? Dolly What?

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


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North to Alaska: Bet You Don’t Know These Quick Facts!

Wish we hadn’t missed the city tour bus to the Skagway Gold Rush Cemetery. A store clerk mentioned it too late and we were already bone tired. I don’t visit graveyards as a rule, but historical ones are intriguing. An interesting character popped up when I did a little research on my iPad later. Read about Jeff “Soapy” Smith here.

Read about the Slide Cemetery and the Pioneer Cemetery here.

Mary and I knew Mother’s Day would fall during our cruise but booked our holiday anyway. Like mothers everywhere, we deserved a special treat since we were away from home and family. The Lido Market, where most of our meals had been eaten buffet-style, ran short of lobster tails, the main event on the menu. Guests were asking for two and three tails at a time. Our turn came and only one tail was available. We’d have to wait. My dander up a touch, I grabbed Mary’s arm and we skedaddled in search of fine dining—the Rotterdam (again)—for our celebration dinner. After all, we had dolled up for festivity. Though there were other restaurants to choose from, we liked this one and knew where to find it.

Again asked if we’d accept sitting with others, we agreed. On my left, an Australian couple: she a teacher turned calligrapher and her husband, a pediatric physician, deaf in one ear since age five.

To Mary’s right, sat a 20-something single woman with limited food preference or on a special diet, who had pre-ordered a personal size veggie pizza. The couple next to her came from England, the husband originated from Australia. I did not talk to his wife because she sat too far away across the huge, round table. She was deep in conversation with a 50-ish woman and her father from the States. Grin. United Nations of sorts.

I ordered the Surf & Turf (a lobster tail and filet mignon). The waiter offered to cut the lobster out of the shell for all the females. O-h-h. Is this service or what? I splurged on a glass of divine Cabernet. I never eat dessert but had black coffee instead, which tasted scrumptious. Why was it worlds apart from the type served at Lido Market buffet? Were we still on the same ship? Unbelievable.

Filled to the brim with food and wonderful conversation following a long and leisurely dinner, we vetoed any activity other than shoes off, feet up, and thoughts of bed.

Earlier in the day before we glammed up

Bet You Didn’t Know: 

  • 1916 Dr. William Skinner Cooper, founding father of ecology
  • Also founding father of Glacier Bay
  • 1925 Glacier Bay declared a national monument with help from President Calvin Coolidge
  • World Heritage Site
  • Second largest wilderness site in the world
  • Majority of visitors arrive by cruise ships
  • 7 tidewater glaciers found here
  • Carbon Monoxide off the scale more than any other place
  • Carbon dioxide makes seas acidic, bad in cold waters like here
  • National Park Service: study climate change in our own lives
  • Fastest glacier retreat (melting) since 1850 (a sign of global warming)
  • Evaluation of warming atmosphere is a warming ocean
  • 43 countries have scientific study about heating up, locked in heat, rising water
  • Sea levels rising here
  • Home to moose, wolves, black, brown, and Grizzly bears, orcas, humpback whales, otters, dolphins, and salmon to mention a few
  • Example of John Hopkins Glacier: 1 mile wide by 12.5 miles long (a seal sanctuary)
  • John Hopkins Glacier still advancing (not reducing)

I’ve gathered a ton of information but don’t want to bore you. The above are a few highlights.

Images Glacial Bay

What is the difference between an iceberg and a glacier?

An iceberg is what breaks off (calves) a glacier and usually sits 10% above water.

Glaciers are a combo of snow and ice and collected junk/debris, and entirely above water.

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Next on June 1st – North to Alaska: Ketchikan Beckons

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


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Inlets, Wilderness and a Polar Bear Dip

Yes, we missed the Magician’s magic show due to a sit-down dinner, and not to compare one as more interesting than the other, I did learn an interesting tidbit this day. When I think of Alaska, I think of BIG snow, but how do people get from one town to another in winter especially when it comes to the trains battering tonnes of snow (or so I imagine)? How do they do it? A snow plow train blower is on display on the edge of town for all tourists coming in and out of Skagway to see.

Pictures are okay, but watching a snow blower on the tracks is another story. It gives me goosebumps to imagine getting stuck on a train surrounded by nothing but snow.

