June 2016 Alaska – Days 8 and 9

Today we have a cruise to Victoria and will not dock until 6:00 PM. So after getting up early for breakfast the buffet and aft decks are empty as everyone on the ship sleeps in. It is wonderful to be out here on the last day of breakfast with my son, peaceful, relaxing and enjoying the early morning with pastries and hot chocolate. It is so empty when breakfast finally opens, there must be about only a dozen of us in the buffet area, so I take out my pocket camera and start getting photos of the food service and dining areas while they are empty (these were shared in a previous blog post).

The family trickles in slowly and we enjoy our last full morning together.

Today I am going to take it easy, in the morning while everyone else on the ship are still resting I walk to get photos of the different areas of the ship, watch a documentary on the Alaskan Gold Rush in the Theater then just mosey around enjoying people watching.

Last Day Food-6At lunch they are having a Bavarian BBQ by the pool and that sounds pretty good to me. Everyone else is doing their own thing at lunch so I gorge myself on pulled pork, pork sausage, breads, sides and wonderful Bavarian desert cakes.

 

When we finally dock in Victoria at 6:30 PM I am exhausted, I was going to walk the couple of miles to downtown but just decide to stay on the ship, find a quiet spot to relax to do some reading and writing. Boy am I getting old, but I am missing Jodi so much today. It has been a difficult but very enjoyable trip and a real re-learning experience on how to take a vacation alone.

I decide to go to the room early to pack my bags as we will be docking and leaving the ship early tomorrow morning.

Up early one last morning to grab breakfast and enjoy my last day of sitting on the Aft Deck with my son enjoying the cruise into Seattle. We dock and leave the ship at around 7:30 AM and I say my goodbyes to the family and make my way to the Light Rail Station about ¾’s of a mile away.

After the 40-minute ride to the airport I exit the train for the long walk to the terminal through the parking garage. Going inside the terminal I head for the announcement board to determine which gate my plane will be in, but my flight is not until 3:15 PM and does not show up yet for the gate location. I see which gates Delta flies out of then head to the crazy long security line. Boy this makes Disneyland’s lines look short but at least it keeps moving and is well organized. About an hour later finally through security I walk the Main Terminal looking for an interesting establishment for lunch. Finding one or two that interest me I find an empty gate to relax and do some more reading until I am hungry.

Early afternoon and I am finally hungry so I head for a gourmet Hot Dog stand and get a dog, fries, candy bar and drink. Not good for you but it sure hit the spot and tasted real good and I have eaten bad all week so what is one more day. I’ll worry about good nutrition next week.

Boarding the plane at 2:30 PM I settle into my seat at the rear of the plane, read, gaze out the window and think about the week I have just had and what to do for my future adventures while just trying to keep my mind busy and not wander.

This would have been a vacation Jodi would have loved but hated at the same time as it would have been very difficult for her to walk and use the wheelchair with all the hilly terrain and crowds in the towns.

Well I am rethinking the BUCKET LIST and will be posting it presently along with a some of the past adventures I have been on.

STAY TUNED THIS RIDE IS NOT OVER YET!

June 2016 Alaska – Day 2

Well I sleep pretty well and do not need to be at the ship till 11AM but I am up at 6AM, so I take a shower and pack everything I used the night before. I walk next door to Top Pot Donuts and a delicious breakfast of some large donuts; a chocolate cake donut and a chocolate old fashion donut with milk. Yes, I am on vacation so I will eat things I do not normally have and be bad. I sit comfortably upstairs on the mezzanine level and slowly eat while I read my magazine.

Well it is about 8AM and I decide what the heck, might as well go for a early Sunday morning walk. I head down to see that the ship is in port and continue on for about another hour exploring a quiet downtown. After walking a lot of the streets I decide to get my bags and see if I can get on board early, so I check out of the room and head for the cruise terminal.

Norwegian Pearl

Ship Docked at Skagway

I check my carryon bag but carry my shoulder bag with the camera gear on to ship, The Norwegian Pearl, my home for the next week. Check-in is easy but I have to wait another hour or so to board until they have the ship cleaned up. As I sit the waiting room becomes clogged with fellow travelers. I have group #5 boarding time so when they start calling people I get on pretty quickly.

On board I find a nice window seat where I can view the entry on deck 7 Promenade and see when the family is boarding. In just about an hour everyone is on board and we all head for the buffet on Deck 12 to grab lunch and enjoy catching up on lost time. We hear the call that rooms are ready after about an hour and a half so off we go to Deck 10 where all the rooms are very close together.

At 4PM it is time to sail so we head back to Deck 12 aft and watch the Seattle skyline fade into the distance.

When the skyline fades away we have the first decision of the cruise; where shall we eat dinner? Since my daughter-in-law and her mother have been on this cruise once before it is decided we shall eat at the dinning room on Deck 7. Good choice as the food was excellent and we had a great window view.

