elisabeth, marriage, stephen, travel, vacation

Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage {Part 2}

We sailed Glacier Bay on the 10th anniversary of our wedding day. A romantic setting, on a romantic day, with a romantic man.August700004August600014August700010August700007

Even the journey up to Glacier Bay the night before was memorable. It was awe-inspiring to walk out on deck and be stunned by the grandeur surrounding us. August600010Those mountains were surprisingly close!August600012

August600019The morning was very cold, and we were thankful for the fleeces and raincoats we had purchased specifically for this trip. The bow was opened for viewing the glaciers. August600020Because glaciers had carved out deep fjords, our giant cruise ship was able to sail very close to the glaciers and snow-topped mountains.

The ship did a couple 360 degree turns directly in front of Margerie Glacier. The rugged terrain of the glacier with its peaks and crevasses was incredible to see so up close and personal. August600018August600016August900003August600017August700005We actually caught a little bit of glacial calving as we stood on deck! Even small chunks of ice echoed loudly as they calved into the sea. It was hard to capture on video since it happened so fast, but you can see a bit of calving at the beginning of this video. YouTube Preview ImageStephen and I spent a while standing on the bow, soaking in the majesty.August700009August900005August600015

Friday, we stopped in Ketchikan, Alaska, where my sister Charis had lived and taught for a school term four years ago.August700002 August600013We first wandered the streets of the quaint island city, taking pictures of totem poles and the famous Creek Street boardwalk shops. August600001August600002August600004It was fun to text Charis to find out some of her favorite spots and to let her know we were visiting “her city.” Stephen and I took in the local tourist-y lumberjack show. I have to say it was very entertaining, and “our” lumberjack team won the competition.August600005August600003

We weren’t sure just what to do after the show, so Charis arranged for one of her friends to meet us. Angela was gracious to spontaneously become our personal tour guide to Ketchikan for a few hours. August600007She showed us Charis’s former school and church, and then took us to Totem Bight State Park. When I asked Angela what a “bight” was, she explained that it’s an inlet that basically looks like the ocean took a bite (or bight, as it’s properly spelled) out of the land. She even told us the story behind the totem poles in the clan house. August600009August600008Embarrassingly, I peppered Angela with questions as I was so intrigued to be talking to someone who lived locally in Alaska.

Before we knew it, we were back on the ship and headed to our final port of Victoria, British Columbia on Canada’s Vancouver Island. This time we decided to brave our own shore excursion instead of booking one through the cruise line. It was a success, largely because we were one of the first people to disembark. There were nine of us that banded together on our own private bus tour of the city. The tour guide/bus driver we hired was a native of the city who took us first to Craigdarroch Castle. Though the castle was closed, it was gorgeous to view the architecture from outside.August800009August800010August800011

Buchardt Gardens was the next attraction on the tour. These world famous gardens encompass 55 acres of incredible garden beauty. August800002August800003August800001What a romantic way to end our cruise as we strolled through the sunken garden, rose garden, and the Japanese and Italian gardens.August800006August800004August800007August800012August800005August800008

Finally, we ended up in downtown Victoria in front of the Empress Hotel and the parliament building. August800013August800016Street entertainers and their watching crowds filled the night with music and laughter, the city lights shimmered off the harbor waves, while the lighted outline of the parliament building kept watch over the bustling streets flooded with tourists. It was a bit magical to be deposited at the city center in the midst of it all. August800014August800015Victoria had a London air about it. I licked my maple gelato cone as we window shopped and explored the city after dark.August800017

By the end of the cruise, I was ready to be home and to hug my babies again. The kids had a special week with Stephen’s parents as Grammy and Grampy lovingly spent an entire week with our little peeps.

It’s challenging to articulate my feelings and reflections on reaching our 10th anniversary. Perhaps I can formulate my thoughts into a future post. For now, I’ll just say that it’s humbling—a mix of feeling accomplished that we’ve made it this far (only by God’s grace) and also feeling like a beginner at this marriage thing.

Mostly, I’m thankful.August700003August700001

Thankful for Stephen’s stubborn love for me. And thankful for God’s faithfulness to us both.August900001

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