Today, our enormous floating hotel made port in Juneau, the capital of Alaska. Having previously lived in a capital city (Albany, NY) I know they're rarely the biggest or busiest city in a state, and Juneau is no exception. It is, however, an amazingly gorgeous place, surrounded by mountains and waterfalls, the kind of scenery I expect locals don't always pay attention to, but when they do, they stop dead in their tracks, amazed that they live in such a gorgeous place.
We started our day with a trip to the Tongass National Forest, home of the Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls. We walked out the mile or so to the falls, which provided a wonderful view of both the falls and the glacier.
Our next stop was a salmon hatchery which was... Well, not that interesting to me. They make lots of baby fish there, and then set them free. Yippee!
After the official tour was completed, we had something like eight or nine more hours to knock around Juneau (not all of which we used; we got back to the boat about two hours earlier than required). We dinked around in some souvenir shops for a bit - the entire main drag near where the ships dock is tourist trap central - and then wandered a little off the beaten path to a bar our bus driver had recommended for its excellent fish 'n chips, which did not disappoint. Next door, we found a yarn shop where I picked up a gorgeous locally-dyed skein of sock yarn in blues that remind me of the glacier.
Our next stop was one I had been looking forward to the whole trip: the Alaskan Brewing Company. For $15 each, we got a round trip shuttle ride, six generously-poured (six ounce) tastings, and a talk about their brewing process, which seems pretty innovative. I tried the brand-new cream ale, along with oatmeal stout, summer ale, American pale ale, summer ale, white ale, and smoked porter. (Oops. That's seven, isn't it? Well, Mom and JoAnn didn't have all six of theirs and the keg kicked on the porter, so I only had a tiny bit, so I think it's ok I mis-counted.) My favorites were the smoked porter and the summer ale, which was not as citrusy as a Sam's summer.
We did a bit more shopping on the way back to the boat, and are now resting before we head up for dinner. Or mom's resting, at any rate. I'm thumb-typing away... And now need to leave the room to go to the deck where I can get on AT&T's regular cell service to post this, so I don't have to use the pricey wifi today.