A couple things didn’t go as planned in Juneau. For one, we were supposed to take the ferry from Sitka to Juneau on the Alaskan Marine Highway. We received a call a couple days prior letting us know that not only had the ferry broken down, but that it was in dry dock for an indeterminate time frame. In this way, Alaska reminded me a bit of Hawaii, where when things break, or arrive late, people shrug their shoulders and say ‘oh well, it happens.’
It was a little disappointing that we didn’t get to ride the ferry to Juneau. Instead, we got up at 4am and were shuttled half-awake back to the airport to catch the only flight of the day out of Sitka. On the positive, the flight to Juneau, even in the unrelenting rain, was spectacular. From the airport, you can see Mendenhall Glacier, which seemed almost fake.
Breakfast that morning at Sandpiper Cafe came complete with an amazing view (and great food).
After breakfast, we drove around familiarizing ourselves with the city, and tried to think of something to do to pass the time. There were a zillion 1-day adventure packages offered out of Juneau that we guessed appealed to the Cruiser crowd. We agreed beforehand that we didn’t want to do any helicopter rides to glaciers or whale watching tours partly because we’ve done this before and partly because we had planned to do some of those things later in our trip.
It was pouring rain, so we ended up passing our time wandering around the grocery store, visiting the Alaska State Museum, checking out a local indoor farmer’s market, and tasting smoked salmon at Taku smokeries.
After a while, we decided it was time to eat again, this time at Tracy’s King Crab Shack near the port. It was one of the best meals of my entire life. It was so cold outside that our butter coagulated in less than five minutes, but ohmygod it was delicious. I still dream about that meal.
In Juneau, and I guess all of Southeast Alaska, rain is so frequent that people seem to not be the least bothered. You could definitely tell the difference between tourists like us (decked out in layers of rain gear with tennis shoes) versus a local (sweatshirt, jean shorts, and Xtra-Tuff rain boots). I didn’t see a single Juneau-an ever carry an umbrella, wear gloves, or put on a rain coat. In fact, I saw more than one local with a ciggy dangling from his mouth, hanging out outside in the freezing rain, wearing only a tshirt, shorts, and rain boots while smoking a cigarette. We determined it must be the rain boots, and became determined to get a pair of our own.