cruise alaska day 09: victoria

Woke up at 8am, buffet breakfast: egg white omelette with vegetables, 2 sausages, baked apple. As we near the end of the cruise, time to start packing our luggage. It didn’t take me long, but it did take mum a while. So i left her in the cabin and went to the chef’s demo at the theatre. The head chef demonstrated how to make gravalax, potato pasta and black forest cake. The banter with the maitre d’ seemed a bit forced. Afterwards they led us to tour a small part of the galley. It was very clean and there were some chefs working there, I guess the real work was done in areas out of bounds for passengers.

Lunch at the restaurant: clam chowder, spaghetti aglio e olio, tilapia taco, baked apple. I was looking forward to the pasta, but it was overcooked and underseasoned. The fish was really good, as was the dessert.

The afternoon was sunny so I walked around deck 15 while mum did deck 7. Stopped by one of the bars at the end of my walk and got an ultimate cooler cocktail — vodka, passionfruit puree, cranberry juice, watermelon juice. Good one to sip while reading.

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Early dinner at 5pm: seafood trio, curry pumpkin soup, linguine vongole, curry fish (can’t remember name of the fish, it wasn’t one I recognised), floating island, sorbet, milk chocolate hazelnut soufflé. The soup, pasta and main were disappointing for our last meal — too much curry, not enough clams and too tough respectively. Dessert completely redeemed the meal. We had the same waiter as our first dinner, he remembered, and brought us extra dessert. We hadn’t ordered the soufflé and were mighty glad he brought it because it was great.

We docked at 7pm at Victoria. Apparently the Jones Act mandated that ships stopped at a foreign port so Victoria BC became part of many Alaskan cruise itinerary. Lovely evening, we assembled in the theatre for our excursion to butchart gardens. We had to join the excursion to ensure we got back to the ship. Our bus driver was a weirdo, she talked a lot of hot air and drove very slowly.

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Eventually we made it to the gardens at 8.30pm. Really neat, almost too neat, gardens with lots of separate garden areas, fountains and even a carousel. It became a race to see as much and photograph as much as possible before it got too dark. There was enough time to souvenir shop for magnets and we were back on the bus at 10.15pm. It would have been very expensive and difficult to go there on our own, it was obvious the gardens were opened specially after hours for the cruiseliners. It was one of those excursions where there was no other choice.

A quick tour around Victoria confirmed that it was somewhere worth returning to for a more in depth visit. Back on ship quite late. We opted for express walk off disembarkation so we didn’t have to leave our luggage outside.

#32 new us state: alaska

Tasks #31-33 are to visit 3 new US states. #31 was Washington, this is the second one, I went to Alaska.

Alaska is the biggest state and one that is on many, many bucket lists. I read several books set in Alaska and the theme is very similar—city slicker goes to Alaska, has adventures, falls in love with the environment, perhaps even fall in love with someone living in Alaska, ends up moving there. And no wonder, the scenery is fabulous and it’s so peaceful. That said, it can be rough, lonely, cold and living standards isn’t as high as the US mainland leading to a high crime rate. So there are romantic notions, but reality may be very different.

It’s all moot anyway, I was only there as a tourist. Going on an Alaskan cruise is also on many, many bucket lists. We did a roundtrip from Seattle to the Inside Passage and saw the usual places: Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan.

There was water in its liquid form:

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Water in its solid form:

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There were whales:

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and bald eagles:

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and we ate a lot of delicious king crab:

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The Inside Passage is only a small sliver of the state, there is still vast areas of Alaska worth exploring. Definitely worth returning.

posts: Juneau | Skagway | Glacier Bay | ketchikan
flickr sets: set 1 | set 2