Monday, July 13, 2015

Alaska Breeze and Freeze

Road trip: Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Victoria, BC, Canada
Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise: Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan
 May 30- June 11, 2015


Now that I have some time and energy and little bit of pixie dust casting some inspiration, it's time I talk about my Alaska trip and the stops that lead up to it.  Needless to say the weather was cold and a bit drizzly at all times! However I can admit it did not dampen the mood on that Disney Cruise! (See what did there... Dampen... Because it was raining like ALL the time) Any who, to the nitty gritty, pretty much this trip was about: Food. Sleeping. Disney. And sightseeing.



Portland:
Observation, a bit quirky and lots of short people. Yet, this place fascinated me. Ones fly I think it was the walls. Haha. I found two of the greatest and sadly only got a good picture with one of them. What were they you ask? The first was a wonderful wall in black painted with white letters that read "KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD" and I felt like "whoa if this isn't just the perfect wall for a place like those". Unfortunately I was in line for the most awesome donuts at Voodoo Donuts where I actually did get a photo op with the walls of Emerald City!  No really they were this green glittery color and they made the 45 min line wait for a donut that much more worth it and interesting.




Seattle:
I honestly Loved Seattle. The moment I stepped out the car I had the worst allergy sneeze attacks however so I think my body rejected what my heart and eyes were wanting so much. But who cares. On the walk to the Seattle Mariners baseball game at Safeco Field I saw beautiful people and I felt like maybe that's where I should move! Haha. But seriously my eyes feasted on the beauty of city and of the people. See it's downtown area as we drive by, space needle in the distance,Starbucks headquarters, I just felt like "ok I can see myself living here...." (well maybe, haha I'm a Cali girl all the way.) 



Vancouver:
Holy moly was Canada a sight to see. I mean sure the drive up had beautiful green hills and mountains. But as soon as we got to the Canadian boarder it was a beautiful sight. I mean they have like a freakin garden surrounding the place. It was nice. And the architecture, I'm not much into that stuff but I could definitely appreciate the beauty of just everything I saw. Their homes. Their bridges. Their stadiums. Their sky rises. It looked different and beautiful. And I just loved it. Oh and there are Starbucks at every corner.


Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise:
Like I said before. Eating. Sleeping. Disney music, characters, movies. That sums up the ship. But Alaska, beautiful sightseeing. Waterfalls. Glaciers. I mean like a crazy blue color glaciers and icebergs. It was beautiful. It made you forget the fact that you were actually standing in the rain, wearing 10 layers, and being blown by a cold breeze.


Food was available to us at all times. We had ice cream and hot chocolate like 24/7. The lobster and the crème brûlée were my absolute favorite. Although I'll admit I was upset I didn't order the Elk one night because when I tried it I fell in love. No really, it was bomb! However, I'm a little bummed there wasn't more exotic food choices. I would have probably enjoyed the food more if there was. 

The ship had plenty of activities... Where about 95% had to do with Disney. Obviously this girl was not complaining. Broadway style shows. Disney movies on 24/7. A theater where we watched newly released Disney movies. A Frozen themed dance party on the deck where we literally Froze our A**es off in the rain haha. But there we were singing along and dancing while covered with blankets anyway. Plus it was pretty cool I me "Princess Anna" before the show and she totally liked my boots. Just saying, I met her. LOL. I also got to meet Belle and Cinderella.  So yeah, when a princess asks you if you would like to take picture, SAY YES. Always say yes, especially when she is your favorite.


We pretty much were bundled all the time. Tracy Arms was a beautiful Fjords where we saw icebergs, whales, seals, and a gorgeous Glacier. I'm not kidding you we chilled on that 9th floor deck from after breakfast (about 10 am), through lunch (ate out there too), and maybe up until 3in the afternoon, after taking a bazillion pictures with the glorious glacier in our background.



We got to our first stop the next day. Skagway. We took a tour through the town and drove into Canada then back into Alaska. This is where we realized there are a ton of jewelry stores in Alaska... Yup our first stop and we noticed. Haha we are a bright bunch, I know. Anyways... We saw a baby bear on the side of the road here. He was just precious as can be. But the thought of momma bear being around... Not so comforting. So we kept going. But here he is. Isn't he adorable!!?!



We were taken to the town cemetery at the end of the tour. It was actually their old cemetery, not their active one, so they had some stories about Soapy Smith, the town gangster if you will, and the man who killed him, which ironically as mentioned in the tour, Soapy is the one who is remembered more than the hero who killed him, and here I am forgetting the man's name as I write. There was also a wonderful story about the towns first tour guide.  he had a "giant gold nugget" put in there and was buried at that sight. (see below).  But my favorite part of this was that there was a trail through the cemetery that lead to a wonderful waterfall. I love waterfalls, I find them to be absolutely majestic and soothing. So seeing them all over these mountains was such a treat, but to be at one and to experience everything that was nature around it, now that... that was wonderful.


