Back to Reality Returning Home After Travelling - Lucy Williams Global

I have returned home after three months of travelling around Alaska, the Californian Coast, Mexico, Hawaii and French Polynesia and reality has hit me!

Real life after travelling is nice but overwhelming!

If you have been following my travels you will know I travel with my husband that works onboard a cruise ship. Hence my blog tagline ‘The Travelling Wife Cruising Around the World’.

Alaska

This has been another long trip, but it was lovely to see Alaska properly. I have worked many Alaska seasons when I was still working onboard, but I never really saw much.

This time I made the most of my 4 weeks there and visited glaciers up close from a small boat to landing on top of one in a helicopter. I saw wildlife up close and totem poles.

Glacier Bay | Juneau | Ketchikan | Skagway

Californian Coast

After sailing around Alaska, we sailed south to the California coast and on the way we stopped in Astoria, Oregon. This was a new port for me and I enjoyed a lovely tour of the Oregon coast.

We then sailed to San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. The weather was great whilst in these port so I saw the Golden Gate Bridge in its full glory.

Santa Barbara was a food and drink day on an amazing food tour and LA was spent in Long Beach catching up with friends.

Oregon Coast | San Francisco | Santa Barbara

Hawaii & French French Polynesia

I went back to Hawaii and French Polynesia. It was fantastic to go back to Hawaii and French Polynesia as they are my favourites! Especially Bora Bora in French Polynesia, pure paradise.

It took a long time to get down there, only 8 days at sea! But it is worth it in the end when you get there. I got to see another new port; Pago Pago in American Samoa on the way down to French Polynesia. It is a beautiful little lush tropical island.

Hawaii Oahu | Kauai | Maui | French Polynesia

Mexico

We spent a lot of time in Mexico on seven cruises to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. They were nice for the margaritas!

Also, short mini cruises of 4/5 days either just to Cabo San Lucas or to Ensenada and Catalina Island, California. Catalina Island was another new port for me and it was a nice new place to go, a really pretty island across the water from Los Angeles.

Mexico | Catalina Island

Back Home

Since I have been back home my feet have not touched the ground. After a 14 hour flight, I have been suffering from jet lag. I wish my body would just understand and sleep at night-time!

Within two days of being at home, we have been to Lake Como, lovely but I would have preferred a week at home to recover!

Now, it is time to get ready for Christmas, our tree is up, the turkey is ordered and the Christmas shopping is done. If you need a helping hand with your Christmas shopping check out my gift guides for travellers and cruisers.

Traveller Gift Guide | Cruiser Gift Guide | Travel Beauty Gift Guide | Christmas Decorations

It’s Not the End!

I love to travel so, even though I am home there will be lots of travel blog posts from around Italy and the UK and you will be reading them very soon!

Happy Holidays

Love Lucy x

Back to Reality Returning Home After Travelling - Lucy Williams Global

 

Ketchikan is in Alaska and is a place that you go to if you go on an Alaskan cruise. What must you see in Ketchikan? What is there to see and do?

There are many tours to do in Ketchikan from watching a Lumberjack show, fishing, going on a float plane into the misty fjords, looking for bears, going to the Tongass National Forest to see the Totem Poles, all you can eat crab and more!

The city of Ketchikan itself is beautiful to walk around and venture to Creek Street the oldest street in town.

Ketchikan claims to be Alaska’s first city and the salmon capital of the world. It dates back to 1883 and in 1900 had a population of 800, now it has a population of over 8000.

People went there originally, because of the salmon and the gold rush. Now it is for tourism and fishing.

In Ketchikan, it rains a lot and it has the highest rainfall in the USA. Ketchikan is surrounded by big fir trees with the colourful houses popping out. Most of the time the mist is so low you cannot see the tops of the trees.

If you are lucky to get a good sunny day, it is very beautiful with the sun shining over the ocean making it sparkle with the mountains in the distance.

I saw heavy rain, grey days and beautiful sunny days. The weather in Alaska is very unpredictable!

Whilst I was in Ketchikan I went to the Totem Bight State Park and enjoyed visiting Creek Street.

Totem Bight State Park Tour

Totem Bight State Park is in the Tongass National Forest. It is around thirty minutes away from where the cruise ships dock.

Totem Poles are the part of the native Alaskan culture and they are all hand carved from cedar wood. Each pole has a story, that is why each one is very different.

