Big city. Plenty to do in the port area as you are in the center of downtown. We had to wait a while as the ship was late getting in due to heavy seas offshore, and we found a great pub a short walk from the pier and had a good time. We stayed the night before, and the night after we flew back from Anchorage to get our car and we found two good restaurants, one Greek and one Chinese. The Chinese restaurant was called Taste Good Wonton Seafood Restaurant on Marine drive. Despite the simple name, the food was delicious, best Chinese we have had in North America. Had shark fin dishes, all kinds of things.
We walked Creek Street, interesting. There was a great little museum in the library about a block away from Creek Street, north of Whale Park that had old pictures that were interesting and told the story of the area history in pictures. We had a good time.
We took a tour, Juneau Tours, we had investigated on the internet. Purchased the tickets at a booth near the dock. Had a very nice trip to Mendenhall Glacier. The bus driver was a Tlingit Indian and was interesting and knowledgeable of the area as well as his heritage. The Mendenhall Glacier is worth the trip, a nice walk out to the Glacier with several viewing areas if you didn't want to walk all the way. Nice way to see the area and worth the money.
The town itself is not remarkable. The buildings are reminding me a little of Russia. There are tours of the State Capitol, but you are just as well off walking on your own, some members of the tour asked the most inane questions and turned the tour into torture. There was a major gold mine here, took out about 300 million ounces, if I remember correctly.
We had lunch at the Twisted Fish near the pier and had a very tasty salmon fish sandwich. By the way, take plenty of money, food in Alaska is about double what it is in the lower 48. There is a tram up the mountain that one of our party took and enjoyed the view.
Odd thing to realize is that you cannot drive to Juneau, come by birth, boat, or plane. The cars and trucks came in on the ferry boats, but there is no highway out of Juneau.
What an eye opening place. The entrance to the Canadian Arctic from the Pacific, jumping off point for the Klondike Gold Rush. 500 to 700 year round residents depending on who you spoke to. Very small town, about three blocks by five blocks for a downtown area. But great little shops of native work and the standard Diamonds International, amazing.
We took a mini bus tour (Discover Skagway) up to White Pass and it was excellent. I had neglected to bring my passport and since we would cross into Canada it was required. No problem, the operator got me a ride in a van with a driver who took me back to the ship, waited for me and brought me back. Nice people. Turns out, the border official didn't ask for passports, but sometimes they do. The tour itself went up the other side of the valley from the White Pass Railroad line. The tour bus stopped at excellent viewing points and the driver knew the history and geology of the area. We were supposed to turn around at the Canadian Border, but the driver had heard a bear was wandering around up at Tormented Valley so away we went. What a good looking bear and we watched him for about five minutes just ambling along in the snow about 50 feet off the road, great!
We had lunch at Bombay Curry. Real good food at reasonable for Alaska prices. Authentic vindaloo cooking. Small portions, but actually all that you should eat for lunch. The nan bread was good. There was a real good ice cream shop on the main street that had really good flavors and huge waffle cones. I walked pass two dancers from the ship dressed to kill in fashionable tight jeans and they sure eyeballed the ice cream cone I was enjoying!
Electricity in the summer is generated by a small water turbine up in the valley and power is 12 cents per kilowatt hour. In the winter diesel generators are used and the electricity is 58 cents per kwh. No more will we complain about the cost of electricity at home.
Denali Princess and McKinley Princess Lodges. Very nice, enjoyed the natural history tour into Denali Park. From Talkeetna we took a jetboat trip up to an indian fish camp and a trappers cabin that was very good. Hard to believe how these people survived in the wilderness with 60 below temperatures. Well worth the time to take the train ride and the three day land tour ending up in Anchorage.