After our meandering visit in Skagway, we passed over a couple sets of railway tracks, paths to park-like settings, and more brands stamped/painted on rock faces.

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The next morning, Mary and I grabbed our earliest breakfast while walkers already traipsed the wet promenade deck wearing gloves and bundled in weatherproof jackets with hoods.

Soon we joined other gawkers as the cruise ship entered Glacial Bay. Rain-slick decks, dripping railings, and the weeping sky discouraged the majority of travellers from coming outside. Darn weather. I hunched in my weatherproof jacket and stuck it out until the captain performed a s-l-o-w 180-degree turn in a space I was sure we’d scrape the surrounding mountains. No damage to the ship and no sea life endangered, I guess the captain had performed this act a time or two.

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The show over, we’d had enough damp weather and clumped inside to warm our bones with a hot drink. Mary signed up for a polar bear dip mid-afternoon in the outside pool. Only three other brave souls from the whole ship entered the contest: a 14-year-old girl; a young man of 20 or so; a young oriental mother with her four or five-year-old son, and my sister Mary.

The announcer read a long speech to stir up a little tension, I suppose. Around 30 or so onlookers—noses dripping with rain—drifted outside to cheer on the contestants. Hoods up and dancing from foot-to-foot, the curious itched for entertainment relief from their chill and boring day. There would be no prizes; only ah honourable mention for the winner. Where? On their fleet of cruise ships? So, nothing for their efforts except a plain certificate of accomplishment.

The show was over in a flash. Holding her nose, Mary jumped up onto the raised wall ledge of the pool, leapt up, and cannonballed into the water. Afterward, she asked how many pictures I’d taken. I’d used my iPad min not a fast-action camera. “One—of you,” I said. Oopsie. I guess I failed as her media photographer.

Inside the ship, Mary headed to the hot tub. I lounged next to a white-robed woman to whom I mentioned my surprise when my sister soldiered up for the dip. “I give the three other people a lot of credit, considering the damp and cold weather. Too cold for me.”

The woman looked me straight in the eye and grinned. “How much you want to bet the outside pool is heated?”

“O-hh.” My sister hadn’t said a word about the water. She shivered for all the onlookers and played her part. When I asked about the water temperature, Mary made a face and said, “My lips are sealed.”

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Next on May 25th – North to Alaska: Bet You Don’t Know These Quick Facts

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

 


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North to Alaska: Shopping, Saloons, and Beer

The open door of a large bar and grill is all Mary needed to take as an invitation to come inside for a sit and a tall one. A handful of thirsty patrons at scattered tables and at the bar looked up as we strolled in from the bright outdoors. Bottled domestic beer went for a reasonable $4.50 a bottle USD, whereas, draft sold for $6.00. We chose Denali Gold draft and sat at the bar. Mary sweet-talked the genial, young bartender into a glass of mixed nuts for munching. A handful more thirsty tourists wandered into the darkened interior. I hadn’t brought American dollars this trip, except for a credit card and wasn’t about to charge one glass. Thank goodness, Mary was flush with cash.

Rehydrated, we drifted into an interesting dress shop, or Mary did and I followed, but thank goodness, neither of us got caught up in trying on all the pretty clothes. American fashion is so much more attractive than what we’ve seen in Canada for years. We meandered from one store to another till we ended up in The Shirt Company where—true confession, don’t tell anyone—I weakened and picked up a couple shirts, postcards, socks, and Alaska fridge magnets for everyone back home. I hate shopping and have no idea what drove me to go all out like this. Maybe telling myself I’d never be this way again had something to do with my spending spree. When I’m good, I’m squeaky clean; when I’m bad, I’m terrible.

I have not found much about this interesting building called the Arctic Brotherhood Camp

Little foot traffic in Skagway and with the chilly but decent weather, we took lots of pictures.

We stepped into a saloon (and museum) not knowing what to expect. The patrons were wax figures as were all the props, food on the counter included. At first glance and a second later, we noticed they were still.

Interesting posters:

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Next, we stepped into the famous Red Onion Saloon

For dinner, we opted for a restaurant (The Rotterdam) on the ship instead of the grill and buffet we’d frequented. Seated at a table for 10, we had to wait till the table filled up before anyone would take our order though menus were handed out as we lowered into our chairs. A young blonde female vegan from South Dakota joined us. A couple from Australia and another couple from Calgary came along, but they were too far away across the wide table for a proper conversation.

