Juneau is the capital city of Alaska, the second largest city in the United States by area and a population of approximately 32,000 inhabitants. No roads connect the city to the state or North America so all goods and services need to be brought in by ship or by air.
It was another beautifully clear morning in Alaska with sunshine and temperatures ranging from 35 to 55 degrees. We arrived in Juneau about 10:00am and we disembarked shortly thereafter to explore the town on foot.
Our first stop was the Juneau-Douglas City Museum where we watched a 35-minute film about the history of the city, its gold rush expansion in the late 1800’s, and about Alaska becoming a state. The museum, although small, had a wide variety of artifacts honoring its native people, its mining days, famous local people, its fishing history and more. They had a temporary exhibit on the life of a local artist who had lived in the city since the 1950’s but had recently passed away.
Our next stop was at the very small St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church built in 1894. The small blue and white church is built in a hexagon shape with a small entry way. Once inside the church the room is divided into two spaces, divided by a wall with double doors. The church was quite ornate although only had a couple of benches for parishioners to sit.
We wanted to visit the Sealaska Heritage cultural center where the native people of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people tell their stories but it was not open on this day.
Several blocks of town are filled with restaurants and shops selling tourist merchandise like clothing, packaged fish, tree ornaments, local handicraft items, etc. On our way back to the ship we stopped at a monument to Juneau’s most famous dog named Patsy Ann. Patsy Ann lived about a half-mile from the port in the1930’s and seemed to know when ships were pulling into the port. She would come down to the port and greet all of the steamships and visitors.
Mark spent a little time working on a puzzle before heading to the main dining room for afternoon tea. The tea was served with a tri-level serving dish of sweet and savory treats. Scones, finger sandwiches, cream puffs and more came one dish after another. Given that it was a port day there were only three tables of people participating in tea on this day. We enjoyed the tea with a couple from Austin, Texas (Susie and Archi) who were on their first Holland America cruise.
After dinner in the dining room we enjoyed a BBC Earth film called Blue Planet II with live orchestration by the girls who perform on the Lincoln Center Stage. The films photography of all things related to the sea is spectacular. The creatures like squid, walrus, whales, crabs and birds that live in and around the sea close up in vivid color.