We docked in Juneau in low overcast and light rain. The ship was docked about 1/2 mile out. We ate breakfast in the dining room and walked into town. After a fair bit of shopping, we visited the St. Nicholas Russian church . On the way to the church, I happened to say "hello" to a security guard who was standing in front of an office building. The next 10-15 minutes were spent chatting with him about life in Juneau. This, we would soon learn, was pretty typical; people would act as they'd known you for years. At the recommendation of some locals, we had lunch at "The Hanger" on the wharf. This place is frequented by locals and people working on the ships, not tourists. At the recommendation of some guys I talked to at the bar, I had an Alaskan Amber Beer, brewed in Juneau.
It was fantastic and the halibut and chips were the best we've ever had.
After lunch, we returned to the ship and got ready for the Mendenhall River Float Trip. They took us on a bus from the ship to Mendenhall Lake, right below the glacier of the same name. There were small 'bergs floating in the water. We got all done up in boots, pants, parka and life preserver & loaded into a raft with 4 other folks plus the guide, Brian Donovan. There were about 7 rafts from our bus. We first crossed the lake, then entered the Mendenhall River and followed it for about 4-1/2 miles including through several rapids, some of which were class 2 & 3. Lots of fun and Lin enjoyed it, too. The only real problem was cold feet (literally, not figuratively). The only thing between our feet and 36º water was a pair of socks, thin rubber boots and the rubber bottom of the raft.
In fact, there was some water in the boat so our feet were like ice! The trip down the river took about an hour, most of which was very gentle. I don't know about you but I've always rather thought of glacial melt water as crystal clear. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Thinking about it, glaciers grind their way through miles of mountains, pulverizing them and picking up the dirt and rock. Consequently, the run-off looks more like milk than water! Unfortunately, it rained on and off the whole time. They had hot chocolate, reindeer sausage (delicious!) and salmon spread at the take-out. Afterward, they bussed us back to the ship.
We went into the hot tub to warm up before getting dressed for dinner. We had drinks in the Atrium. Dinner was Italian and actually quite good. I had shrimp Fra Diavlo. We went with Frank and Pat to an "America's Music" review in the theater. Again, we sat front row center. After dancing in the Wheelhouse for a while, we got to bed around 12:00. The view from our balcony as we prepared for bed was breathtaking. All shades of blue and gray with snow-capped mountains for accent. Even the patterns on the water were enticing. I didn't even try to capture it on film. I could have watched that all night.
As the capital of Alaska, Juneau is a business city as well a tourist destination. There's a gondola that goes from one of the piers to a mountain top but, because visibility was limited and time short, we skipped it so I can't comment. There's lots of shopping and, while some are pretty tacky, there are some very nice shops. St. Nicholas Church is a tiny wooded structure which, according to the priest we spoke with, hosts 70 people for Sunday worship. In my mind the fact that they stand for the entire 90 minute service is the only way 70 people will fit in the building. It's really quaint. Juneau's weather is about like Ketchikan's.