Hope that you’re all well. Can’t believe it is already the middle of the year! All is going great here. We just got back from a wonderful 2 weeks in Alaska for Dad’s 70th with Mum, Dad, Keiren, Will, Tk, Di, and all of us, so quite a group. It’s the first time that all of us have been together for a long time, and was a great chance for us all to get to know Di, and for everyone to spend some time with Camilla, the newest family member 🙂
The trip started with us all meeting in Vancouver for two nights as that was where the cruise was leaving from. We had a chance to ride bikes all around Stanley Park which was beautiful, wander around the old town, eat and drink lots (Meat and Bread was delicious for a quick lunch, Keiren picked a delicious Japanese place for dinner one night, and there were a bunch of breweries…). We even got out for drinks one night with one of TK’s friends from Sydney that was in town (Jacs stayed in and looked after the girls).
After what seemed like no time, it was time to board the Silver Shadow, our ship that held just 380 guests. We really were traveling in style, with a butler for each room, large suites (mum and dad had a balcony) and a few restaurants and bars with all you can eat and drink! That said we were also far and away the youngest on board – I don’t think they’d seen a toddler and a baby before 🙂 It was a week long cruise up to Seward where the sea portion of the trip ended, and it flew by. While we were on board, we spent our time enjoying the delicious food (including at the Grill where you cooked steaks on hot plates!), drinking more than we should, playing shuffleboard, running around the running track, sitting in the hot tub, having massages, watching whales, dolphins and beautiful scenery, and much more! 4.45 Trivia became a must do event every day, where we started with Gin and Tonics, gave the cruise director (Kirk aka Captain Kirk) a bit of banter, and did much better than our name ‘in last place’ suggested! In the evenings since it was light so late, dinner often wasn’t done until almost 10. We’d get the girls to bed, and a few nights mum and dad watched the girls while we enjoyed some ‘partying’, watching the ‘Voices of the Silver Sea’ perform (which they loved since we were enthusiastic), taking over the piano bar to sing karaoke to ‘Horses’ and ‘Pianoman’, and generally tearing up the dance floor! The whole time we were extremely lucky with the weather – other than a cool wind out at sea, it was sunny and warmer than expected.
That probably sounds like more than enough to keep us busy, but on top of that were some wonderful shore excursions in all the ports:
- Day 1: We cruised the inside passage so were at sea all day, but look in the sights, and adjusted to the gentle sway of being on a boat. We also had the pleasure of watching a dolphin swim below mum and dad’s veranda.
- Day 2: We arrived in Ketchikan, our first Alaskan port. Will, TK and I went salmon fishing which was gorgeous but despite our best efforts, and some tugs on the line, all we caught was the herring we used as bait. The beers went down well however as we watched Bald Eagles flying overhead. The rest of the fam went to a wildlife sanctuary and saw a bear cub, so all was off to a good start.
- Day 3: Juneau, the capital of Alaska! We headed out to see Mendenhall Glacier, which was spectacular. Along the road, there were Bald Eagles everywhere – we were starting to call them the pigeons of Alaska! Back in town, Jacs, myself and the girls split off from the group to grab some Pork Adobo for lunch at a stall (the girls gobbled it down). We then had a fun ride up the tramway, and a hike around, before heading back to the boat for a rest.
- Day 4: Skagway, a small town that sits at the end of a valley so the wind rushes through! All of the ‘kids’ left Oma and Granddad to get out for a kayak on a mountain lake. Despite all the drinks the night before we made it on to the bus for the hour drive up to the lake (which was actually back in Canada!), and got our kayaking gear on. It was freezing getting ready, but once in the kayaks we were warm and had a blast. It was gorgeous, and our group quickly split off from some other ‘more typical’ cruise passengers and really got to explore. TK and I even jumped in at the end! After the kayak, we had a beautiful train trip back to Skagway through the mountains, barely making it back in time for trivia
- Day 5: We spent the morning in Sitka on a cruise to see Sea Otters, which quickly became a highlight of the trip when we spotted a pod of ~15 whales and spent an hour following them and watching them breach and bubble net feed (where they all dive, blow bubbles and come shooting out of the water together) which was incredible. We then found some sea otters and watched them paddle around. Back in town, coincidentally Bubba, Christy and EJ were visiting with Christy’s brother and mum. They had a cabin and had been fishing so we all got the chance to have a lovely lunch at the pub together before getting back on the ship and setting sail.
- Day 6: We were a little surprised at 7am to hear the loud speaker announcing that we were getting close to Hubbard Glacier. None of us had really registered that we’d see the glacier so early in the day. We rushed up to the observation deck and had some mulled wine, hot chocolate and doughnuts and took in the beauty as we cruised through glacier bay ever closer to Hubbard Glacier. It really was stunning, and our ship got pretty close so there were icebergs floating by! After turning around and heading back through the bay, it was absolutely stunning running around the track in the brisk air and taking in the sights.
