Explore, Thoughts, travel

Cruising to Alaska

The day of our long-awaited trip to the land of white-peaked mountains and snowy treasures finally came! Beforehand, we booked the Princess Cruise’s Itinerary to Alaska (Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Anchorage), so we flew to the port of call in Vancouver, Canada.


VANCOUVER, CANADA

Feeling woozy and jet-lagged after a long 13-hour flight, we decided to sleep in (and stay in the warm hotel room). We stayed at the Robson Hotel at Robson street. Oh by the way, along this street just a stone’s throw away is THE BEST Japanese Restaurant in Canada. If you happen to crave authentic sushi and Japanese dishes, that’s the place to go. Quite unfortunate though that I was too hungry to remember the name of the restaurant (of all the things, right?)

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Cozy hotel breakfast takeout

The most convenient and economical means to make the most out of the Vancouver trip was the Hop on Hop off bus. They have dozens and dozens of stops around the city where we jumped right on or off at our own time and convenience.

Our bus went through Stanley Park, one of the biggest and well-maintained parks I’ve ever been to! I could almost imagine the appeal of an intimate wedding there.

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Stanley Park Blooms

Beyond the lush greenery of Stanley Park, was a spectacular view of the Vancouver Skyline. It’s just breathtaking how modern architecture touches the cloudless blue sky.

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A wonderful welcome to Canada’s beautiful views

A quick snap during one of our stop overs, the laughing statues of Canada. Created by an artist from his own image.

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The artist who made a bunch of hilarious laughing sculptures

Oh here’s a thing I (unusually) do during my trips, a “from where I stand” photo collage. These are quite lucky shots as they don’t come around very often. I’ve read from a tourist magazine that the little floor mosaics are actually thirteen different artworks by various artists, scattered around Vancouver.

 


KETCHIKAN, ALASKA

En route to Alaska, we enjoyed a relaxing cruise at sea with Princess Cruises. On our first stop we docked at the commonly-foggy Ketchikan Alaska.

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A foggy morning.

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…but a colorful town.

IMG_20170522_081507We stayed a few hours in the city, half a day is already more than enough to get around the sleepy, little city of Ketchikan, Alaska.

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JUNEAU, ALASKA

We were welcomed the next day with a bright and beautiful morning at the port of Juneau. We wasted no time to start exploring the capital city of Alaska.

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The Juneau Rainforest Reserve was run by a lovely couple, to preserve and to educate tourists and locals alike of the native plants found in Alaska. Views like these are certainly well-worth the long journey at sea.

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and into the forest we go!

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Just a little side note: Alaska is known for its Black Bears and Mooses to name a few. That’s why most sculptures are based on these wildlife. Mooses aren’t as friendly as they are often thought to be. Contrary to popular belief that they are gentle creatures, they have killed more people especially in small towns like these, especially when they feel threatened.

The narrow paths led to a simple yet lovely little rest-stop. With wildflowers and forget-me-nots (the Alaskan Flower) in full bloom.

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The most beautiful rest stop

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Menden Hall Glacier

A little of an hour away was the renowned Menden Hall Glacier. I could hardly believe hundreds of years ago, this entire body of water used to be one whole Glacier. Imagine how little would be left once the ice pushes further in.

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SKAGWAY, ALASKA

Getting off the boat was easy, trying to keep my fear of heights in check wasn’t so easy. The White Pass & Yukon Railroad was an hour’s ride through the steep mountains of Skagway. Oh I forgot to mention – on (EXTREMELY) narrow trails constructed on the side of the mountain. (Two of the builders died by getting crushed under a huge boulder, to name a few incidents. EEP!)

IMG_20170524_093335A trip to on the Tram was much easier. The highlight of the entire Alaskan adventure, the view 1,800 feet on Mount Roberts. Captured this majestic bald eagle at just the right moment. One of my favorite photos!

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I never thought that I’d ever see glaciers beyond movies and photographs. But this moment, this exact moment is when it hit me how truly beautiful reality finally becomes beyond our dreams and imaginations.

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From sky to land, we headed down to the musher training camp. As opposed to our common knowledge it seems, sled dogs (Mushers) AREN’T purebred Huskies as we always thought them to be. (No thanks to movie myths!) Alaskan Sled Dogs happen to be Husky mixes that come in all speeds, traits, appearances and colors.

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Those gorgeous Alaskan Mushers.

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On our one-day cruise to Anchorage, we witnessed the rare breaking of the glaciers. We almost slept right through the main event! Thank goodness we’ve made it to that once second of pure power. Hearing the crack and boom of the glacier as it fell apart was one life-altering experience!

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ANCHORAGE, ALASKA

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Ahhh, Anchorage! Think about a mid-western, Texas style county. Anchorage boasts of its fantastic views and delicious (sinfully good) fudge. If you can try the Alaskan King Crab, Home-Made Ice Creams and Popcorn, do so!

We made it in good time as it was a Saturday when we arrived. The town was bustling with people making their way to the outdoor weekend market.

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Stopping by an eye-catching coffee shop – KOBUK CAFE

A couple of unique finds at the Anchorage market, colorful shells and vintage glassware.

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CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE, CANADA

A few days after our brief stay in Anchorage, we flew back to Canada. There was plenty of time left to explore, so we took our pick and headed on to their famous tourist spots.

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The Capilano Suspension Bridge is 140 meters long and hangs 70 meters above the river, held together by sturdy metal cables.

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GROUSE MOUNTAIN, CANADA

Okay, it was an unplanned, spontaneous trip up this snowy mountain. I wasn’t able to wear clothes that were thick enough, that’s why there aren’t many photos here. (Ugh).

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If you do happen to go up to Grouse Mountain, (even in summer) don’t ever, ever forget to wear enough clothes to keep yourself from freezing. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

Oh, and do go up further to see the bird show. And I thought training a dog was hard, watch how well-behaved the birds are! (Featuring: Owls, Turkey Vultures, Bald Eagles)

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I often tell myself there’s no way I could be happy. However, on my recent adventure, I’ve realized many things along the way from Ketchikan, to Juneau, to Skagway to Anchorage. That maybe happiness is relative, maybe it’s not so hard to find once you learn to see how truly blessed you are.

Thank you Alaska for showing me that there is a kind of happiness in finding oneself. Just as every snowflake on the mountain is unique, so are we. Wild, Beautiful, and Free to be. Happiness begins with self-acceptance, personal growth is possible with one’s willingness to embrace change.

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Until our next adventure.

X,

PEARL

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