Travel is one of my passions, but another is photography. Since my trips are only occasional, I have decided to add more of my photographic experiences to this blog.

Since you are obviously here, please enjoy.


All pictures are for your enjoyment, and are copyrighted. Please ask permission before downloading.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Cruise……..

Our embarkation on this Sunday provided us with a beautiful, warm, sunny day.  As we and 2000 others boarded the Oosterdam, we were greeted at every turn by a smiling member of the crew.

After our luggage was delivered to our cabin and the mandatory safety drill was completed, we relaxed as we cruised though Puget Sound and the Juan de Fuca Strait, and looked forward to our first dinner at sea.

Monday - a day at sea.  As we cruised Northwest with Vancouver Island off our starboard in the distance, we walked around familiarizing ourselves with the layout of the ship, and "forced" ourselves to relax on this overcast day, a perfect day for using the gym, reading and rest.

Tuesday - we awakened to bright sunshine, the clocks being turned back an hour as we entered the Alaskan time zone, with land to the East.  Very soon afterwards we were entirely socked in with fog and being entertained by the mournful sound of the fog horn.

As the weatherman correctly predicted, the fog lifted just as we approached the entrance to Tracy Arm. With the warmth of the sun, and little wind, it was very pleasant to spend time out on the bow of our ship.

Wednesday - awakened to a sunny day, docked in Juneau.  As we have no 'booked' excursions, we wait for those who have to disembark before we leave our ship to explore this, our first port of call. Juneau is Alaska's Capitol City, the second largest municipality in area in the U.S.,  totally isolated from the rest of the country by road and only accessible by sea or air.

Thursday -  Just after dawn we anchor in Crescent Bay and we are awakened to the tenders being lowered to take us into the town of Sitka, founded by Russian pioneers.  

The day was glorious, warm and sunny, which according to the local residents, was cause for celebration and this kind of day was few and far between.  After walking the main streets, and going to the library to attempt to log on to the Internet (frustratingly slow), we returned to the ship to relax in the warmth of the sun 

until the ship lifted its anchor for the overnight cruise to Ketchikan.

Friday - with overnight weather predictions of a cool, wet day, we awoke to fog which soon burned off revealing the waterfront of Ketchikan, a small community, known as the Salmon Capitol of the World.
After walking  around the commercial area, much of it built on pilings over the water since when the town was first settled there was little land before the mountains rose close to the shore.  Many of the former bars a bawdy houses have now been converted into respectable businesses and residences.  

We returned to our ship to indulge in a freshly caught salmon bake  for lunch and then basked in the warm sunshine during our early afternoon departure  which will take us to Victoria, BC, tomorrow evening - our last port before returning to Seattle on Sunday morning where we will then fly home for a brief rest, before departing on our next adventure to visit family in Canada and England in early September.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Portland to Seattle

Everybody told us to take the train and they were so right.  If you have the time, it is a very pleasant way to travel.  The seats are much more comfortable than an airplane, and you get to see the landscape flow by your window  Even the food service is recommended as being tasty and reasonably priced.

Upon our arrival in Seattle, we took a cab to our hotel, The Arctic Club - a Doubletree by Hilton; a hundred year old converted Men's Club from the golden age  in Seattle. 

Today, being the only day we have to sight see before our cruise ship leaves, we head out to Pike Place Market.

Here we watch fish mongers hawk their wares, throwing 20 fish from beds of ice to the cashier for payment by eager customers.  We also find an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruit and flowers.  

After spending time there, we followed the guide books to find other simple treasurers in  galleries  and parks near the  waterfront.  When our feet told us to take a break, we went on a short cruise of the harbor, 

50 year old Space Needle

The new Ferris Wheel

then stopped in one of the 150 Starbucks in Seattle for a treat before heading back to our hotel to rest.  Tonight we enjoy a fresh caught seafood dinner at a popular waterfront restaurant and then pack for tomorrows' much looked forward to adventure at sea.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Our last day in Portland, where the weather has been quite pleasant, with sunny days and moderate temperatures.  Today we walked though the Pearl district, a previous skid row area renamed as being revived as a pearl in an oyster

spending time in various galleries featuring glass art, and photography, stopping for a Starbucks and then getting a taste of the famous Powell's City of Books bookstore.  

Another interesting concept, evident in several parking lots along the major downtown streets were trailers permanently parked and fitted out to sell various ethnic foods. 

 A sign on an old building stating that "Portland is Weird" was confirmed by many 'street people' who accosted us on our walks.  

We did find that on one vacant lot that due to the vague City of Portland ordinances,  a mini tent city has been erected to provide living accommodation for a lucky few.


Walking back to our hotel through Old Town

we again marveled at the long lineups a Voodoo Donuts.  

Our good sense prevailed as we said no to the extra calories.

Water tower atop building erected in the 1900's

Our hotel lobby circa 1912

Tomorrow, we take the Amtrack Cascade to Seattle.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

You have to love Southwest Airlines.  They have good prices, free baggage, relatively comfortable seats, great staff, and on time departures and arrivals, including your luggage and here we are in Portland,Oregon.

What's not to like about this city?  
Start with a great airport with good signage to find out where to go, and helpful assistants to help you along your way.  
A $1.00 ticket gets you on the train to downtown Portland in 38 minutes. 
We later found out that as well as a "free zone" for travel in the downtown area, a $5.00 all day ticket will allow you to take trains, buses, and streetcars anywhere on the very efficient and clean transit system. 
What a concept to move people and keep cars off the streets.

Our first day of touring took us to the Japanese Garden and the International Rose Garden.  Both are well laid out, the Japanese Garden being a place of tranquility and beauty, while the Rose Garden, while past its' prime, a rainbow of colors representing over 7000 varieties of roses.

Returning to the downtown core for lunch, we then walked along the Willamette River back to our hotel, passing the famous Voodoo Donut Shop where even at mid-afternoon, the lineup went around the block.

Tomorrow, we continue our touring.