Sunday, 30 September 2012

Mount Pleasant Gardens, Delamere

We picked a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon to go over to Delamere to visit our lovely friend's Dad's garden.  MOUNT PLEASANT holds its Annual Sculpture Exhibition throughout the month of September where a variety of artists showcase their work.

More details and photos can be seen HERE 

As soon as we arrived we saw the light shining through Katie Green's mosaic tree hanging.

Faith Bebbington's dangly men!

Bob Thacker

Wire mesh and tree branches make the horse and hounds.

I love the way the sky shows through the horse.

Great attention to detail by the Pixen.

This is actually quite tiny.

                                                          But the conkers are HUGE!

My arm wouldn't go any higher....I'm afraid I'm not as bendy as I used to be.

Making a wish on the wishing cobweb.... someone's wish for 2013 was "Freddos" hahahaha

More amazing attention to detail by the Pixen.

"You say'n?" ??

Yey! Doesn't Darlo look well! YIPPEE!

Then we nipped into Chester so, well, you know, while the camera was out..........

A good example of perspective

Thanks Darlo! We loved your dad's garden.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA

What a bonus! After 6 days of Alaskan cold, we woke up to see a  glorious blue sky so we made the most of it by sitting up on deck with several cups of tea and a movie The Big Miracle on the big screen. It was actually quite warm. Ideal.

We were fascinated when we realised the pilot had to reverse the enormous Star Princess into a berth this size. We nearly couldn't watch!

We had arrived in CANADA whoop whoop!!

Victoria  is the capital city of British ColumbiaCanada and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada's Pacific coast. 

We didn't arrive  in  Victoria B.C.  till teatime so there was no time to lose and we were first off the boat as we only had a few hours in port.

One of the most famous landmarks in this beautiful city was The Empress Hotel

with stunning front gardens.

Totem poles were colourful and impressive.

Victoria is known as the City of Gardens and has with flowerbeds everywhere and huge, colourful flower baskets and creations like these dolphin bushes. Many people call Victoria a "bit of Old England" because of its beautiful gardens.

We didn't want to just trail around the shops. We wanted a last bit of excitement. So we made friends with Bob the horse and were taken on a horse and cart ride through the streets before being entertained by the street performers.

But it soon got dark.

The whole of The British Columbia Parliament Buildings lit up at night.

It was only a short stop but we had a very pleasant evening here before sailing the 60 miles back to Seattle for our flight home.

Highlights of the fortnight have to be-

Sleeping in a PYRAMID in Vegas
Walking the GRAND CANYON Skywalk
Watching the MARINERS win their 2 baseball games
Seeing FOUR black bears, one catching fish
Watching ORCAS in the Lynn Canal
Sailing through blocks of ice to spectacular GLACIERS
and a horse and cart ride in CANADA


Friday, 28 September 2012

Dog sled ride in SKAGWAY, ALASKA

It was a scenic ride through the valley and up into the mountains for our dog sled adventure. We were picked up in a Mercedes Unimob that was once used by the Germans in the war and we rattled and bumped our way up to...

...the dog sledding summer training camp where their mushers were waiting for us.

Naturally, as we were there first, we chose to sit at the front of the sled.

Very lean, fit, and eager Alaskan huskies were tied together in twos ready to pull...

Wisconsin,  the Siberian husky, (left) joined our group

...and we sped off into the forest. At, I have to say, an alarming speed. "The first run of the day is always a bit crazy!" our musher explained. (!) Woo they were fast.

We soon settled into a more comfortable speed and did a couple of laps of the forest track before stopping to greet the dogs. Wisconsin is a beauty isn't he. (Very different from an Alaskan husky though) What brilliant fun!

There was a photo opportunity on the way down overlooking Dyea and then it was time to meet the PUPPIES!

Soft, cuddly puppies!

Earlobe-nibbling puppies!

2 week old adorable puppies!

More details of the Skagway Sled Dog and Mushers can be seen HERE

The dogs were in training for the annual long-distance dog sled ride across Alaska, called the IDITAROD  which starts on the first Saturday in March. It is a gruelling event in which 16 dogs (of which at least 6 must finish) race their sleds across Alaska from Anchorage to Nome. After our puppycuddle we heard all about the race itself, the route- 1,000 miles with one mountain range to cross, 26 stops, the food, the vets and the support etc which was fascinating. The link HERE will keep us up to date for the March 2013 Iditarod.

After all that excitement we got dropped off in Skagway and once again we felt like we had walked into a Cowboys and Indians theme park. "Skagway" means "windy place" or "home of the north wind"  but it was mild when we were there. 

A visit to the fudge shop and 4 sample beers in the Skagway Brewery set us up nicely for a 15 minute tour of the Red Onion Saloon brothel.

All too soon it was time to get back on board.

I couldn't resist... we'd seen ORCAS in Juneau!!

The sailout was pretty spectacular. We were so close to the mountains and there were glaciers and snowy peaks, there was less mist and more sun. Alaska is rugged and totally unspoilt and although not as pretty as Norway, it is a stunning place. 

Leaving Alaska meant COCKTAILS! Yey!

And after meeting our Captain...

out came the BAKED ALASKA pud! Paraded by all the chefs to whoops and cheers.

Our amazing holiday was nearly over, but there was a stop in Victoria, Canada to finish.