Because it took a long time to finally order and eat, we were too late for the Magician’s show we’d been planning to see.

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Next on May 18th – Inlets, Wilderness, and a Polar Bear Dip

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


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North to Alaska: Skagway Adventures?

We were already docked when I looked out the window at 6:45 a.m. The weather was (again) overcast, not an uplifting start to the day. Sigh.

Our stateroom window provided a view of a sheered rock wall painted/stamped with brand names from our narrow entry point. This is just a small sampling.

A five-car came tram along. People lined up already but no one had his or her hood up, so I guessed the rain finally took a time-out. I assumed this might be a tour tram but probably not gratis.

Breakfast first by 8:00 a.m. The dining room busy but not full. Hungrier than I realized, I chose porridge with a cup of prunes (for taste, silly), a couple slices of cheese, raisins and sliced almonds on top, and orange slices, kind of my usual breakfast plan at home. I couldn’t be happier. I must be losing my mind or my age is showing. Am I on a cruise or at home? I’m not a fan of eating out often. After a day or two, while travelling, I’m bored with restaurant meals. They all lack that distinct homemade flavour.

We realized we need not rush out to discover Skagway as our day was free till 8:30 pm. We took our time till after lunch. How big can Skagway be if it shuts down for the winter?

The power went off all over the ship around 9:45 am. The Captain apologized for the inconvenience over the intercom, then a flicker and all went black. No satellite reception since we woke. I tried my laptop. Nothing. The TV was dead, too.

We lazed and read the morning away, choosing lunch around 12:30 before heading to explore Skagway. Chicken salad hit the spot. We’d been eating too freely and decided to rein in the bad habit of gorging because we can.

Still no satellite reception after lunch, we pulled ourselves together for a stroll into town for Wifi, above all else. We worried Skagway might be black as well, but

Since we ventured out late in the day, we had no idea if we’d missed a free tour like the previous day (even by accident as we had been). I heard no announcements for the first-day tour and not for this second one.

Bored with the damp weather, we ventured out and met stragglers returning to the ship with name brand shopping bags. Their recommendations were golden. Tourist feedback is more valuable than anything advertised. I like real people rather than marketing gimmicks.

Quick Tips:

We strolled from the ship into the town of Skagway, a distance of under a mile but worth every step. The weather had improved and the day smiled for a change, the sky smeared with frothy clouds, the day dried by a generous sun. What a refreshing change. I’m not old enough for laid-back cruising; I’d rather walk, free to move around. The ship is too confining for me though there is a lot to do onboard. I’m not a water baby so the pool holds little attraction for me.

Our bright day trek looked like this along the way:

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Next on May 11th – North to Alaska: Shopping, Saloons, and Beer?

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


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North to Alaska: It’s All Greek to Me

The tour guide had to check if the door was open for entry to the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church. We lucked out; she found a caretaker with a key. Finally, a chance to get out of the tiresome misting rain.

The Tlingit parishioners built the blue and white, octagonal church from local wood in 1893. The history is fascinating, at least to me.

The tour ended with the church visit. We were on our own. What to do? The famous Red Dog Saloon beckoned. Silly not to peek inside, right?

Too chilled for a beer, we didn’t stay long and moseyed into a couple little shops—mega touristy trinkets—to pick out gifts for the family back in Ontario. Mary chose two charms for a forgotten bracelet. I bought a bunch of postcards (five for $1.00 USD), which are scarce back home and cost a dollar each if you’re lucky to find them. As well, I picked out two pairs of charming Forget-me-not Swarovski Crystal pierced earrings for my granddaughters. My daughter is a necklace queen; I saw no interesting pieces for her.

Stopped at Vintage Fare Café  and Espresso for a coffee, a sit, and much-needed Wifi. Sitting proved to be my undoing as I felt lazy and tired of the chill in my bones. We were happy to return to the ship without having spent hundreds of dollars on excursions and planned to watch out for tour guides at the rest of our stops in port.

Along the way back, we passed numerous plagues about lighthouses and this huge outdoor mural: Passengers not allowed at the top of this house. I’m surprised my photo didn’t turn out bad either.

