Friday, August 23, 2013

You may have noticed that I have not blogged any weddings lately. Well, that is because I have recently returned from a Cruise-Tour of Alaska with Princess Cruise lines. August is typically a slow wedding month and since I found that I had two weeks without weddings, my husband, Dave, and I scheduled this wonderful cruise getting a wonderful discount. 
Our first day was in Fairbanks. Took 17.5 hours to get there! We enjoyed a riverboat cruise on the Discovery III and got to see a reconstructed Chena Village and sled dog training camps including Susan Butcher's that is run by her husband since she passed away due to cancer in 2006.
Granite is immortalized here. The story goes that he was the runt of his litter and Susan Butcher was advised to just give him away to be a pet, that he was not worthy of being a sleddog. She defied the advice and he led her to Iditarod victory 3 times! You may guess that I have a soft spot for dogs!  
Early the next morning we boarded the railcar for Denali National Park--a 4 hour trip.
We were paired up with Bob and Judy from Thousand Oaks, CA and became fast friends enjoying dinner together every evening from there on!
 So much fun! 
Our guide, James, kept us entertained as we enjoyed the majestic wild frontier of Alaska scenery.
At Denali we took the park Natural History bus tour. In the distance, hidden by clouds is Mt. McKinley, or Denali "The Great One" in native language. Denali National Park is 6 million acres of land established for the preservation of wildlife. We saw a large bull moose at least 12 feet tall. No bears or caribou were sighted!
At the Princess Wilderness Lodge I made Dave pose with this rather large bear!
 The gorgeous flowers in baskets everywhere were unexpected things of beauty!
After one night in Denali we traveled by motor coach to Anchorage where we had lunch, then on to Whittier where our ship was waiting.
Three swimming pools, three theaters, gourmet food everywhere and all the time, the Diamond Princess was wonderful. A floating village.
Here we are viewing Hubbard Glacier. It was a sight to see. The thickness of the glacier was at least 50 feet and small claps of what sounds like thunder was actually pieces of glacier breaking off and slipping into the ocean.
In Skagway we took a streetcar tour which was a lot of fun. Stories of the wild wild west abound in Alaska! Then in Juneau we took a tram to the top of the nearest mountain with a magnificent view (above).
Next stop was Ketchikan where we took a "duck" tour! An amphibious vehicle toured around the town then drove down a boat ramp into the harbor for a water-based tour!
Judy and I discovered Greg Schlotthauer, a piano bar guy, from LA. He was great. He could play anything with no sheet music and knew words to hundreds of songs. We loved singing along with him and making requests!
On Saturday 8/17 we disembarked our ship at Vancouver and took a hop on, hop off trolley tour. Vancouver is similar to NYC in that the downtown is on an island filled with sky scrapers. But unlike NYC, it is very clean. We went to Granville Island and explored neat little shops and restaurants in restored industrial buildings. Then to Stanley Park to see the totem pole exhibit.
Along the way, we spotted several weddings going on. Here is a bridal party with photographer in downtown Vancouver.
I am sure this must be before the ceremony. I was shooting from the bus and could not ask.
I wanted to be sure and see these famous gardens.
Down the street from the gardens I saw another wedding party and photographer getting pictures. Here the photographer had the couple jump up so he could capture them in mid-air. My camera was too slow and I got them on the down swing!
After browsing through a shop we entered the gardens and the wedding party had reassembled there! Here my husband explained how they would be on Raleigh Wedding Blog. I wonder if they will ever see themselves here!
Their photographer was staging some romantic scenes in the bamboo forest. I have never see black bamboo before. Speaking with the couple I learned that they had just finished their Chinese ceremony and were going to do the American ceremony and reception next.
Back on the trolley headed for Stanley Park and there was another wedding under the tents in the distance.
 After viewing the totem pole exhibit while we waited for the trolley, I spotted another wedding couple. Was told that they are from Japan.
 That is downtown Vancouver in the background.
After we hopped on the trolley and went by the Teahouse, I noticed another wedding going on. I guess that is a singer as part of the prelude.
Another bear for Dave to pose with in the Vancouver Airport the next day on our way home! It was a great trip but it is also good to be back home!

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