It was up and Adam early with our departure from the ship set for 8am. We all enjoyed the luxury of the ships last comfy extravagant night. We said goodbye to our clean white high thread count sheets and our room attendant. The ship charges you a compulsory $12 each per day ($48) called gratitudes (tipping). That goes to your room attendant and waiters. They are the most polite, attentive harding working service people we have come across.
We enjoyed our last cooked breaky at the Windjammer gourmet buffet. We squirrelled away four muffins in our backpack for the bus ride to Denali. Plus we have all squirrelled away plenty of extra stores in our cheeks to last any serious period of hibernation thanks to Radiance of the Seas smorgasbords and a la carte perfections.
So off the ship we went zapping our SeaPass Cards for the last time, down the gang plank and find our transfer bus. The weather is icy cold.
Our bus says on the front ‘we make people happy’ with a red smiling face. I think we had the budget transfer as our driver didnt offer up much commentary and looked a bit over tourists. The scenery is just mega wow beautiful. It reminded us of Scotlands Ben Nevis National Park. There are large green rounded granite mountains with low multi coloured grasses. The ones that appear after the snow melts. It is cold, moist and misty. The clouds are hanging low and fill the valleys. Glaciers are melting feeding the many waterfalls. Its just missing kilt wearing Rob Roy running across shouting ‘I want my freedom’.
Our bus only has about a dozen other people besides us, so we all get to sprawl out and enjoy the views. Gracie is not a morning person so retreated to the back seat to lay out and top up her sleep tank. Bailey reads his book while Geoff catches up on ipod tunes. When I get me time like this I clean up my digital photos and write my blog (while keeping any eye out for any wildlife; bears, moose…).
Our bus ride took all day. We have booked a four day land component after our cruise and I dont have any itinerary so we are flying a bit blind. Plus we jumped on the bus not knowing how long the ride was, to find out it was 2 hours to Anchorage, with a one and half hour lunch break, then 6 hours onto Denali. Each time we get on the bus smells of smoke. Our crusty driver obviously has a fag when we are not around and thinks we cant tell. Poowee… One spot our man of few words announces ‘we are making an unscheduled stop as I think the view here is the best’. Now I know why, sneaky fag time.
We love the unique souvenir shops in Alaska. They sell things like moose antler, walrus teeth, and mammoth tusks. This is the land of bone and calving. Very interesting pieces.
One of our break stops we encounter many of those camo hunter types at the busy servo who like to shoot things and mount them. They have four wheeler camo bikes, buggies, gun mounts and wearing all the kit. I reckon if you are a moose around these woods you have every reason to be very nervous. Well actually he would be running away with a gun welding hunter in tow as he shouts ‘I want my freedom’.
We pass Denali National Park on the way to our hotel. WOW it is is a magical view. I think we head in there on tour tomorrow.