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Gardyloo

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  1. There's an old saying about Anchorage that I found quite accurate when I lived there: "The best thing about Anchorage is that it's 20 minutes from Alaska." More like 30 or 40 now, and while I still have a lot of friends there, and love having a burger at the Arctic Roadrunner or a steak and a flashlight at Club Paris, I honestly can't say that Anchorage is all that compelling as a tourist destination in of itself. As a hub for excursions - down Turnagain Arm to Portage, or north up to Hatcher Pass - terrific; and some of the in-town attractions like the Native Heritage Center or the museum are good... well, they're still 30 minutes from... well... Here's an off-the-wall idea. You say you don't like flying much, and this would involve some flying, but what if you flew from Anchorage up to Kotzebue for a "night?" Round trip on an Alaska Airlines jet costs around $350 (but see the * below) but for that you'd cross the arctic circle, you could stick a toe in the Arctic Ocean, visit a thriving and fascinating Inupiat ("Eskimo") community, see the midnight sun, and stay at a comfortable hotel directly across from the sea. It's an excursion to a part of Alaska overlooked by the vast majority of visitors, and it really couldn't be easier for a short trip. Maybe worth a thought? * Don't know where you're flying from, but you might think about applying for an Alaska Airlines-branded Visa card - Credit Card Offer | Alaska Airlines - which would give you quite a few benefits, including 50,000 frequent flyer miles up front and an annual "companion" certificate good on Alaska Airlines, where one passenger pays the going price and a "companion" pays $99 plus some taxes for the same trip - could be from the east coast to Alaska, or to Hawaii, or California... wherever Alaska flies. In the case of intra-Alaska travel, such as Anchorage to Kotzebue, you'd redeem 7500 miles one-way, so 15,000 round trip, or if you wanted to use miles to return home from Kotzebue via Anchorage, the "cost" would be 12,500 miles one way or 30,000 miles in first class. This could reduce your overall cost pretty significantly. Just sayin'.
  2. I thought it might be of interest to readers of this board that the Bering Sea crab fisheries (both red king crab and snow crab species - bairdi and opilio) are being canceled outright or reduced hugely due to warming ocean temperatures, leading to a population crash. Alaska snow crab harvest slashed by nearly 90% after population crash in a warming Bering Sea Deadliest Catch fans take note, and anybody wanting to buy king crab at Costco better get your wallets out, preferably full of rubles (unless the Russians also agree to a halt in the harvest.)
  3. AFAIK Hertz is still the only national rental car company with a Seward office, so no. By next year, who knows?
  4. I would also bear in mind that the resident orca pods in the Salish Sea (the inland waters of Puget Sound and the southern BC Gulf) are endangered and restrictions on whale watching are likely to be increased as time goes by. I honestly think that if you're cruising to Alaska both you and conceivably the whales might be better off if you do your whale watching tour during a cruise stop.
  5. I've been using Luminar 4 for awhile, and it can be a lot of fun, but I'd require some serious convincing before I'd buy this product, given that much of what it does can be done with other products. But the sky replacement thing can be a blast. Here are a couple of examples, if interested. Mont Saint-Michel before and after - Jeff Bezos' next spacecraft
  6. Here's the part of the Space Needle camera that shows Pier 91.
  7. In Skagway I'd contact the local Avis office - Car Rental Skagway | Avis Rent a Car - and see if they have any minivans for your day. If they do, then I'd consider booking one and driving up into Canada. It's a very scenic drive, you can stop in Carcross (see the Carcross Desert) then again at Emerald Lake, then consider making the Robinson Roadhouse your turnaround point. It's a small ghost town out in the middle of nowhere (territorial historical site) with some interesting old buildings and a lot of marmots who will protest your intrusion quite noisily. The scenery in both directions is terrific. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/FBdkgwfHexrhEmrj6
  8. In that case I'd suggest Place Pigalle in the market. If you go early (they open for dinner at 5) you ought to be able to score a window table (or book to reserve one.) The restaurant has a terrific view and the food is generally excellent. Place Pigalle (placepigalle-seattle.com)
  9. Ask on the Alaska board - https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/33-alaska/
  10. The Brooklyn shut its doors for good late last year or early 2021; don't recall. If you're really after oysters, then Elliott's Oyster House on the central waterfront is one possible destination. or you might enjoy the White Swan Public House at the south end of Lake Union (with outdoor patio) or one of Taylor Shellfish's locations - Pioneer Square or Capitol Hill.
  11. AAdvantage allows you to upgrade from one class of service to the next on British Airways using AAdvantage miles provided the underlying fare (the one you paid) is a full fare category, i.e. Y (economy) or J (business.) Just for reference, a round trip ticket in J class on British Airways between DFW and Amsterdam has a base price - before taxes and fees - of US$12,800. In Y class (economy) it's $5716.
  12. What do you plan to do with your pictures? Enlargements for the wall, posting on social media, photo album...? Assuming your camera offers a few million pixels (say 6m or more) you can probably crop most wide-angle shots to concentrate on some feature in the picture, without losing very much detail, at least to the naked eye. Remember too that flights can be choppy, so a telephoto image runs the risk of being blurred by movement, while the wide angle shot will be less so.
  13. First, it's the Pike Place market, not "Pike's." Second, no, 5 AM is too early. I believe Lowell's - Lowell's Restaurant Seattle | Almost Classy Since 1957 (eatatlowells.com) - is the earliest restaurant to open at 8 AM, although the "original" Starbucks (it isn't really) opens for carryout at 6:30. La Panier, a very good bakery, opens at 7, but I'm not sure if their indoor seating is available (it's very limited anyway) but that might be a good option. And there might be some other places open before 8 that I can't think of, but those would be the leaders. Note it's still pretty dark at 5 AM hereabouts. Where are you staying? If it was me I'd head to Lowell's when it opens, get a table with a water view, and have breakfast, then walk around the market afterward.
  14. It should be but the hotel's website says they have a free shuttle, too. Hotel at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport - Crowne Plaza (ihg.com) Scroll down to the FAQs.
  15. A couple of years ago the Silver Cloud Stadium hotel (across the street from the ballpark) offered complementary shuttles to both cruise terminals, but there's no mention of it any more on their website. Other Silver Cloud branches also used to offer shuttles (not to the cruise terminals but to other places like Seattle Center) but none of them mention it on their websites either, so I assume it's a company-wide policy. It seems reasonable that they'd discontinue such perks given the health requirements they'd have to comply with (masking, distancing etc.) as well as being the only ones.
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