When we got up on Sunday morning, our ship was in Juneau. One of the things we had seen in the Caribbean on our cruise there three years ago was that all the same shops that we found on ship were also found in the ports and the same is true in Juneau. Lots of diamond shops, along with T-shirt and souvenir shops populate the shore. One of the first shops we stepped into was a fur shop with all kinds of fur garments, including a fur bikini!
We did our quota of souvenir shopping (again) and took a trolley ride through town. Our trolley was a Chance trolley, a reminder of Wichita.
Our driver narrated as we drove through the narrow streets, built for much smaller vehicles of long ago. I had been especially interested in seeing the state capitol building since LeRoy’s cousin Beverly was a lobbyist for an oil company there for some time, and our driver pointed it out as we drove by. Except for the four massive stone pillars on the front, it is a very nondescript building.
Douglas, AK is just across the bridge. It has its own schools and unlike Juneau, doesn’t cater to the tourist trade. There is a large sand beach there which is made from the sand left over from crushing ore to remove the gold.
We also passed the governor’s mansion, which is currently under renovation and doesn’t make for good pictures. Everyone wants to remind you that Sarah Palin stayed there when she was governor. In fact, Sarah was sort of a recurring theme throughout our trip. Her family home, or at least one of them, is in Wasilla where we began this journey and she was born and lived her early childhood years in Skagway.
After the trolley ride, we took a walk back to some of the historic buildings we had seen and just across the street from the capitol building we met a security guard who told us that the state office building has a great room with a VERY large totem pole,
this big fellow,
and a patio that overlooks much of the city and asked if we would like to see it. It was Sunday so the building was closed, but he took us in anyway. We had the place all to ourselves! In the lobby they have an old theater organ and each Friday they have a free concert. It made us think of Colorado Springs, where we have attended Sacklunch Serenades for several years in the civic center.
Since the harbor butts up to the mountains in Juneau, we decided to take the tram to the top for a better view. My fear of heights notwithstanding, it was a good decision. The view is spectacular, taking in Juneau, Douglas and the harbor.
There was a nature center on Mt. Roberts where we got to see a beautiful bald eagle up close. She was losing patience with tourists, I think, and kept her back to us most of the time. I compared my wingspan to hers and fell far short! Mine was more like that of a red tailed hawk.
One thing we’ve noticed in every port, even Juneau where everything has to come in and out by ship or plane, is RVs. Many of them are rental units. People want to see Alaska but provide their own accommodations.
Did I mention 70+ degree weather? Those layers Andi had encouraged us to bring were peeled off more often than not. There is usually the possibility of rain so we were blessed with warm dry weather.