The shops are bright and the boats inviting. Why do towns on the water—everywhere it seems—have their buildings painted in delightful, vivid colours?

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Shoes off, we decided to kick back and enjoy a glass of wine in our stateroom. By 6:30, My stomach rumbled. I looked forward to the specialty on the menu: salmon. Other choices were pork and beef but fish it had to be. What luck! No salmon. Ten minutes, they said. This, after a shortage of shrimp the previous night. I was not happy. The twice-baked potatoes were dry and the green beans tough and stringy. Mary’s patience rewarded her with a sliver of salmon which I ranked as undercooked, opaque, and gelatinous. She said it was o-kay.

I had no desire for my usual after dinner coffee. That’s a first. After a glass of water, I was done.

We decided to take in a movie. The small but authentic theatre, we later found out, was also used for various Sunday services. It seemed a popular venue and filled quickly. Having arrived early, we chose seats dead centre to the screen with a clear view throughout the movie, titled Split. It was not clear why the main character with 23 personalities snatched three girls and kept them hidden. I enjoyed the opportunity to vacate our room and the new experience of the glam ship’s theatre. On second thought, that’s incorrect. We watched movies on the ship my mom and I sailed to Canada, but I have no recollection what the theatre looked like. Though only four, I do not know what movies we saw but do recall a man hitting on my mother and gifting me a bag of raisins. I wonder if she confessed to my father when we arrived.

As the credits rolled and we lined up to exit the Alaska cruise theatre, a ship hostess handed out small bags of fresh popcorn. Yum. Another day ending.

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Next on May May 4th – North to Alaska: Skagway Adventures?

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


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North to Alaska: Yay! Juneau Ahead

The ship rocked and rolled in the night, waking me twice. Were the bored waves playing heave-ho responsible for my roiling stomach for a second night? You know: dark all around, nothing in sight for miles, everyone asleep. Ship looking for excitement? Shakes up passengers?

I looked out the window when banging overhead sounded but there was no thunder or flashes of lightning in the sky. In the morning, the deck outside our wet drizzled window was the deck. Great. Tossed and turned in the early morning while the world snored wondering if I should kick in $55.00 for 100 minutes of internet. I decided it would be worth it as I wanted to contact home. The signup online was easy but accessing my account proved futile. I wasted all but 15 minutes of the hundred by the time I called the desk for help. When I logged onto my iPad, a message saying I was on too many devices flashed on the screen. What?

I wasn’t about to buy more minutes but asked they give me back at least half. I ended up with the balance of 15 minutes left plus 40 returned. No more time to play around. It was time for breakfast and then docking in Juneau.

After breakfast, we followed the crowds to the disembarking area. Excitement and chatter filled the stairway up to that particular deck. People took off jackets as all the heavy breathing heated the small space. We waited so long, questions regarding the location of the bathrooms circulated.

Our impatience finally bore fruit and double doors opened to allow x-ray of bags and/or knapsacks x-rayed and names checked against the passenger list as we disembarked. I cannot believe our luck: rain and drizzle awaited our first excursion. We had no idea we had a tour guide on the ship but we followed her after asking if we could (no charge). Mary wasn’t keen at first. She asked how long the tour would be (approximately 1-1/2 hours). It was turned out to be the best idea as we wouldn’t have known to visit some of the hot spots.

We hadn’t planned any excursions (cheaper to plan direct) and hadn’t changed our minds once we’d boarded ship (more expensive there). I have no complaints about our impromptu walk through Juneau. More about that later.

Here are some examples of possibilities and costs on offer when booked on the ship:

The rain continued but the tour guide entranced her followers, hoods on and hoods off, umbrellas up and taken down.

Juneau Quick Tips:

  • Population: about 32,000
  • Jobs: government, tourism, fisheries
  • 3 ways to come to Juneau: air, water, boat
  • Unlike Skagway, open for business all year round
  • Capital of Alaska
  • Russia sold Alaska to the U.S. in March 1867 for $7.2 million
  • Yukon Gold Rush 1896-1899
  • Alaska flag adopted 1927, designed by 13-year old Benny Benson
  • January 1959, 49th State

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Next on April 20th – North to Alaska: Rainy Juneau Tour

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles