Alaska cruise

I could write posts and posts about our Alaska cruise, but I’m trying not to! In the interests of not boring everyone senseless, I’ve condensed the entire week into this single account, itself a lightly-edited version of the brief notes I took each day. We sailed with Princess cruises from Anchorage (Whittier) south through the inside passage to Vancouver, past the glaciers of Yakutat bay and Glacier Bay national park, stopping at Haines, Juneau and Ketchikan, and then caught the decidedly unglamorous but perfectly convenient Greyhound bus down to Seattle for a cheaper flight home to Newark.

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Along the way we saw harbour seals and Steller sea lions, Pacific white-sided dolphins, humpback whales and a lone orca, and, magically, the Northern Lights. We shared a dinner table with some extremely nice people, and met all kinds of fellow travellers around the ship. We ate lots of food, drank plenty of cocktails, and generally had a lovely time – looking through my notes and photos is making me wish I was back there right now!

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Adventures in Alaska

Pretty much as soon as we got home from our 2015 trip to Hawaii, we started joking that Alaska was next on the bucket list. However, the distance involved, and the fact that everyone we know who has visited encouraged us to take a cruise, meant that it was very much on the “one day” end of the spectrum. Fast forward to a quiet weekend in autumn 2016 – we were idly wondering just how much a cruise might cost, decided to look it up, discovered an affordable option in early September 2017, and booked it on the spot.

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Since the cruise was a week-long voyage from Anchorage (well, Whittier) south to Vancouver, we decided to arrive early and spend some time in Alaska before boarding the ship, which quickly turned into a fairly epic trip – we flew into Anchorage and spent a day there, rented a car and drove up to Denali national park for a couple of days hiking and enjoying the wilderness, headed to Palmer for the Alaska state fair, and then ended up back in Anchorage to return the car before setting sail.

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Yogyakarta

If I were to attempt to characterize Yogyakarta into a short expression, lively organized chaos would probably be the words I’d choose. It didn’t feature on my (lengthy) list of places I want to visit – in fact I don’t think I’d even heard of it until I was invited to speak at a conference there (about which I’ve written more on my other blog) – but that all just goes to show how much I know, because it really was fantastic.

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Singapore

I’m not really sure why I was so keen to visit Singapore. Family history, the allure of Asia, the Raffles Hotel’s famous Singapore Sling, these all had something to do with it, but even I think twice about travelling half way around the world just to try a cocktail.

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Easter etc.

So, Easter happened. As usual, we had a busy schedule of choir commitments, to which I added an extra evening by volunteering to masquerade as a chorister on Maundy Thursday. We also invited some friends around for Easter lunch after the two morning services, which meant the usual mad shopping-cleaning-cooking rush on top of everything else – as usual I complained about it all, but of course it was a lot of fun on the day. Continue reading

Caves, country and cooperage

As regular readers of this blog may have guessed, I get terribly anxious if I don’t have at least one trip to look forward to. When we returned from our summer holiday in early July the prospect of five long empty months until Christmas was just too much to bear, but funds were a little stretched.  Thankfully all this long-distance travel is excellent for collecting airmiles and we managed to find some extremely well-timed reward flights to Louisville Kentucky for a long weekend in late October, landing late last Friday evening. Continue reading