Sail Day-2

Pool on Deck 12

After a leisurely dinner my son and I head to Decks 12 and 13 to walk off some of the rich meal we just finished. Casually we stroll the decks going up and down enjoying the evening air and just relaxing watching the shoreline glide past.

Sail Day-1

I mention all the decks as I have made up my mind not use the crowded elevators all week to fight off gaining weight and stay in somewhat good shape with all the good food I will be partaking in. Well it works today as I have walked 7.39 miles with 19,365 steps and have climbed 66 flights of stairs. Who needs a stair climber in the gym?

Whoa am I tired when I get to bed that night and sleep like a little baby as the ship gently rocks me to sleep.

June 2016 Alaska – Day 1

Alright the first trip on my own, well not quite as there will be 6 family members and 3 friends going along on this Alaska Cruise but I still count it being my first vacation trip since my wife’s passing. On this trip will be my son, his wife and 1 year old son, her mother, father and brother and 2 fun friends from Casper, WY I met at my sons wedding. The Wyoming friends are also bringing another friend along, also from Casper. So I won’t technically be alone but at times I will be exploring the towns we visit alone as I am not taking any ship excursions with the family.

I was up at 4:30AM Saturday morning to have my daughter take me to the airport for the 2 1/2 hour flight to Seattle, WA. Flying out at 7:30AM we landed at 9:45AM after flying a large circle around Seattle, as we were way early due to a tailwind.

I have good directions for the Light Rail line between Sea-Tac airport and downtown, buy my $3 ticket and board the train for a 40-minute carefree ride to town. Very easy system to comprehend with clean train cars. Getting off at the downtown Westlake Station I walk the ½ mile to my room for the night.

This little motel was not the best place in downtown but it was clean, safe, inexpensive and my room was actually ready for me when I arrived. So I placed my carry-on bag in my room, got my camera gear for the day packed in the shoulder bag and head out for a walking tour of downtown Seattle.

Seattle-29

First stop was to walk the 1/2 mile down to the cruise terminal and see how the walk would be in the morning. Well a 15 minute slow walk got me there to see the sister ship to mine, disembarking and embarking passengers for the sailing later that day.

OK, now knowing how to get there and how long the walk would take, I start my second part of the journey along the shoreline to Miners Landing – Pier 57 to see what this is all about. A ferris wheel is outside and a small shopping mall is inside the old pier building.

Walking quickly through this crowded shopping area I stumble upon an interesting antique shop across the street and go inside to look and see if there are any interesting subjects to photograph. Yes there are but the lighting was very poor and I had to really work the camera just to get any shots worth processing.

 

Seattle-28Continuing on I head uphill for Pikes Place Market to see this world famous fish market. Well it was interesting and there was a lot to see but it is so overrun with tourists in the afternoon that it is impossible to get any good photographs or to enjoy the sellers stalls. I wish I could have gotten there early in the morning before everyone was up. This place is soooooo crowed I found the first exit point to get outside and get a breath of air.

Done here with the crowds I walk over to the small Victor Stein Brueck Park, resting and gazing over the harbor for a while as I eat a small snack and have some water.

Rested I decide to walk the approximately 1 mile to the Space Needle to check it out. I am still very hungry so  I decide I need a lunch, the snack did not satisfy me. Finding a Subway sandwich shop I go in to get a quick 6″ Cold Cut Sandwich, chips and a drink.

Finishing the meal I continue my walk searching for a place to have dinner along the way. Several restaurants interest me so I at least have a pick for my meal later.

Seattle-34Arriving at The Space Needle it starts to rain, yes we are in Seattle and I must get a little wet. After a brief hour-long shower the skies open to a beautiful sunny day and sky. As I walk around the park I enjoy getting shots of the Space Needle, other museum buildings and play areas. Sitting and relaxing for a while, I just unwind from my flight and walk.

 

 

I am finished exploring and it is about 4:30PM so I head back to the room to drop my camera gear off, clean up and decide what I want for dinner.

I decide on the Bahn Mi sandwich I saw in a little shop a few blocks away on 5th Ave and head down the street to eat. Sitting there enjoying the sandwich I think about the day I have had, write down some notes and contemplate what is upcoming the next week on the family cruise. The sandwich is good and filling but I have had better Bahn Mi. Finished with dinner I head back to the room to rest and get ready to board the ship in the morning. But first I must see what Top Pot Donuts has in store for breakfast tomorrow morning. OH good, everything looks so YUMMY.

Back at the room I get everything ready for my embarkation and jot down my walking information for the day: a little over 10 miles and 25,174 steps, quite a day of plane travel and exploring. I fall fast asleep for a good nights rest, I don’t even remember my head hitting the pillow at somewhere about 10PM.