You can get any where in the world within a day or two. We are flying to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, today with our good friends Jimmy and Barbara as a start to our Rhine River Cruise on Viking River. Starting in Philadelphia on Lufthansa, we are flying through Frankfurt. Two good flights and we found ourselves in the northern city of canals.
Amsterdam is a small city, protected by dikes to keep the sea at bay and landfill to provide a foundation. Most buildings are built on pilings pounded into the land below the water. Today, as the city pumps the water out, many buildings are suffering from problems with their wooden pilings. As the water is removed the soil is compacting and the houses are suffering.
Great time in Alaska and Canada. Now all that remains is our trip home. Our flight was scheduled for 8:20am, so we had to be up and out early, really early. That meant setting the alarm clock for 4:00am so that we could be taxi bound for the airport no later than 5:15am. Although we were on our way early, we had to go through security and U.S. customs (that’s right, U.S. customs is in Vancouver).
We were headed to Phoenix for our second flight to Philadelphia and our connecting time was tight. We had less than an hour to make our flight. American says that 40 minutes to make a connection is okay. A lot they know and clearly they don’t care that disembarking the plane and getting from one terminal to another just can’t be done in that small amount of time. Especially when the door to the departing flight closes 20 minutes prior to the scheduled time for takeoff.
The cure to the connection problem; get a text message from American, after you left your hotel in a taxi bound for your 8:20 flight, that the flight has been postponed until 10:50am and, oh by the way, your connecting flight has been rebooked from a 12:15pm flight to a 3:40pm departure. That made working our way through the airport a lot easier.
Now, we had plenty of time. In fact if we could have booked the flights, you know, Vancouver to Phoenix to Philadelphia, we might have chosen this itinerary. I say that because we did! When we made our reservations we chose the 8:20 flight connecting with the 3:40. American, without any input from us, unilaterally rerouted us. He who has the power makes the flight plans.
Both flights were pleasant and uneventful. Things have a way of working out. Home at last.
Our next trip is scheduled for November when we travel with friends to Amsterdam for a river trip down the Rhine to Basel, Switzerland. Follow my blog and hopefully I’ll have internet so that I can post as we go. See you then!
Vancouver is a beautiful city! JoAnn and I have been here twice before and found it to be clean, friendly, architecturally interesting and generally inviting. We stayed at the Pan Pacific Hotel on the waterfront at Canada Place. Holland America booked us there for a one-night layover before flying home to Philadelphia. The Pan Pacific is attached to the Vancouver Convention Center and the cruise ship pier. It has a terrific view of the harbor. The following three photos were taken from our 16th floor room.
Not much to say about today. It’s a day cruising the inside passage on our way to Vancouver, Canada. It’s also our last day on board and packing, although a nuisance, is a must. As with everywhere except Ketchikan, its raining. What a monotonous thing to have to report. I’ll bet even you, the reader of this journal, is getting tired of reading it. Imagine how we feel. And yet, in some ways the rain, wind, clouds and mist provided a mystery and beauty to the land.
I didn’t take any photos today as there is nothing more to add.
We took it easy in the morning. We took it easy in the afternoon up until, that is, packing time. Then we took it easy again in the evening. We started with cocktails in the Ocean Bar with our family.
Pre-dinner cocktails was the one time in each day when we gathered together as a family; it was the time when JoAnn and I learned about their experiences during the day. That’s when we learned about their visit to the sled dog training center and about their rafting trip when Colin, who is bound for Penn State University when we return, jumped in the water to test the wet suit. This trip was special for Colin, Casey and Valerie as it was a graduation present and a chance for the three of them to experience Alaska together. Colin loves the outdoors and intends to major in environmental science at the University.
Tonight was our night in the Pinnacle Grill and, as I said before, we certainly enjoyed our dinner and our last night on the Noordam.
Well, our bags are packed and waiting to be hustled into the hold for offloading tomorrow. Vancouver, here we come.
What do you call it when the rain isn’t falling, the breeze isn’t blowing and the day isn’t cold and bitter? A rare, sunny day in Ketchikan, Alaska’s rainiest town. Why just yesterday they had almost three inches of liquid fall from the sky. How lucky were we to see the sun? What a wonderful day. Here is the view as we sailed in.
August 9th is another rainy day and it finds us in Juneau, the capital of Alaska. Juneau is named after Joe Juneau, a gold prospector who came to the area in the late 19th century. As Joe must have said, “there’s gold in them, there hills” and the city was off and running. The city is nestled between Mount Juneau and Mount Roberts and is land locked with the only way in or out being by water or air. It is also the only state capital that borders a foreign county. Lets don our rain gear and set off to see the town.
Rainy, windy, cool; these adjectives describe the weather in Haines today. Oh, and did I mention cloudy? Clouds hang low over the mountains obscuring the peaks. Welcome to Haines.
We had no set plans today. We took our time this morning and decided to walk into the newer part of town. Bundled in warm clothes and girded against the rain off we went.
If you are visiting Alaska a trip into Glacier Bay is a once in a lifetime experience. We stopped to pick up a park ranger (Glacier Bay is a national park) around 8am. She narrated our trip into the bay, pointing out interesting things along the way. “Look, at 2 o’clock, there are some mountain goats. See those little white dots half way up the mountain. There they are,” she would tell us. Unfortunately, I was did not see any goats or bears or any wild life. What I did see was nature; rivers of ice, mountains, waterfalls, glaciers, clouds and mist. I did my best to capture it for you.
Lets start with a photo taken from my seat in the Explorations Cafe, as we entered the bay.