Juneau, Alaska, August 9, 2018

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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.

Here is a view from the ship, taken as we were maneuvering into the port.

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As we made our way down the gangplank we met Rick Marshall , an affable fellow, who was working security at the port.  It’s the people of Alaska that matter.  I imagine he’s a great Santa Clause at Christmas time.  Just look at that great smile and wonderful beard.

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The port area is a mix of shops in old-time style buildings and tourists.  Tourism is Juneau’s second major industry; government is number one.

Juneau is attractive and inviting.  In the area around the port it is compact, clean and pleasant.  Lots of flowers bring color to the town.  I bet it’s nice in good weather.

We planned to have lunch at Tracy’s King Crab Shack; home of great king crab and other seafood delicacies.  When we arrived the line was out the door but moved quickly.

While we were in Haines JoAnn mentioned to someone that we were interested in having King Crab for lunch and the fellow told her to wait until we arrived in Juneau and to go to Tracy’s.  So we did; and we were absolutely thrilled with lunch.  A King crab leg the size of a club with a knuckle as big as my fist.  Steamed with drawn butter; it was terrific, the equal to the crab we had in Bergen (and that was wonderful).  Here is a photo of some of Tracy’s staff and crab legs waiting to be cooked; and none of them are the size of the one served to us.  Crab legs, crab legs everywhere!

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From Tracy’s we walked up the hill . . .

. . . that N. Franklin Street traverses to visit St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church which was built in 1894.  It is Southeast Alaska’s oldest continuously operating church.

Inside, this small church is lovely.

The history of the founding of St. Nicholas is very interesting.  What follows is taken from the church’s website.

There were no Russians in Juneau at the time the Church was conceived and it was the native Tlingit people who were the catalyst for the establishment of the Church.  Apparently, in neighboring Sitka and in the village of Killisnoo, a great majority of the Tlingit had embraced Eastern Orthodox Christianity during the Russian period (1741-1867).  

The Tlingit leaders had been experiencing a common, reoccurring dream.  In their dream, a short, white-bearded, elderly man encouraged them to become Christian. When these leaders saw an icon of St Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia, they all recognized him as being the man in their dreams. Three days later, the Priest-monk Mitrofan baptized both Yees Gaanaalx and his wife giving them the names of Dimitri and Elizabeth. Following their example some 700 Tlingit came forward to embrace the Orthodox Christian faith.

In Sitka, the Tlingit had their own Orthodox chapel where the services were conducted in their own language. In contrast to this, many American missionaries were under strict instructions from their own church authorities and the United States government to avoid the use of the native languages and customs, and to insist on the use of the English language.  To many of these missionaries, the Eastern Orthodox Church in Alaska seemed no better than the native peoples’ original pagan religions.

Partly as a result of this restrictive policy, many more traditional Tlingits in the Junea area gravitated toward the Orthodox Church, where local languages had been used in worship since about 1800 in Kodiak.

Almost immediately next door to St. Nicholas is the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The current building, constructed in 1910, replaced the original building which was erected in 1885.  The church became a cathedral in 1951.

From there it was back down the hill past state office buildings and the Sealaska Heritage which was established to perpetuate and preserve the cultures of the native people of Southeast Alaska.

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Not far away is the Red Dog Saloon, a fixture since the early days of the gold rush.  As we sat down at the bar, we were greeted by Jerad Russell our skilled and knowledgible bartender.

And, before heading back to the Noordam, a visit to the local brewery was in order.  In Juneau we stopped for a flight at Devil’s Club Brewing.

From there it was a short walk back to the ship.  Here are a few more photos of Juneau; things we saw, things I like or photos I just want to remember.

Back on board and resting my achey feet.  Great day, wonderful lunch, terrific flight and tomorrow Ketchikan.

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