|THE MAGIC OF ALASKA|
YES, PEOPLE REALLY SAY "YOU BETCHA'" ALL THE TIME. They are also very nice people who are proud of their homeland. Alaska is every bit as gorgeous as people say. I can see why some people cruise there every year just to breathe the air and take in the delightfully overwhelming nature.
As usual, I went on a Celebrity Cruise. I love them, and I lecture on them. Their service, food, staff, and ship are perfection. I left from Seattle, and it was my second time there--definitely not as charming as the first. Too wet; too windy. It's like "San Francisco light." But, compliments to the Fairmont Olympia Hotel. It's a beautiful Grande Dame.
Alaska was the ports of Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway, plus the side cruise called the Tracy Arm Fijord Inside Passage. No words can describe the majesty of the surrounding as you cruise. Each town is old-fashioned and charming, but loaded with jewelry stores like St. Thomas. Diamonds everywhere.
I loved a trainride on a vintage train up to the Mendenhall Glacier. You rode round and round up to the top, with dangerous rapids below, huge mountain/glacier formations, and were so close to the mountain side you could touch it from the train platform.
|TRAIN TO GLACIER|
Another highlight was Victoria or Vancouver Island in Canada. To have tea at the Empress Hotel was finer than tea at the Ritz in London. The famous Butchart Gardens were some of the most beautiful sights I'd ever seen.
|NO OFFENSE TO HUNTINGTON GARDENS, BUT IT PALES IN COMPARISON|
|THE SUNKEN GARDEN|
|THE ROSE GARDEN|
|PARLIAMENT HOUSES IN VICTORIA|