Hey, we’re going to take Carmella’s father, Harry, on an Alaskan cruise! My Dad went on a bunch of Alaskan cruises, and Carmella did at least one a long while back, but I’ve never visited our 49th state; I’m excited!

Harry & Carmella will be taking the Canadian ViaRail train from Edmonton to Vancouver, where we’ll board the Holland America ship Noordam for our trip north. As we begin our retelling of the tale, they’re already going west.

It’s a bit of a grueling trip, especially if you’re not ensconced in a suite, away from the familiar trappings of home. Harry’s doing his best without Judge Judy and the Weather Channel to help out :-)

Carmella’s completely ready for the trip, tucked into her fuzzy layers and protected by her sleeping mask. (I don’t know why the image is flipped.) The train ride goes through the Canadian Rockies; perhaps you remember the rugged views from our last trip through ski country.

I, on the other hand, am on Alameda Island, just east of San Francisco. This is me, at 0400, waiting on a bus to the airport. Not so much traffic at that time of the morning.

Getting ready for the first flight of the day. All the direct flights seem to have been phased out, so I’ve been seeing a lot of SeaTac lately. Luckily, because of layovers of a couple of hours, I get my steps in.

The view of the rising sun as we descend into Vancouver airport. It’s too early to be this tired, the day has just begun!

From the airport, I get to navigate another mass transit system to get to our downtown hotel. I have a thing for maps and for “dropping pins” (visiting new places) so this is a pretty good morning!

Luckily for me (and my bags), it’s a pretty straight shot to the downtown tourist hotel maze. Here’s a 360° StreetView shot from my POV.

New photo by Michael Sattler / Google Photos

Mission accomplished: I’m checked into our hotel room. It’s very angular and all the highlights are of a distinguished tone of dark hardwood. I feel like convening a meeting :-)

I take a minute to savor the views before heading out on a walkabout, winding up meeting the train and getting Carmella & Harry back to the hotel.

Now this is what I call public art! Inspiring in a very demented sort of way. It’s placed near a busy highway into the city, so those who are stuck in rush-hour traffic have plenty of time to appreciate this.

Pacific Central Station, the terminus of this mornings stroll and their train. It’s been a nice stroll to get here, in warm weather under sunny skies. So far I’m really liking on Vancouver.

Pacific Central Station is a wonderful old building, nicely preserved, which brings to mind tales of romantic railroad trips. I got a chance to see the Orient Express when we both visited Scotland, but I’ve never had a chance to take it across Europe to Istanbul.

Woot! That was easy! A quick taxi queue, chats with those in line with us, and all our bags are put away, ready for tomorrow. (Yes, we always arrive at least one day early for a cruise. How otherwise to deal with the surprises the universe tosses at us without missing the ship?)

Feeling peckish, late in the afternoon Carmella and I graze through the eateries of downtown Vancouver, including getting a poké bowl, perhaps as an homage to our time repeatedly eating it whilst on Hawaii.

Next up, we go from Alaska: Vancouver to Juneau.

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