Alaska Epilog

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, Canada, August 12, 2018

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.

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Cruising the Inside Passage, Alaska, August 11, 2018

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.

On board the Holland America Line Noordam, August 6, 2018

Our first day on board the Noordam was a relaxing one as we cruised the Gulf of Alaska in route to Glacier Bay.  We decided to take our time in the morning and have a leisurely coffee in the Explorations Cafe.  Then we were off to take some photos of the ship and a selection of its art work.  The ship is designed in muted colors and the day was rainy.  Many of the photos are on the dark side for which I apologize.  I still think they provide an accurate reflection of the ship and its art.

Lets start our tour in the Lido Market.  We have always felt that Holland America had an outstanding buffet and the Noordam did not let us down.  There was plenty to choose among from Asian, to Italian with multiple pizzas to choose from, sandwiches and so much more.  No table stayed dirty for long, as busy boys were numerous and attentive.  Here are a couple of shots of the Lido.

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Anchorage, Alaska, August 4 & 5, 2018

We made it!  Arrived in the Sheraton Anchorage, for our Holland American southbound cruise, around 1am on August 5th.  The hotel lobby was deserted save for the lady behind the reception desk.  There were two rooms reserved for us and we were happy to finally be in Anchorage.  We arrived only nine hours later than originally scheduled.  No sightseeing, no dinner, no nothing in Anchorage today.  Blame the weather, American did.

Here’s the view from our window.

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Luggage, as arranged by HAL, is scheduled for 8am pickup.  Rain or shine, someone will be knocking on our door to grab our bags to transfer them to the Noordam.  That means Caden and I (JoAnn and Jenna are in their own room) have to be ready at 8.  We are taking a train to Seward, where we board the ship, but the luggage goes ahead of us.

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Update August 7, 2018

For those few of you who follow our travel adventures, I want to update you on our current trip.  The internet stinks on the ship and I can’t upload photos.  Yesterday I couldn’t even get on my site to write.  Maybe tomorrow I will have stronger connectivity.  In the meantime here’s the lowdown on our trip so far.

We made it to the Sheraton Anchorage by 1:00am Sunday morning August 5.  After a few hours sleep, Caden and I had breakfast and then met Casey, who was staying at the Westmark Hotel, for coffee.  He walked over to meet us and then we walked him part of the way back so that we could see a little bit of downtown Anchorage.  Pictures to follow.

We took the cruise train from Anchorage to Seward to join the Noordam.  Pictures from the train to follow.

We are in cabin 1055, an outside with a window.  The room could use more light but it is otherwise fine.  The ship is clean and in nice condition.  So far the food in the dining room is very good to excellent although our table is not very well located

Yesterday, August 6th, was spent cruising in the Gulf of Alaska as we headed for Glacier Bay.  I took photos of the ship and the artwork on board.  The art is interesting.  After taking photos of art on many ships, I am starting to become a critic of sorts.  The art here is definitely of a nautical nature.  Pictures to follow.

Today we are traversing Glacier Bay.  It’s windy, cold and raining.  Taking photos is a challenge but I think I got some very nice ones.  Glacier Bay is a true wonder of nature.  There is a lot to report about the day.  Just one note, our trip into the bay ends at Margerie Glacier which is, according to the park ranger who is onboard to describe our journey, one mile wide and 21 miles long.  Pictures to follow.

Ultimately I will posting each and every day.  Stay tuned and thanks for reading my blog.

Venice in the Evening, May 9, 2018

Our local guide, Barbara, works and lives in Venice.  She is one of the fortunate ones who still actually resides in the heart of the city.  She was exceedingly knowledgeable and, even more important, very nice.  After our gondola ride, I asked her for a recommendation of dinner.  When I ask a “local” for a recommendation I always couch it by asking, “where would you go for a date or special occasion?”  I explain that I am not looking for a touristy place, just somewhere where she would go.

Barbara recommended Osteria Enoteca San Marco.  So, we walked over to take a look at the place, liked what we saw, and made a reservation for 7:30pm.  Here is a photo taken inside the osteria.

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Day 2, At Sea, January 22, 2018

We woke to calm seas and breezy, warm weather on the 22nd.  We took our time getting going; what’s the rush?  No place we have to be and no one to answer to; as the T-shirt says, “life is good.”  We eventually made our way to the stern, outside the Oceanview Cafe and found a nice table, in the shade, near the bar, with a great view of the Atlantic.  We relaxed here for a few hours with a couple of glasses of white wine, just taking it easy and whiling away the hours.

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View of the Atlantic from our table

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