Tag Archives: Juneau

The Norwegian Sun in Juneau


Norwegian Sun docked in Juneau

Norwegian Sun docked in Juneau

No Fun Photo Friday this week.  We’re going to instead continue with our recent Alaska adventure with Al and Lisa Fittipaldi.  I’ve shown you a little of Juneau before, so today I’ll concentrate more on images of the town, give you a jewelry store to hit for some good deals, and even do a little restaurant review.

Juneau fishing boat

Juneau fishing boat

Of course, Juneau is the capital of Alaska.  Indeed, here’s the entrance through which Sarah Palin used to enter before she got bored with the job:

The Governor's office

The Governor’s office

The city streets of Juneau have much to offer the photographer in the way of quaint, frontier-style architecture, but not in my view as much as either Ketchikan or Skagway.  Here’s a little gallery of what I mean:

Did you see the bear above?  Here’s Ursula posing with her namesake:

Ursula posing with an Ursa (Latin for "Bear")

Ursula posing with an Ursa (Latin for “Bear”)

A little shopping tip:  Diamonds International and its spinoff Tanzanite International are in cruise destinations throughout the major routes — the Caribbean, the Mexican Riviera, and even up here in Alaska.  They like to advertise the fact that they’re a direct dealer with De Beers, and this cuts out a lot of the middlemen.  You would think that means that their prices are less than others.  Just the opposite.  I’ve found that you can get comparable jewelry at greatly reduced prices with chains such as Milano, for one, and you can do even better if you hit the local shops as long as you know you can trust the merchandise.  That means I’d be a bit wary in, say, Puerto Vallarta, but up here in Alaska you can find some pretty good shops.  Here in Juneau we’ve done well over the years with Samuel Sengul, owner of Jewelers International at 265 S. Franklin Street.  Indeed, he goes by the trade name “Goldfinger” during the off season when he once again operates out of the Los Angeles area, and we felt so comfortable dealing with him that we’ve in the past sent him some a rather nice Tanzanite for placement into a setting.

Juneau tug

Juneau tug

Mountains around Juneau

Mountains around Juneau

Now for that promised restaurant review:  We don’t normally eat while in port because meals are included aboard ship.  But when we stumbled across this place we couldn’t resist the somewhat pricey but delicious temptation.  It’s called Tracy’s King Crab Shack, and it offers outdoor dining with a great view of Juneau and the narrow body of water separating Juneau from West Juneau on nearby Douglas Island.

Tracy's King Crab Shack

Tracy’s King Crab Shack

When you walk into the entrance it appears that you’re in a retail store selling Tracy’s King Crab Shack merchandise.  Don’t stop.  Keep walking toward the back and exit the building.  Here’s what you’ll find:

Tracy's King Crab Shack

Tracy’s King Crab Shack

That stand depicted above is where they prepare your order, an order you place in a separate booth with people lined up waiting to place their order.  There’s yet another booth for beer and wine, for which you pay separately from your food order.

Tracy's King Crab Shack

Tracy’s King Crab Shack

After placing your food order and getting some drinks it’s time to walk past the crab shack and head into the tent to await your food.

Tracy's King Crab Shack

Tracy’s King Crab Shack

Tracy's King Crab Shack

Tracy’s King Crab Shack

And what did we order?  King crab legs, of course.  A bucket full, accompanied by a rather tasty coleslaw and some dinner rolls.  Oh, and butter.  Melted butter.  Lots of melted butter.  With fresh lime:

A bucket of crabs

A bucket of crabs

That’s somewhat over three pounds of crab you’re looking at above.  Each leg comes scored by a very sharp knife for easy access to the meat.  The legs come hot and perfectly steamed, certainly not overdone.  The legs are Alaska (Bearing Strait) harvested, but they are flash frozen rather than fresh.  Nevertheless, you’ll think they’re fresh from the taste.  Normally a bucket, which is enough for two to share, is priced at $119.95, but on this day they were having a special.  The bucket only cost us $99.95.  Pricey, but we thought it was worth it.  We’d do it again, that’s for certain.  The beer selection is adequate, and I rather enjoyed the Alaskan Amber Ale, which was a perfect accompaniment to the crab legs.

Next stop:  Skagway, and another shopping tip.

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How Did Juneau Get Its Name?


When the Klondike Gold Rush started, the prospectors would come into town and ask, “Juneau where I can start lookin’ fer dat gold?”

Just kidding.  It was named for prospector Joe JuneauJuneau is Alaska’s state capital, and while Juneau maintains much of its 1890s flavor, the nonstop gambling saloons and houses of pleasure have given way businesses designed to pry money from tourists.  Myriad jewelry and fur stores line the main drag as you come off the cruise ships.  If that fails, then prepare to run the gauntlet of souvenir shops selling everything from T-shirts with suggestive slogans and pictures to kitschy knickknacks and Alaskan- and frontier-themed coffee cups.

But, hey, at least you can get a good brew.  The Alaska Brewing Company makes some pretty good stuff.  These are some of the finest commercial ales you’re going to find this side of a pub in London.

Photographically speaking, save your memory card and camera batteries for Mount Roberts, the steamboat ride, a few shots of your ship (and other ships reflected in the pristine waters), the pretty flowers dotting the streets and hanging from the street lamps, and perhaps the state capital building (which I’ve photographed on previous visits, so you won’t see it today).

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Mount Roberts Tramway — Juneau


We reached Juneau and the fabulous weather of Ketchikan held.  Ursula and I have been to Juneau many times, but never have we made it up the Mount Roberts Tramway, and with good reason—I hate heights.  Alas, this time Ursula would not be denied.

And so it was with heart pounding, palms sweating, and knees shaking that I stepped aboard the tram at the foot of Mount Roberts.  Well, that’s an exaggeration.  Just barely.

Was the trip worth the sweats?  Yep.  Reaching the top, we took a hike into the surrounding area.  Tall peaks and green meadows were in evidence everywhere.  And then there were those stunning views of Juneau and the snow-topped mountains beyond.

Yeah . . . I’d do it again.  And here’s why:

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