Sunday, June 28, 2009

No longer boat people!

We are back on land for good - oh but we did love being boat people!

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!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ketchikan, Alaska

We docked in Ketchikan about 3 hours ago. It is 10:15 AM. We are having a driving rain storm that looks like it will last all day! So we are walking around in the rain!

Internet access is very expensive on the ship (we still check email once a day). Access is a little cheaper today at the New York Cafe but still expensive!

We are having a wonderful time and wonder why we haven't been cruising for years! We have met some really nice people.

Please keep our sister-in-law Betsy and my brother Jim in your prayers. Betsy was just sent home from the hospital - there is nothing more they can do for her. Jim says she is very weak.

Hopefully we'll have cheaper access rates after we leave the ship so we can post some pictures.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

In Vancouver

We are doing lots of sightseeing. We had hoped to do more walking but my back problems limited that so we have been using the Hop-On Hop-Off Trolleys. Yesterday we even rode one of the False Creek Ferries to Granville Island. The ferry was just a tad bigger than a bathtub! Today we made sure to stop at English Bay at the Inukshuk. You'll see likenesses of this in February - it is the symbol for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
This is the original and it was interesting to find that we saw it the last and only other time we were in Vancouver at Expo 86! Here we are earlier today.
Tomorrow we sail North to Alaska. We will leave from Canada Place which was also built for Expo 86.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A long day!

We got up at 3:15 AM (after not sleeping much) and we are still up - it is 10:30 at home. The flights were good - we went around one storm. The scenery was mostly clouds though. Ray had to take pictures and I think this is a really neat one.
We arrived in Vancouver around 11:30AM. The time difference is 2 hours from home. By the time we arrived at our hotel, it was about 1 PM. We had lunch at a very British place - Elephant & Castle Vancouver. The temperature was right around 70 degrees so we ate outside. Then we walked. The flowers are gorgeous!
Tonight we ate at a pub - Moose’s Down Under - it is authentic Australian. Dinner was superb! I had shrimp on the barbie and Ray had salmon. The house dressing was incredible - passion fruit vinaigrette.
I got a short nap around 5 this afternoon. I'm sore from all of the walking and hope it doesn't affect me too much tomorrow. We have a big day planned if it doesn't rain. We'll rethink things if we have to.
Well Ray is now asleep and I think it is time for bed so more later...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On our way

We are on our way! We visited Mom this afternoon and then travelled on to the Wyndham O’Hare. I don't think we have ever had two sinks in a motel room before! (Doesn't take much to impress me!)
We'll be catching the 4:30 AM shuttle to the airport tomorrow morning!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Heading North Northwest

We are packed and ready to leave. Packing was a pain - not the amount, the weight! We each have one suitcase and one carry-on. We could be taking a lot more but that darn weight limit caused a lot of adjustments - guess we'll do laundry a couple of times! We do have a few pounds left for souvenirs (maybe fabric)!

My back is some better. We are both excited and ready to go - we have dreamed of this for a long time. Ray is looking forward to going through Wasilla - he is sure that Governor Sarah will be by the train tracks to wave at us! I'm sure it'll be a highlight!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

a little back pain

After lots of pain, seeing the doctor, having tests ... I now know that I have spinal stenosis and sciatica. I have medication and exercises. The medication lets me sleep and the exercises seem to be helping. We are still going on our Alaska Adventure.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Our grandchildren

We are enjoying having all of our family close by for a week. Here are a few pictures of our grandchildren from last weekend.

5-year old Grace...
3-year old Jackson..
2-year old Mack doesn't give away smiles easily...
and 1-year old Colter who smiles all of the time...
The three older cousins riding on Mack's gator...

It was a delightful day!


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