- Day 7: We arrived bright and early in our final port, Seward, and were up early to board a glass roofed train for the 4 hour journey through the wilderness to Anchorage, our final destination. We took in the sights, some of us caught a bit of rest, and in no time we were there!
Getting to Anchorage wasn’t the end of our trip, but it was the end of the trip for TK and Di, and Keiren and Will. We had one final lunch, an afternoon hike, and dinner together, some G&T’s from the lounge (Dad’s obsession) and had a fairly early final night all together. It was really so great to get to do the cruise as the whole fam!
From there, mum, dad, Jacs, the girls and I hopped in the car and drove up to Denali National Park. We arrived mid afternoon, and before we’d even reached the visitor centre to pick up our shuttle tickets for the following day we’d seen two Moose! We checked in to our nice little hotel (the Crows Nest), and had an early dinner at the Overlook restaurant at the hotel, which happened to be one of the best in town! We then had an early night as we needed to be back at the park at 6.40 for our trip in to the park. After an early morning rush to pack food for the day and get breakfast, off we went. We were nervous for the 8 hour round trip on the bus to Eielson Visitor Centre with the girls, but they were incredible all day. The trip started slow, and we didn’t really see anything for quite a while, but then it all started to happen! By the end of the trip, we’d seen Dall Sheep, Moose, Caribou, a Fox, and even a Grizzly Bear and her 2 cubs! Not a bad day 🙂
We were exhausted when we got home, but made it out for a dinner just down the hill at the Salmon Bake, and had a couple of beers before getting some rest. The next morning, it was back to the park to check out the dog kennels, where we had a great time petting the sled dogs, hearing all about their training and amazing strength, and even watching a demonstration. Early afternoon, Jacs and I then went for a rafting trip down the Nenana river which was gorgeous and a lot of fun – and actually nice and warm in our dry suits! It was actually one of the highlights of Denali and a bit of excitement. That evening we had dinner at 49th State Brewery and enjoyed one last evening before heading back to Anchorage the next morning. We were even lucky enough to actually see Denali (the mountain) on the drive back!!
One final night in Anchorage brought the trip to an end, with Mum and Dad continuing on their way to the UK (although they’ll be back next month), and us getting back to LA and back to the real world of work. What an amazing trip though!
Here are a few photos from Alaska:
Prior to our trip to Alaska, we’ve had a lot going on too! Generally we’ve been enjoying some sunshine at the beach and the pool, hanging out with friends and watching the girls grow up incredibly fast – Camilla is well and truly walking now and is really hard to keep track of as she runs around 🙂
Here are a few photos from the past couple of months:
It has also been my birthday, mothers day, Easter and much more – where does time go! Here are a few good shots from Mother’s Day:
Jacs and I have also both started new jobs, which is exciting but also means we have our hands full. I’m now doing Content Acquisition at Netflix, and Jacs is doing Corporate Comms and Influencer Marketing for In-Shape health clubs. We’re both really enjoying it. It happened to be an awesome time for me to join Netflix too since it was just in time for Screenings week (I spent my first week watching TV at all the studios!), and the Netflix 100M subscriber celebration which was an incredible party!
We probably would have struggled to get through the transition to both working without mum and dad being in town – they happened to arrive the week I started the new role (phew!), and stayed until we went to Alaska, which was incredibly helpful. It was also really great to have them staying with us (Dad’s first time to our house!), and for them to hang out with the girls. The girls really love playing with their Oma and Granddad – and I think its reciprocal as I watch Dad and the girls having a tea party in the garden 😉
The week before starting work and mum and dad arriving, we did manage to fit in a quick holiday to Detroit and Philly. In Detroit we stayed with Vik and Mike, and met Baby Sara. Leo loved being a big cousin!! We went to the zoo, and a Tiger’s game, and caught up with friends there which was a lot of fun.
From there, we visited Andrew and Amanda Collier in Philly, and met baby Max there. Again, the girls loved having a new friend, although Camilla actually really took to their dog Penny and would chase her around the house. Amanda and Andrew live within walking distance of heaps of cool restaurants so we had fun strolling the neighbourhood and eating out – including more than our fair share of BBQ. They also live near a few distilleries so one of the days was spent going from one to the next and checking them out and having a drink – starting with rum and coffee in the morning 😉 We also spent a day exploring more of the city and went to the ‘magic garden’ where an artist had spent years creating walls and mazes from all kinds of things – hard to explain but check out the photos!
I think that about covers it for now!
Hope you’re all well