Alaska travel notes – 3

Tuesday – Island Princess, at sea, headed to College Fjord

Sunday afternoon we took the Yukon & White Pass Railroad to White Pass Summit on the Canadian border. Today the railroad pretty much serves only the tourist industry, but it was built in the late 1800's to support gold mining. Touristy or no, it was an excursion well worth taking. The rugged landscape is not something we would have seen otherwise.

Sunday dinner was at the premium Italian restaurant, Sabatini's. We've both eaten plenty of Italian food, of course, but never in the traditional Italian manner. They ask you to order your main dish, then they bring you a sampling first of antipasto and then pizza. They stop and ask you if you want soup and/or salad, which we declined, and then they move on to the pasta. Only after that do they bring you your entree. I had the Sea Bass covered with pesto, which was marvelous and Terry had the lobster, which she loved.

We wanted to skip desert, but our waiter told the manager, and the manager told us that in his restaurant dessert was mandatory. Since it didn't affect our bill one way or the other, we acceded. We shared a lovely white mousse.

Monday was a day at sea in Glacier Bay, visiting Margerie Glacier in the morning. It is a humbling experience to be in the vicinity of something so huge and quietly powerful. We heard a couple of rumblings of "white thunder," but our naturalist said that the glacier was quieter than usual.

Monday dinner: A couple from San Antonio. The wife was career navy. And a couple from the Boston area. The husband was retired from high tech and used to work in Palo Alto.

While we're at dinner the room steward does the usual turn down and closes the curtains. The first thing we do when getting back to the room is open the curtains. Monday evening I was knocked off of my feet. I opened the curtains to the sight of stark, white, craggy peaks framed by the blue sky above and the blue sea below. It was the most stunning landscape I've ever seen in my life. Terry was blown away as well. We were looking at Icy Point. The woman from room service who brought us our wine said, "You wonder whether it's real." So true. We had a good couple hours of that view before it faded away. Stunning. Breathtaking. Pictures will not do it justice but I will share some when I have a faster internet connection.

Random thoughts

  • There's a lot going on on the ship in the evenings, but with the exception of Jean Mack, we haven't indulged ourselves. After all, why see a stage show when you can sit in your stateroom, order wine from room service, and watch the show nature is providing right outside your stateroom? (See above.)
  • It's a very odd experience to be looking out the sliding glass door of your stateroom with plenty of light to see the shore, and realize that it's 9:30 p.m. Likewise when you get up for the bathroom at 4:30 a.m.
  • It's second nature for me that when I have a question about something I get on my computer and look it up. Not now. Not here with the speed and price of the internet connection.

This evening: College Fjord. Wednesday: Whittier and the train to Denaili.

2 Comments on “Alaska travel notes – 3”

  1. Boston Pobble says:

    A grey-haired man at the restaurant last night here in Fairbanks, talking with his wife about the cruise they were on (they were obviously on the “land cruise” part) and I studied him harder than was completely appropriate, trying to decide if it might be you. Finally realized it wasn’t ~ and didn’t think you were in FAI anyway ~ but I wasn’t risking us being at the same restaurant and missing each other! 🙂
    Daylight at midnight is still an adjustment for me, as well. But I find a light midnight easier to take than a dark noon. Just don’t let the sun dictate your idea of what time it is or you end up getting about a minute of sleep every night.

  2. MikeC says:

    Thank you so much for thinking of me. You’re correct that Fairbanks isn’t on our itinerary. We docked in Whittier, took the train to the Princess Denali Lodge where we are today. This afternoon we’re heading to the Princess McKinley where we spend two nights, then on home.
    But yes, it certainly would have been good to have met.

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