Halfway into planning a vacation with my husband that doubled as my 50th birthday present, the stress of work and caring for an elderly parent left me with zero energy to map out a road trip up the California coastline. A friend’s offhanded suggestion about a cruise to Alaska intrigued me under the circumstances, even though I was the last person who envisioned packing winter woolies and a hat to freeze on a ship. We no sooner called her travel agent than we had gotten the last cabin aboard the Statendam on Holland America to take the Glacier Bay Inside Passage tour.
- Snow-blower train of the While Pass & Yukon Railway in Skagway, Alaska
But the high point was standing on the top deck of the Statendam, chilly but mesmerized as we watched new glaciers forming just as we could see and hear other parts crack and fall into the sea. We rarely broke our silence to take in the experience. Only hunger pangs pulled us away after four hours.
We capped off our cruise with a couple of days in Vancouver, cooing at baby Beluga Whales in Stanley Park, and then a day trip to Victoria and Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island.
Describing Butchart Gardens is nearly impossible, the land so vast, the arrangements stunning. We lost ourselves for hours in a peaceful paradise of flowers, waterfalls, and winding paths leading to one romantic view after another.
Our ten days felt like three weeks; we started our vacation practically shaking with stress and returned renewed, serene and joyous. Our cruise was made all the more wonderful, not only because of our surprise at the beauty of this voyage, but our deep enjoyment at a type of trip we never thought we would take.
And Mom was fine when we returned.
Anita Finlay, Author on Facebook
Photos courtesy of David Givens
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