From ChurchDiva: Welcome to Juneau, Alaska

Welcome to Juneau, Alaska –

If today is Wednesday, August 5th, this must be Juneau.

BTW, Alaska celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. We entered the Gastineau Channel, past Douglas Island, and docked in Juneau. Juneau is a little bit larger than Rhode Island, has one main road going nowhere with some side streets (ya don’t go anywhere from Juneau by road). Getting into/out of Juneau is by air or sea only (trivia fact). 1 in 10 people in Alaska have a pilot license. Most people have a boat of some sort (No, no Miami Vice speedboats) which I’ll say range from kayaks, large fishing boats, tour boats, etc.

Busy day for me. Shore excursions with Travel with Alan include touring the capitol city, Mendenhall Glacier, Chapel by the Lake, Macaulay Salmon Hatchery (that I could have skipped…ya see one hatchery ya seen them all) and finally an evening whale watching tour. Jo is going to do the On Deck for the Cure breast cancer walk this afternoon.

As we disembark the Statendam, what do my wondering eyes see but a vision of jewelry stores right by the pier!!!! On Jo, on Brenda, on Jay and Rick, let’s pick up our latest trinkets! Anyway, they (I’m just an onlooker) ploughed their way thru the stores while waiting for the bus tour to begin. Aside from the usual Alaska native arts/crafts/jewelry, I noticed Russian icons, samovars, lacquered boxes and nesting dolls and remembered the tour guide’s Alaskan Russian heritage history lesson.
(no Palin jokes, please; did Gore really invent the internet?)

If you’re into reading (now that’s a joke today…if it’s not on twit or FB seems no one has heard about it), a good book to read is James Michener’s “Alaska” for a good story interwoven with historical facts.

We headed back to the pier for our tour through Juneau…the Alaska State Capitol Buildings between Main and Seward Streets, the historic buildings on Front Street built on the former high-tide line, the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church built in 1894 (The Russian Orthodox Church followed the fur companies into Russian America and was influential long after the fur trade left. Many of the Aleut, Haida and Tlingit natives are still Russian Orthodox) , the Juneau-Douglas City Museum, and the Alaska State Museum. Seems Palin didn’t like living in the gov’s mansion but spent most of her time at her place in Wasilla.

But, no tour of Juneau would be complete without stopping by the Red Dog Saloon. This saloon started in the gold mining era providing “hospitality” to those looking to strike it rich. Seems that Earl and Thelma provided dancing & “entertainment” for the miners and “Ragtime Hattie” played the piano in her white gloves and silver dollar halter top (see, there is nothing new under the sun). Later when Alaska became a territory, Gordie would meet the tour boats with his mule and wore a sign saying “follow my ass to the Red Dog Saloon.” Now, it is a very touristy place, lots of memorabilia, piano music, sawdust on the floor, and lines out the door. So, here’s some touristy photos to pass the time away while you wait for the next installment on Juneau.