Seattle to Leavenworth, Washington

Seattle to Leavenworth, Washington


We departed Seattle on another wonderful sunny day bound for Leavenworth, Washington.  The town has turned itself into a tourist destination by architecturally replicating a Bavarian village.  The Bavarian theme carries through to many of the shops and wine tasting is high on the list of things to do in Leavenworth.  We wandered Leavenworth's downtown area admiring the buildings until we decided to head to the tasting rooms to sample some great Washington wine (wein probieren).  We had dropped into two of the tasting rooms and left with a bottle of wine from each.  We went to Andreas Keller for dinner which was authentic (echt).  A skilled musician played and drank to the entertainment of all.  This was our second visit to Leavenworth and better than the first which was many years ago.  Once again, we had a wonderful, relaxing, early fall day to enrich our lives.





Seattle - Museum of Flight

Seattle - Museum of Flight


We stayed with our friend, Keith, in Seattle for a couple of nights before heading east toward home.  He suggested we take time to tour The Museum of Flight which is one of the largest and most comprehensive air museums in the world.  We were there for over 4 hours examining planes dating from the earliest days of flight to the most modern space craft.  It was a great way to spend the day.  We later enjoyed visiting with Brian who allowed us to store our car in a spot he had available while we were on our cruise tour.  We finished up with a wonderful meal at a Chinese restaurant not from from Keith's condo.  Tomorrow, we finally begin our journey back to Kansas and Missouri.




Inside Passage and Vancouver

Inside Passage and Vancouver


The remainder of our journey south on the Inside Passage was relatively uneventful.  We saw an increase in the number of commercial ships and pleasure craft. Eventually, houses started to appear along the shoreline.  It wasn't long before we found ourselves in Vancouver and debarking.  Overall, our tour through Alaska, British Columbia and the Northwest Territory exceeded our expectations.  We were blessed with excellent weather for the season.  We met some wonderful people and developed new friendships.  The cruise was fine but the inland tours were the highlight of the trip.  We came to have a much better appreciation for the size of Alaska and the hardships endured by those who settled in this vast northern wilderness.



Ketchikan and Saxman

Ketchikan and Saxman


We arrived in Ketchikan just in time to meet our Tlinget native guide for our tour of Ketchikan and Saxman Village.  The Tlinget people are interesting as, although they are "Native Americans", they have a culture which is in many ways different from the other "Native American" tribes from Canadian and the United States.  For example, the Tlinget do not live on "Indian" reservations but have established Tlinget corporations to manage tribal property.  The Tlinget live among the general population in their native territory: the Alaskan Panhandle, southern Yukon Territory and western British Columbia.  The Tlinget establish villages, carve totem poles and build communal lodge houses.  They rely on the sea for much of their food, particularly salmon.  Although once recognized as fierce warriors who aggressively defended their territory, they never engaged in warfare with the Canadian or US military forces.  The Tlinget were never forcibly moved to reservations.




Juneau

Juneau



We arrived in Juneau just in time to catch the bus for our short ride to Salmon Creek for what was reputed to be a wonderful outdoor experience and tasty salmon bake at the site of an abandoned mining operation. Salmon Creek was less than two miles from the cruise ship dock and a few blocks from urban Juneau. Salmon Creek was once the site of a mining operation and rusting, decaying mining equipment was scattered about the area in which the salmon bake was served. The salmon served was sockeye which is less tasty than king or silver salmon. The food was served buffet style and much of it was hardly warm due to the cool temperature and the fact the lids were left off many of the serving trays. Paper plates and plastic ware were acceptable as it was an informal setting. The “native” entertainment was a woman who recently moved to Juneau from Las Vegas and played folk guitar. “North to Alaska” and adaptations of “On the Dock of the Bay” would not be considered “native” Alaskan entertainment by most people. We were expecting members of the Tlingit tribe to be providing “native” entertainment. The highlight of the experience was the small waterfall on Salmon Creek. We boarded the Westerdam shortly after the salmon bake and a brief walk around the Juneau wharf. We looked forward to dinner and entertainment aboard ship. At least, we didn't get rained on.  The weather has been beautiful for the entire trip, so far.


Haines

Haines


Our ship approached the dock at Haines as we were eating breakfast in the Lido restaurant which provided us a great view of the city.  We were soon ashore on a beautiful warm, sunny day.  We toured the grounds of what once was Fort William H. Seward/Chilkat Barracks.  The US Army established the fort in 1904 to maintain order and provide a military presence in Alaska.  Other attractions we visited during the day were the American Bald Eagle Foundation, the Hammer Museum and the Sheldon Museum & Cultural Center.  The American Bald Eagle Foundation rescues injured birds and provides educational programs for visitors.  It also has an extensive display of local wildlife.  The Hammer Museum has a collection of several thousand hammers designed to meet almost as many specific needs of craftsman and DIYers.  The Sheldon Museum & Cultural Center has exhibits focusing on the Tlinget tribal people and development of Haines.  We returned to the ship just in time for dinner.  The Westerdam was underway prior to dark bound for Juneau.


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