Monday, September 26, 2011

Vacation Recap Day #4 – Skagway, Alaska

Day before the cruise – Seattle, WA
Day #1 onboard the Norwegian Pearl
Day #2 “At Sea” day
Day #3 – Juneau, Alaska

The plan for the day:

Wake up at 6 a.m. (no run this morning, obviously!
Breakfast
Disembark in Skagway (we docked at 7:00 a.m.)
Walk around Skagway and shop
Bring our purchases back to the ship
Lunch on board the ship
Excursion at noon – The White Pass Railway!
Shop some more
Board the ship again!

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It looks as if a bird is sitting on my head!  Hah!  We had breakfast in the “Kiddie” area because there were no other tables!

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Other ships in port

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We saw quite a few homes built off the side of the mountains. VERY interesting!

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I found out later that this was a way for businesses to advertise  - they would paint their logo on the side of the mountain. Since Skagway is a historic town, a lot of the old features of the town have been preserved  - including this one mountain advertisement!

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While attempting to disembark, we found a bear  and he grabbed me for the picture!   He also pushed Jason out of the picture. Cute on Disney. Creepy on NCL.  Just sayin.

I also learned my lesson from Juneau! I wore a long sleeve shirt, long johns, and 2 pairs of socks. After breakfast we disembarked the ship and guess what? I realized that I FORGOT a pony tail holder in our cabin! AAAH!!

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Wind!!!  NOOOOO!

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I NEED A PONYTAIL!  Haha!

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We found an Alaska T-Shirt Company (Hint: They are in every SINGLE port town!) and my saving grace…a pony tail holder!

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This train is property of the White Pass Railway Company – I discovered later that the huge black thing on the front of the ship is used when the mountains are full of snow. It breaks up the ice/snow so the train can go on the tracks!  Pretty neat!

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This thing scared me – it wasn’t bolted down and it had no breaks!!!

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Once again, flowers were EVERYWHERE!  Beautiful!!

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The town is not allowed to change up any features on their buildings since it’s a national historic location.  So if the Diamond International Jewelry Store used to be the Skagway Diner, then
the Skagway Diner sign has to be preserved – the jewelry store can advertise right under the Diner sign or hang it under the eaves on the walkway. Also, the colors on the buildings have to remain the same.  Pretty neat!

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Look what we found!  This was kind of a joke with my family.  Quite a few months ago, I asked my mom what excursion she wanted to take in Alaska and she said, “I want to meet that Palin lady!”  Uhhhhh….ok?

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So, I found her “That Palin Lady”!!!!!  HAH!

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The Palin Store!

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Lots of Totem Poles!

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I was SO very proud of Skagway.  Most of you know that I am an Oncology Nurse and it’s been proven that cigarette smoke causes cancer.  There are also a lot of harmful effects from 2nd hand smoke – so it was great to see that Skagway (and other Alaskan towns) were taking a stand against 2nd hand smoke!  YAY! 

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How cute is that?

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The Hardware Store is the only store on this main road that stays open after the cruise ships leave!  You can buy anything and EVERYTHING in this store!!!

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Our train has arrived!

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We met a bus by our ship dock that took our train tickets and sent us on our way to the train station (even though the train station was just a few short steps away….hah!)….

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The Train Station and one of our Brakemen!

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On board the train, ready to go!

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Off we go!

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The Train took us up through the mountains through Canada!  We saw many different things along the way and LOTS of beautiful scenery!  We also saw the railway workers graveyard (those who died while building the railroad). 

This railway was built as part of the gold rush back in the 1800’s.  Men would come to Skagway, take the train up through the mountains, then take another 600 mile trek on FOOT to arrive in Dawson City where they would begin their search for gold.  It was a very difficult trip and only a handful of men made their fortune.  In order to build the railway, chunks of the mountain were blasted out with dynamite and tracks were laid.  It was a 2 year process.  If you go to Skagway, I HIGHLY recommend the railway!!!

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We had gone so high through the mountain, we could barely see our cruise ships in port!! 

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Breathtaking scenery!

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My dad spend most of the train ride outside of the train.  I went out for a while, but the higher we got in the mountains, the colder it got!  Before long, my face was frozen so I went back inside!

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We made it to the American/Canadian border!

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It became so foggy that we could hardly seen anything!  If you notice in a lot of my pictures, at the tops of the mountains you can see fog – that’s how high up we were in the train!  We were actually in that fog!

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We were told that in the dead of winter, the temps drop to 70 below!  NO THANKS!!!!

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We crossed the border and border security came on board to check our passports, then we were allowed to get of the train.  Before the trip, we had upgraded to the Suspension Bridge package that would take us via bus to the Yukon and a gorgeous suspension bridge!

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Visitors Center

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Sweet sweet Max!  He’s a common sight to see around the visitors center!

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We had fun with a few of the scenery backdrops!  Haha!

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My husband is so silly!

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We got a cup of hot chocolate because we were freezing, then we stepped out of the visitors center…………………

 

and………………….

We
Saw
This………………

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One of the most beautiful things I’ve EVER SEEN!

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I couldn’t stop staring!

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The hard part for me was crossing the bridge. One of my worst fears: bridges.  Bridges combined with heights….NO thanks!   However, I was brave and I sucked it up….

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Just….don’t….look…..down……………

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On the bridge!  One of the most awesome experiences of my LIFE!!!!

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Absolutely gorgeous!  I wish I could be back there right now!

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My dad was king of the mountain!  Haha!

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After spending about an hour at the bridge, we boarded the bus for the ride back down the mountain. 

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We stopped for a few pictures……..I could not imagine a mountain being part of the shoulder on a road that I had to drive!  Crazy!

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We made our way back to town and shopped a little more before we went back to the boat!  Our day in Skagway was a long one!  7 a.m. to 7 p.m.!

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Part of the historical society.

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These guys are fake (obviously) and this is a historical set!

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Shopping!

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Yummy fudge…..

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Out of the blue, these two showed up.  I just had to go take pictures with them!  Haha!

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After we got back on board, the sun came out!  It was a beautiful night!!!!

A few dinner pictures:

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Appetizer

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Dinner

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Dessert!

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A towel animal friend! :0)

Whew!  That’s all for Skagway day!  Coming up next: Glacier Bay!

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