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CFV2003 - Day 8 (Friday 6/27)

The short version: Train, bagpipes, Eskimo art, fried chicken, and a little pink bed. Lots and lots of sun.


Morning came too early, as it always seems to on trips. I usually need a vacation to recover from vacations. We made sure we had everything out of our room and staggered down to the theater to prepare for disembarkation. It was too early to even think about breakfast.

The port was in Seward, which is apparently only a port and nothing much else. Anchorage is about 130 miles away. We had a transfer from the ship, and we were expecting some sort of bus. Much to our surprise, they loaded us onto a train. Each car was cafe-style, four to a table. We were seated across from a couple who I would judge were perhaps in their late 30s or early 40s. Her name was Margaret; we never found out his name, but for the sake of convenience we referred to him as Joe afterwards. Joe was on his sixth trip to Alaska. It didn't appear that Margaret had been there before, because he was explaining everything to her. It was pretty neat, since he knew a lot of stuff, and it was like having a guided tour.

It was pretty clear Margaret had some sort of language problem, because she didn't talk much and struggled with it when she did. However, she didn't seem to have any trouble understanding. I listened for a while, partly because I'm nosy and partly because they were right across the table and it was hard not to hear, and it sounded to me more like some sort of brain injury than a foreign language/translation issue. I was right, as it turns out, because when Margaret expressed interest in the puzzle I was working on in my puzzle magazine, Joe explained that she was recovering from a stroke and that it might be something that would help her.

As with all the trips we took, everyone was on the lookout for wildlife. We saw Dahl sheep up on the cliffs, and finally we saw two moose! I had been hoping to see moose, although I knew my chances were not good, and I was thrilled.

We had talked about renting a car in Anchorage so that we could go to the zoo, but it was already afternoon by the time we got there, and we didn't know what the situation would be with picking up our luggage. We decided just to go into the center of the city and see what we could do there.

Anchorage is a city of about 200,000, and apparently half of them are Scottish. At least, it seemed that way. The park block and about three other blocks were ringed with men in kilts with bagpipes. We dropped off our carry-ons at a convenient check-in at the luggage center, since they said they were open until six, and avoided bagpipes while hunting for lunch. We wandered over to the Anchorage Museum and looked around until we got tired. There was some beautiful stuff. I'm not generally much for art, but I must admit I'm partial to the subject matter.

Later in the afternoon, we collected all our luggage, and took a shuttle bus out to the airport so we could get a cab to our B&B. Staying at the B&B was a little odd, but we were in the room closest to the door, so at least we didn't feel like we were intruding too much, or like we were disturbing people by going in and out. Our hostess recommended a restaurant about half a mile away, so we walked up there and had a good plain meal, a nice change after all the gourmet cooking onboard ship.

We turned off the room lights about 10:30. However, it took me at least an hour to fall asleep due to the ambient light. Yep, sunset was sometime later than 11:30. We hadn't seen true night in almost a week, since it takes a good hour or more after sunset before it really gets dark, but up here we were barely even seeing evening.

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