Welcome to Juneau!
Remember I said that you could only visit Juneau by sea? Four cruise ships in port including us.
We are the unlucky ones, as we can only get ashore by tender every half hour.
We thought we’d get a reasonably early tender so we could look around Juneau before boarding our coach to take us up to the Mendenhall Glacier, one of the many around here. I was still having issues with this bloody SIM – it was detecting a mobile signal but not registering on the network, so I still couldn’t make/receive calls or get a data connection! 🤬
We got on the tender – this was our first experience of this, and it was quite cool, even though we had to wait ages for it to leave, restricting our time in Juneau to about an hour.
Fortunately, there was an AT&T shop within 300 yards of the terminal. Not without considerable difficulty, we managed to get it sorted out, although I wonder how long for. Jean took a stroll around a very wet and cold Juneau whilst this was being done.
As a result, she saw more of Juneau than I did, and was not impressed. Same shops as anywhere else, loads of jewellery shops designed to fleece the tourists, plus tat everywhere. This is a town of around 32,000 people, so she was expecting better. I confess that what little I saw was pretty uninspiring, and the weather did not help.
To be fair, we had so little time here that we wouldn’t have been able to do it justice anyway.
Made it to our coach, driven by a young, affable, funny, informative man called Derek to take us on the included tour of Mendenhall Glacier and Brotherhood Bridge. It was only around 25 minutes from the terminal.
Another impressive glacier, and at least we got closer to it than the Hubbard Glacier a couple of days ago.
This is 12 miles long, so a tiddler compared to the Hubbard’s 76 miles, but still over 2,000 feet thick in places. It is one of the many descending from the 1,500 square mile Juneau icefield. There was a decent waterfall, too:
We were both pretty cold by this stage, so we went up to the visitor centre to warm up a bit. Not much there, but we saw a short film illustrating how the glacier was retreating due to climate change.
The Brotherhood Bridge is supposed to give one a view of the glacier, but it was so gloomy and misty that you could barely make it out. The field in front made a great show of fireweed, though.
The bridge was built to demonstrate the brotherhood of the native Americans, who fought for so long to gain their civil rights. It was so cold, though, that we just wanted to get back on the bus.
Derek, who has been immense value, drove us back to the ship. He would do well out of the tips, I’m sure.
Back on the tender to the ship for a lovely hot shower to warm us up. The shower on this ship is a proper power shower. Don’t know how they do it, but it’s better than many showers we’ve had in some five star hotels. Fantastic.
Dinner was enjoyed in Manfredi’s, the upmarket Italian restaurant that I’d booked months ago. Very nice, but Jean was feeling under the weather, so couldn’t do it justice. Super Californian Zinfandel red wine, though…..
I finished off the evening in the Torshavn nightclub. Some great tunes, expertly delivered by the Viking Band. Good fun, but a late night.
Tomorrow is Skagway. We weren’t able to attend the port talk as we were on our way back from Juneau, so its secrets are unknown. I’ll report back tomorrow.