The ship docked at Sitka during the night so the morning sun welcomed us to this charming harbor village. Taking a tender boat the short ride to shore, I wandered through the main street, stopping to take pictures of a giant totem pole, the Russian church, and a beautiful cemetery tucked into the hillside. Sitka is very small – crossing through to the other side of town was a a 7-minute walk – but very picturesque. I grabbed coffee in small bookstore cafe, made friends with a local Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever and two Great Danes, and picked up some souvenirs. I also took quite a few pictures of boats in the harbor since that is one of my favorite scenes to shoot.
A bit of trivia: Sitka was the original Russian capital of Alaska, before being purchased by the United States. My final stop was Castle Hill, the site of the last Russian stronghold in Alaska, and the location of the signing of the purchase agreement between the two countries.
After a few hours in Sitka, I felt I’d seen the main points and climbed back aboard the tender to return to the ship. My friends joined me shortly after to head down to Afternoon Tea. Packed to the gills with delicious food, we pushed ourselves to attend a boot camp-style workout in the gym to alleviate some of the guilt of our indulgence.
…and returned to our room to prep for yet another delicious dinner in the Vista Lounge. Much to my delight, there was a line-dancing class being conducted in the nightclub so I dragged my friends with me and we shimmied to Cupid Shuffle and Electric Slide til we were sweating and laughing. After watching the Blues Band for awhile, I wandered over to the Piano Bar where Mike the Piano Man indulged me by playing a series of Simon & Garfunkel hits (amazing voice, seriously I felt tears coming on at times).