• Day9

    Juneau, Alaska

    August 20, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    We were greeted this morning with scenery right outside our window, as the cruise ship passed along the Inside Passage on the way to Juneau. This was just one of the reasons why we'd chosen a balcony room for this cruise. The scenery was worth the cost alone, and we could still enjoy it from the dining room.

    I had been feeling sick during some the night - probably from the espresso martinis! - which continued through some of the morning. The day was actually really warm which made me regret wearing a singlet, under the naive assumption that Alaska would be cold. We disembarked the boat with Woody and Stephen for the short walk into town.

    The town of Juneau was actually quite pleasant, and larger than Ketchikan. I had read previously on the internet that there was a public bus that would take us to the Mendenhall Glacier. As it turned out, the drivers at the bus station were far from helpful providing information about routes or which bus to catch. We even tried using Uber but it didn't seem to exist here.

    I went into a nearby Four Points Sheraton hotel where the concierge was a lot more helpful - he told me about a shuttle bus that cost about $40, went there in half the time and had more frequent schedules. The amount of extra money was worth it, so we took this option instead. We were glad we did - the trip was quick and the driver provided some great commentary.

    The glacier was definitely a worthwhile day trip. We managed to get some great photos without too many tourists getting in the way too. The walk to the glacier was interesting - it was on a raised walkway mainly due to bear activity. And sure enough, we walked past a mother bear and her cubs. Unfortunately they aren't exactly outgoing animals as they stayed behind a group of trees and bushes. Despite best efforts to get a photo of them, we weren't so lucky!

    We then walked to nearby Nugget Falls which, despite the sign saying the walk was over half an hour, we did in 10 minutes. The waterfall was worth seeing, as it also provided a closer viewpoint of the nearby glacier. It was a relief that we found a way to see them both as I was feeling guilty that my original plan didn't work!

    We then caught the shuttle bus back, where the driver offered to drive us all the way back to our cruise ship. Unfortunately for me, I was interested in seeing more of Juneau and maybe going up the funicular, but I didn't want to be the difficult one in the group. The four of us ended up having an early dinner on the back deck of the ship before relaxing in our rooms.

    As I was walking around the ship later that night, there were people talking about the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights. I was really interested in seeing them, as I missed the opportunity to see them when I visited northern Finland 20 years ago. After walking around on the top deck in the cold for a while, we were then told they might not come out until 2am. Realising it could have been a pointless venture, I went back to the room, but kept the curtains open all night just in case!
    Read more