We haven’t had good Internet access since we left home - either poor reception or outrageous prices. Anyway, I’ll try to give an overview of the trip highlights.
Vancouver - We rode the Hop-On Hop-Off shuttles for two days. Stanley Park was beautiful as was the walk along the Sea Wall. Seeing the Inukshuk which is the symbol for the 2010 Olympics was exciting. I loved the False Creek Ferry and Granville Island (lots of street performers and good food).
Cruising on the Statendam - Both the scenery and the food were fantastic. The Open Seating plan is new this year and we loved it. We eat dinner in the dining room and we can go anytime we want. (We could eat breakfast and lunch there but preferred the more casual Lido Deck buffets.) We have met people from all over the world and many are or were educators. The evening entertainment has been great - in addition to the Statendam singers and dancers, we have enjoyed an Alaskan Odyssey Show by a musical family from Juneau, a comedian ventriloquist, a comedian, a comedian magician, and movies. I loved the Indonesian Crew Show - of course we knew some of the performers!
Ketchikan - It rained hard that day but we still saw some of the town and of course the Silver Thimble quilt shop. We saw some totem poles but did not make it to the Totem Pole park.
Juneau - It was a gorgeous day. We went to Changing Tides Quilt Shop, walked around the downtown for a while. We saw the state capitol - it is just a plain rectangular building - no dome! The Alaskans are celebrating 50 years of statehood and we see reminders of that everywhere. We went to the governor’s house but Sarah Palin did not seem to be home!
In the afternoon, Ray went whale watching. It was one of the best trips the guides have ever had!!! They had many sightings and also saw pods of whales feeding (coming to the surface at the same time with their mouths wide open).
Skagway - Another great day. I fell in love with this town - it reminds me of Carbondale, Colorado in 1975. We found both quilt shops - Rushin’ Tailor and Changing Threads. They are just doors apart and owned by the same people. We saw musk ox yarn and garments - softer than cashmere, eight times as expensive at wool, super lightweight, and very expensive ( a sweater runs about $1000). I got to meet the ship’s medical team tonight. My doctor had given me a letter to give to the ship’s doctor if my sciatica got worse (did he know I was going to overdo?). The ship’s doctor was from Madison, Wisconsin! He gave me strong narcotics and I feel so much better. For a couple of days I could hardly move and now the pain is manageable again - hurray!
Glacier Bay - It was overcast and cool all day. We did not do the Polar Plunge - they filled the outdoor salt water pool with sea water from Glacier Bay. We saw many glaciers but especially enjoyed the large white one with blue. The huge black one was interesting. And later in the day, the glacier with the waterfall in it was really neat. I went to a scrap booking workshop that was lots of fun. Ray was out on different decks most of the day. During the formal dinner tonight, we were entertained with whale watching! Then right before we went to Showtime, we hit rough seas. I made it through the show but after that, I went to bed - my motion sickness patch just wasn’t enough.
College Fiords - A beautiful but cool day. We stayed very busy all day with activities including a 5K Cancer walk. The infirmary called just before I started and suggested I not walk it so my compromise was ½ mile. Ray did the whole thing. This was our last day and we had trouble just finding the time to pack!
This morning we were up at 4:30AM. We were in the first group to disembark at 6AM. After going through customs, we boarded the Cruise Train for Seward. Great weather and scenery except for a little fog. We saw moose and eagles. Our car steward was from Mexico - Carlos was lots of fun. He did a good job of telling us what was going on. We arrived in Anchorage about noon and caught a cab to the motel . After getting our room, we walked up to the Sunday Market. The Saturday and Sunday Markets are here every week for 18 weeks. It is warm - probably about 70 and very sunny. We ate at the market - fresh fried halibut, corn fritters, and French fries. So good!!! Then we wandered around looking at the crafts and the performers. Everything is open 7 days a week often as late as 10 PM! Of course it is still daylight then! We visited the quilt shop, a few other shops, and the Old Federal Building where we watched a couple of short films at the Alaska Center Theater - Heartbeats of Denali and Alaska’s Wild Legacy (put on by National Park Service). The laundry is done. Now we are trying to get pizza - so far Domino’s has screwed up our order and Today’s Pizza is about 30 minutes late - hopefully we’ll get to eat tonight - it is after 8:30!