The day after that we were in Juneau.  We took another town tour.  Got to see the house where Sarah Palin lived while she was the governor. Pretty interesting I guess. haha. But we continued and saw so many Bald Eagles.  Like weren't these things supposed to be close to extinct? Not from what I saw.  We were dropped off at another glacier sight. Mendenhall Glacier National Park was beautiful.  There was even a waterfall just off to the side of the glacier.  I wish I would have hiked to it, but we weren't given enough time for that.  Regardless, from where we were the scenery was beautiful and breathtaking. I took so many pictures here I feared my camera would die. But how could you not when you just keep finding a closer and closer view each step you took.  Not to mention the rock formations we were standing on.  It was just beautiful.  (Side note: someone in our group heard a bear growl... I'm so glad I didn't because I would have frozen in my tracks and not have been able to run.) When we got back into town we went to a few little shops. I found the absolute cutest soap shop and just had to buy a couple of them.  They had an awesome little sign out there too that pointed to so many locations everywhere, I want one of these signs!  (I want to make soap now people I was that fascinated.)




Our final stop had to be my absolute favorite.  I finally went ZIP LINING in Ketchikan.  Let me tell you, when you get an email the day before you leave for your trip saying that the Bridge in your Zip Lining tour has been cancelled, and you interpret that to say you can't zip line anymore, because how else do you get to the trees if the bridge is down, then its like instant depression! But low and behold, as we entered our staterooms we noticed these pretty little tickets for our Zip Lining tour. WOOHOOO! It's still on! I'm so so so so so, (yes that much) happy that I got to do this.  I'm super afraid of heights. So yes, I had a mini panic attack and heart attack, and light weight wanted to faint the first couple times I threw myself off the platform. But I could not stop smiling! My fear of heights made this experience even more exhilarating and now I want to do it again, every where I go, no matter the price.  It's become a new hobby of mine!  Not to mention the crew we had was amazing! they all had interesting stories, they tried to get to know us, they joked around with us, it was all and all the best experience I could have asked for, even if the bridge was no longer included because some storm took down the tree it was attached to. (or so their story went)



When they took us back to their camp, we obviously needed to buy our pictures, laughed at a few of our poses, and then went for a walk to see a bald eagle up close and personal, and met a few reindeer.  They had a pretty awesome totem pole display as well.




Vancouver (return trip):
When we got back to Vancouver, our only plan was to attend the 2015 Women's World Cup.  Honestly who is lucky enough to attend the 2014 Men's World Cup in Brazil, and then just happen to be in Vancouver when the opening games in the city for the Women's World Cup the following year? THIS GIRL! It was so awesome to be able to get amazing seats at a great price and that last minute. We are a soccer watching family, and to be able to watch Japan, the defending champs, battle it out against the Sweden... I mean come on.. that's just awesome!





Victoria:
The island of Victoria is a beautiful place.  We visited the Butchart Garden which was filled with flowers and plants of all sorts.  It was really beautiful and my grandparents (the people with the greenest thumbs alive) were in their very own Flower version of Disneyland! Everything seems so pretty here. Cute town, some Victorian buildings, a hotel built for the Queen when she visited. I mean its pretty awesome. We found a great little pizza place and I'm a huge pizza fan so this was a great experience. We were all pretty bummed however that just about every shop was closed at like 7pm, we didn't get to shop at all! The next day we had to take a ferry back into the United States. It took us Port Angeles in Washington.  Let me tell you, that was NOT a pleasant ride. I felt pretty sick as we were riding the waves which I believe was made by the school of Orca whales that were jumping up and doing flips for us.  At least it was cool to see.  Cool to see, who am I kidding, as miserable as I felt, I was pretty nostalgic to the fact that the animal I loved as a child was seriously flipping in the air right next to our tiny ferry.  It was like being a kid again for a split second. (then back to feeling the upset stomach the next... haha)









So the rest of the drive back really isn't so interesting. But all in all, this trip was a wonderful experience. It has concluded my travels in North America (Canada, U.S.A., and Mexico) and so I feel somewhat accomplished on a map. Alaska, Washington, and Oregon were added to the list of states I've seen/visited, bringing my count up to 11! Woohoo!
Hope you've enjoyed my journey (and the rest of these pics) and that it influences you to have your own.

-Andrea


















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