It is the largest totem pole park in the world and the poles were brought from all the deserted Alaskan towns.

At the park, there is a replica native clan house, that would be the summer camp for the natives. The clan was of around 50 people and they are lived in the house in the summer months.

The park is set in the beautiful Tongass National Forest on the water. With stunning views of the surrounding area.

Creek Street

Creek Street in the city centre and is within walking distance of where the cruise ships are docked. Creek Street was the red-light district of Ketchikan and had thirty brothels in it.

The brothels were open until 1954. The colourful houses of Creek Street are now gift shops, gallery’s, bars and brothel museums.

What to Wear in Ketchikan

The weather varies a lot in Ketchikan, but most of the time it does rain! I would recommend wearing layers, so if it is nice you can take a layer off.

Bring a jacket, jeans/trousers, tee, sweater, boots, hat, gloves, scarf and an umbrella.

Essential Info

  • Weather in summer months: 8*C – 20*C
  • Currency: US Dollar
  • Language: American English
  • Recommendations: Bring a camera or smartphone, waterproof phone cover or camera lens cloth and binoculars for wildlife spotting.

         

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Have you been to Ketchikan? What would you recommend doing?

Happy Travels

Love Lucy x

What You Must See in Ketchikan Alaska

(L. Williams is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk, at no extra cost, to you).

Fancy a trip of a lifetime tour? Landing on a glacier by helicopter in Juneau, Alaska was a tour of a lifetime.

Just going in a helicopter is fun! Let alone landing on a glacier and then talking a guided walk. I still cannot believe I did it!

The last time I was in a helicopter I was being airlifted to hospital when I broke my femur bone skiing a few years ago. So, this was exciting yet daunting for me!

I enjoyed everything minute of it and just walked very slowly on top of the glacier. As the guide said if you fall over you will cut yourself, if your gloves are off as the ice is very sharp, so no walking when your gloves are off for taking photos!

Helicopter Glacier Tour

I did this tour in Juneau, Alaska and the helicopters were at the airport. Before we were taken to the helicopters we were asked for our weight and shoe size.

When we arrived we, got our kit of a rainproof and windproof trousers and jacket, boots (in the correct shoe size), gloves and a waist bag containing tissues, a bottle of water and granola bar.

I recommend you wrap up warm as the trousers and jacket are very thin, so you still need warm clothes underneath. Bring a hat as that is not provided, just the gloves. The waist bag also has space for a phone and wallet.

You are told not to bring bags on this tour as there no space in the helicopter for them. If you have a camera bag or any other belongings you must leave it at the tour building.

We were given a safety induction then told which helicopter we would be in. We had to give our weight so the helicopter is balanced. The helicopter held six passengers and one pilot.

Taking off

Our pilot was a woman and led the route of three other helicopters. The journey took 25 minutes and we had a great tour of the mountains and spotting bears and goats. Then a tour of the glacier from the sky. The glacier has so many textures. See the photos below.

Landing and Walking on the Glacier

When we landed on the glacier we were given a trekking pole and crampons were put on our boots to be sturdy walking on the ice.

We walked around the glacier for an hour. It is completely different to walking on snow, the ice is hard and sharp and in other parts soft and slushy.

After the guided walk, it was time to take off the crampons and give back the trekking pole and get back onboard the helicopter for our ride back. The journey back only took ten minutes. The tour was a total of three hours.

It was an amazing experience and I recommend this tour to anyone that has a sense of adventure and likes to do a tour that is a bit different.

Essential Info

  • Weather: It is cold as you are on top of a glacier! 0*C – 5*C
  • Currency: US Dollar (for the gift shop)
  • Language: American English
  • Recommendations: Bring just what you need as there is no space in the helicopter. I just brought my small wallet and iPhone.

            

What Did I Wear?

  • Jeans
  • Jacket
  • Thermal Long Sleeve Top
  • The North Face Fleece (love mine as I have had it eight years and it still looks like new)
  • Thick socks
  • Hat

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Juneau LW Global 10

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Have you been on a helicopter landing on a glacier tour? Do you have any recommendations?

Happy Travels

Love Lucy x

tour of a lifetime landing on a glacier by helicopter in Juneau Alaska

(L. Williams is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk, at no extra cost, to you).

If you are going to Skagway you are probably going on a cruise, unless you are going in your RV camping. Most people get to Skagway on a cruise and are there for one day, so how do you make the most of the day in Skagway, Alaska?

