M/S Ryndam

ryndam-chair

Our means of transport around the inner passages of Alaska and where we were billeted for 7 nights.  It was smooth sailing all the way from Vancouver to Seward.

ms-ryndam

A moderately sized ship that feels cozy and homey.  Far from the humongous cruise ships that looked more like a structure than a ship.

celebretuty-cruise

I however will not comment until I have been in one lest I eat my words.  I never thought I’d be raving, never thought they were my thing but it seemed like the most economical way to get around Alaska.   So I decided to keep an open mind and I’m happy I did.  A wonderful surprise, I’ll say.

deck-6

The Ryndam appealed to me because this 720feet vessel is designed to carry fewer guests and being so provided more space yet cozy enough to get to know some fellow traveller either at the bar or on shore excursions.

foie-grasYes… that’s sinful!

An experience I wouldn’t mind repeating.  I vividly remember an overflow of food at any given time, impressive amenities, enjoyed especially the wet floor where they had a heated lounge chair which never fails to drift me off to dreamland.

mojitoMy Mojoto!

Crow’s Nest bar was where we spent a lot of our time on board not only because of the booze and great bunch of people but also

view

because it is indoors and had an almost panoramic view… well, of mostly the ocean but when we approached each town,

mountain-view

we’d get great views of mountains,

waterfalls

waterfalls,

islands-2

islands

whale

and sometimes we’d catch a few dolphins and whales riding with the ship.  I’d say it is the best place to hang out and get the best of both worlds.

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Oh, the sunsets were spectacular too and the service – impeccable.

Allow me to show you around.

bowThe bow

crow's-nest-barCrow’s Nest Bar

deck-at-sunsetWalking around the deck at sunset

float-planesFloat planes at the Vancouver Pier

lifeboatOur Lifeboat Station (very important information)

Ocean View StateroomOur Ocean View Stateroom

RotterdamRotterdam Dining Room features impeccable service.  Five course menus includes continental cuisine, vegetarian and low carb option.

starter at rotterdamMy starter of seafood cocktail at The Rotterdam

And more of the view!

islands

mountain-view-2

mountains-and-islands

And some fabulous sunsets!

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sunset-4

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M/S Ryndam is part of Holland America Lines.

Granville Island

Scenic Sunday

granville-public-market

The first time I was in Vancouver I had already wanted to check out this cool place with a huge impressive public market but due to time and transportation constraints at the time, I gave up the idea and vowed to make it there next time.  Next time has come and what was at the top of my agenda?

celines-fish-and-chips

fish-&-chips

Fish and chips (and the yummiest and biggest fried oysters I’ve ever encountered) at the Granville Public Market!

Although also pressed for time this time around as we were really just passing through Vancouver on our way to Alaska (and that’s for more exciting posts to watch out for in the next few weeks).  I made sure we make it there by hook or by crook!  It was worth the (long) wait.  Those who know me know that I love going to the market even though I am by no means considered a good cook.

food

fruits-2

fruits

bell-peppers

produce

I get a thrill each time I survey what’s in a market whether I am in my own neighborhood or out travelling.

dock

This island is in the middle of the city and is physically connected to downtown Vancouver by the Granville Street Bridge.  One can’t tell from there the gem that awaits them.  Embodying the surrounding metro, Granville Island is matchless.  Its humble origins are far from what it has become, a popular area boasting of impressive art galleries, shops, dining places and a fabulous public market that offer a wide array of fresh and cooked food (as seen above).

Let’s walk around, shall we?

dog-walkerI’d walk the dogs here too!

duck-pondDucks

ducks-2Ducks

ducks-3And more ducks!

feeding-the-pigeons-2Feeding them

pigeons-3

Pigeons

houses-2Sea Village houses

houses

shopsShops

neighborhoodThe neighborhood

little-girlAnd isn’t she a cutie?   🙂

More scenic posts here.

Vancouver VIA Rail

Vancouver-Via-RailCredits-  Template by Shabby Miss Jen’s Designs;  Paper by Jessica Sprague Blue Solid paper from Cr8 Mini Kit;  Elements:  Stapler Pair and Heart Sticker both by KPertiet;  Alpha by Jessica Sprague from Grand Intention Kit

Trains fascinate me because it evokes a feel of the olden days.  It is the only means of public transportation to Vancouver from Jasper unless one drives to Edmonton and fly out from there.  An opportunity I cannot pass up and so I booked us on the VIA Rail Canada and got ourselves to Vancouver via rail!

Not without some 7-hour delay.  While VIA Rail owns 223 kilometers of tracks, most of the infrastructure used by the passenger service is owned and managed by the freight railways operators.  In short, the train will be late and it is not their fault.  So looking at the glass half full, we took the opportunity to see more of Jasper.  How can one get tired of this quaint town anyway?  So off we went to Maligne Canyon… and got back way before the train arrived.   No complaints from us!

The 20-hour (thereabout) train ride offered beautiful sceneries.  The high-level coaches and lounge cars have big windows for better viewing pleasure.

Money well-spent…

VIA Rail Canada
Jasper Station
601Connaught Dr.,
Jasper, AB

More Glorious Lakes

Scenic Sunday

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This marks the end of my series of lakes and other bodies of waters around Jasper.  The many glorious lakes is clearly a major reason why Jasper has become a favorite.

Patricia Lake

patricia

Pyramid Lake

pyramid kayaks

pyramid

Cavell Lake

cavell lake

Unsure which lake this was but scuba diving in glacial fed waters?  Are. You. Kidding!?  Kudos to them!!!   🙂

scuba

For more scenic scenes, click here.

Maligne Valley

Scenic Sunday

IMG_3212

Pronounced “mah-leen”, is riddled by an extensive karsts system – a geological formation of caves above and below ground level.  In the case of Maligne Valley, no one knows where the water for Maligne Lake goes.  Located at the south end of Maligne Road, this gorgeous wildlife-filled, glacier fed lake is one of the largest in the Rockies.  Watch for elk, sheep, moose along the road, we were told and bears are usually spotted around the lake.

bridge-at-dusk

island

reflection

Completing the Maligne Valley highlight is Maligne Canyon where the river has eaten away at the limestone of the valley eroding the softer rocks.  The result is a smooth, steep walled canyon bringing forth one of the most spectacular gorge in the Canadian Rockies.  Waterfalls, fossils, potholes are just some of the wonders of the canyon.

canyon-waterfalls

stones

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Medicine Lake: The Lake that isn’t

lake-sepia

There are lots of glorious lakes within Jasper National Park but there is one lake that lured us no end.  Medicine Lake, just approximately 20km southeast of the townsite.  A geological rarity.  Why? you ask.  We all assume that Medicine Lake is a normal mountain lake but it isn’t.  It is perhaps best described as a sinking lake that has holes in the bottom like a bathtub without a plug.  During intensified runoff of summer, too much water flows into the lake filling the drain.  Before long, the lakebed begins to fill and by late spring, early summer (which was about the time we were there), Medicine Lake is in its full glory.

 lake

Medicine Lake is located along the road to Maligne Lake, a lake almost synonymous with Jasper. On our way to Malign Lake one evening, the still water perfectly reflecting the mountains and the sky caught our attention.  And so we stopped and admired its glory. 

pines

A great road route to spot wildlife, we were told, was also probably the main reason why we ply that route more often than once during our stay in Jasper.  It is Caribou land and we got word from a tourist we met earlier that there were caribous and bears (ok maybe he was exaggerating and there was only one) lurking around.  More than enough reason to go back again and again even if we were out of luck as far as caribous and bears were concerned.  It is, after all, a glorious lake, er, body of water(?) during the summer months.
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