Thursday, May 27, 2010
Juneau and Sitka
We've had our first two shore excursions. Juneau was pretty much a bust. I did find the yarn store (right on the main drag) and bought some gorgeous Alaska-made sock yarn, and we took a tram ride to the top of Mount Roberts, a beautiful place. However, we hadn't planned well enough, so we were left with large chunks of time and no way to fill them. We tried hiking on the mountain, but I wasn't dressed properly, and Gary couldn't abide the over-crowded shopping areas down below. I was also unaccountably exhausted. We wound up wandering disconsolately around the docks, waiting for our salmon-bake bus to leave.
Overall, the two lessons of yesterday were, "Do lots of planning for shore trips" and "eat all your meals on the boat." We ate lunch in a cafe with terrible service and marginal food. The salmon bake, meanwhile, was outright awful: the salmon was rubbery and featured a sauce of, I kid you not, sugar water. Everything was served out of giant steam tables in a clearing in the woods. I'm not sure what I was picturing, but that wasn't it. I also didn't think it was possible for me not to like salmon, but that place proved me wrong.
We did hear a terrific family string band at one of the tourist centers, and I bought one of their CDs, so that was nice. We were incredibly happy to be back on the boat, though!
Sitka went a lot better. We had a 2:00 excursion to the Raptor Center; Gary announced that he was staying on the boat until then, which left me the morning to shop by myself, a much better arrangement for both of us. I had a great time. The yarn store was too far for me to get to except by cab, but since they didn't have qiviut-merino blend yarn, the only thing I wanted there was very small stitch markers for socks. The woman who owns the shop was driving into town, so she met me at a quilt store to sell me the markers. Perfect!
I also got a small and inexpensive, but very pretty, piece of art glass, a gift for our cat sitter, and a pair of cotton/bamboo capris on sale. When I met up with Gary for the raptor trip, we were both in a good mood, and we both loved the Raptor Center. Beautiful birds and nice people who love animals and volunteer their time to rehabilitate them: no downside!
Now I'm in the library on the boat, glancing back towards the picture windows at all the tiny islands as we leave Sitka. Did I mention what wonderful weather we had today? Warm, sunny, perfect. Also, Sitka's a sweet little town and feels like a place where real people live, which wasn't true of the parts of Juneau we saw.
Yesterday I complimented our steward on the origami animals and asked if he does cats. He said he'd do his best. The creature we found in our stateroom this afternoon looks more like a rabbit, but he certainly gets an A for effort. I'll post a picture tomorrow.
Tomorrow we'll be in Ketchikan, but only for about four hours. I suspect Gary will stay on the boat again while I yarn shop. Yay, yarn!