The best way is to go on a tour, so then you can pack in as much in as you can. There are tours that you can book through the cruise ship or independently.

Whilst I have been in Skagway I have been on two all day tours. The Kroschel Wildlife Refuge in Haines and the Best of Skagway.

Both were fantastic tours, the Kroschel Wildlife Refuge you will see lots of Alaskan wild animals. The Best of Skagway you learn about the Gold Rush History. So, it depends on what you prefer to see. There are so many tours in Skagway to do, but I do recommend both of these.

Kroschel Wildlife Refuge in Haines

The Kroschel Wildlife Refuge is run by Steve Kroschel. He is the founder of the centre and has a lifetime experience of working with wild animals for movies and TV shows.

Haines is not in Skagway so we took a catamaran ferry to Haines which is 45 minutes away. It is a beautiful trip as you sail through the natural fjords and see waterfalls and if you are lucky some wildlife, such as eagles and seals.

When you arrive in Haines it is another bus ride over to the wildlife refuge and again beautiful natural scenery all the way there.

The refuge is in the middle of nowhere! But that is part of the charm. The owner of the refuge Steve Kroschel is a real character and really makes the tour fun. He reminded me of the crocodile man Steve Irwin.

He has taken in all the animals and rehabilitated them. It was amazing to see some of these wild animals get close to him, like a cat or dog it was incredible to see.

Whilst at the park we saw; a moose, reindeer, a brown bear, a wolf, an arctic fox, a lynx, a porcupine, a mink, a wolverine and pine marten.

Steve would get the animals attention so we could see the animal well and get a photo! I fed the reindeer and that was fun, but I ended up with mud all over me!

I loved this tour as it was nothing like a zoo. The animals were happy and had lots of space to run about and were treated very well. I enjoyed every minute.

Then it was back on the bus and back on the ferry. This tour takes 6 hours of your day.

Best of Skagway

The best of Skagway is a good tour as you see a little of everything. We went on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, drove up the Klondike Summit highway, learnt about the Gold Rush History, went to Liarsville Trail Camp and learnt to pan for gold and ended the tour having a drink in the Red Onion Saloon to see a 1898 brothel museum.

Klondike Summit

The first part of our tour was driving along the Klondike Summit highway that was built by the US army in 1954.

The road is on the other side of mountains and you can see the train on the edge of the mountain and the Tormented Valley and Pitchfork Falls. The view was beautiful driving up to Fraser in Canada to catch the train.

White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad

The second part of our tour was to board the train in Fraser, BC in Canada, that took us all the way back to Skagway that took about an hour and thirty minutes.

The White Pass Railroad was built between 1898 – 1900. It was built right on the edge of the mountain. We went 2885 Feet (879 Meters) above sea level at the White Pass Summit point!

The train was interesting as we saw the original Klondike trail of 1898 of men trying to find their fortune and the trail was narrated throughout the train and landmarks were pointed out. It is hard to believe men hiked this trail to try to find gold.

Liarsville Trail Camp

The Liarsville Trail Camp was a lot of fun, but it is all outside so wrap up warm if it is a cold day (the day we were there it was cold!).

The camp is a recreation of a tent city from 1898. We enjoyed a salmon bake buffet first, an entertaining show explaining the gold rush and how to pan for gold. Then we got to have a go at gold panning ourselves and I found a quite a few flakes of gold!

The camp was called Liarsville because of the press. The journalists reported from the camp the tales from the Klondike Gold Rush. Which was mainly made up! For example, they reported it was very easy to find gold, not a long hard hike to the summit!

It was also the last stop to have a hot bath, have your laundry done, go to a bar and see a madam before the long trail to find gold.

Red Onion Saloon

The Red Onion Saloon is a bar restaurant with a brothel museum upstairs. The Red Onion Saloon was a real brothel upstairs in 1898 – 1900.

When we entered the museum, we were greeted with the choice of Alaskan Amber beer, wine or pink lemonade. We were then shown around the rooms by a madam in costume.

She explained how the brothel worked, how much they got paid and amount of time each customer got with a girl!

There were some of the girl’s things on display like fans, perfume bottles, hair grips, brushes, dresses and fur coats.

It was interesting and ended the day’s tour on a good note. The Red Onion Saloon is on Broadway the main street in Skagway and short walk away from the ship. The Best of Skagway is an all-day tour take takes 6.5 hours.

What Did I Wear?

The day I went to Kroschel Wildlife Refuge was cold and on and off raining and the day I went on the Best of Skagway it was cold and windy.

I wrapped up warm! I wore skinny jeans, sweater, thermal tee, two pairs of socks, snow boots, jacket, gloves, scarf and hat and I brought my umbrella!

 

I love The North Face Gloves as you can still use the touchscreen on your smartphone without taking them off! Great for photos!

Essential Info

  • Weather: May – September 7*C – 18*C
  • Language: American English
  • Currency: US Dollar
  • Recommendations: Wrap up warm and bring your camera or smartphone to take lots of photos. Also, binoculars if you would like to spot some wildlife. Bring an umbrella and a waterproof jacket as when it rains in Skagway it pours!

 

         

 

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Have you been to Skagway? Do you have any recommendations?

Happy Travels

Love Lucy x

How to Make the Most of Your Day in Skagway Alaska

(L. Williams is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk, at no extra cost, to you).

How to get up close to the sawyer glacier in Alaska

The Sawyer Glacier in the Tracy Arm Fjord is so beautiful, especially when you get up close. If you go on a cruise that includes Tracy Arm Fjord scenic cruising you may have the opportunity to go on a tour and get up close to the Sawyer Glacier.

I would recommend doing this. It is a separate tour to the onboard scenic cruising and it is one of the best tours I have been on! You embark small boat from the cruise ship, well not that small, it still held around 100 or more people but a lot smaller than the cruise ship!

You sail right up to the north and south Sawyer Glaciers. And see so much more than you would just scenic cruising onboard.

I could not believe how much ice there was and icebergs floating in the water. We were just sailing into them!

img_3782

The crew were fantastic on the tour. There were the captain, engineer and boat crew, the naturalist and the bar staff. The naturalist gave loads of great information about the glaciers and the ports in Alaska.

The captain and his crew got us so close the Sawyer Glacier through the iceberg-filled water and up close to some waterfalls. They were all very friendly and helpful and looked like they really enjoyed their jobs.

P1040552

Weather

The day we were there it was very cold and raining so you felt it even more. I enjoyed the scenery so much I didn’t really notice it was raining, apart from wiping my camera lens, phone screen and glasses!

 

I would recommend a Waterproof Case cover for your phone to protect from the rain like this one from Amazon!

 

What did I wear?

On this tour, I wore jeans, my snow boots, thermal long sleeve tee, The North Face fleece, waterproof feather stuffed jacket, cashmere scarf, The North Face gloves and a fake fur lined hat. These items of clothing kept me warm throughout the tour.

You may also enjoy reading my Top 10 Packing Tips for an Alaskan Cruise.

Top 10 Packing Tips for an Alaskan Cruise

It was a magical experience and this was one of my top ten tours around the world. I think I will write a blog post on that in the future!

We sailed from the glacier all the way to Juneau and the tour was 6 hours long. The scenery was beautiful sailing through the fjords.

Wildlife

At the glacier, there were seals sitting on the icebergs and we even saw a few whales very close to the boat and flip their tails!

 

P1040512

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Sailing through Tracy Arm Fjord on the Cruise Ship

Watching the scenic cruising through Tracy Arm Fjord from the ship is beautiful and you still see a lot. But as huge cruise ship cannot get up close to the Sawyer Glacier you can only see it from a distance.

On the cruise, I was on I was on deck in the morning at 7 am to 10 am, watching the sail in through Tracy Arm Fjord to reach the Sawyer Glacier.

This area has not been touched by man and is completely unspoilt. It is breathtaking how beautiful it is. The mountains are right there in front of you.

The icebergs in the water were so blue. The trees are growing on the rocky mountains and the are glaciers wedged in between the mountains is amazing. The mist is just below the mountain tops and the water is so green.

Which is the better way to see Tracy Arm Fjord?

I liked both ways, but seeing the Sawyer Glacier up close and sailing through the ice for me was amazing and I would recommend it.

 

Essential Info

  • Weather: 5*C to 9*C and a high chance of rain
  • Language: English
  • Currency: US Dollar
  • Recommendations: Wrap up warm as this will be the coldest part of the cruise.

If you enjoyed reading, please share on social media so your friends and family can read too! Sharing is caring!

Have you been to Tracy Arm Fjord? Do you have any recommendations?

Happy Travels

Love Lucy x

IMG_4211

(L. Williams is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk, at no extra cost, to you).