Wednesday, September 26, 2012

After the Train Ride, A Day in Seward

I described getting to Seward from Anchorage via train here.

After getting off the train you're dumped in the middle of Seward.  Great views.
Rush hour in Seward
The train ride is from 6:45 to 11:30 AM, so when you arrive it's lunchtime and you're pretty hungry, even if you overpaid for a $7 reindeer sausage breakfast taco on the train.  Along the water there are a handful of tourist shops and seafood restaurants, all of them pretty much interchangeable in appearance.  We decided to eat at Chinooks because it was a.) one of the first places we saw after we got off the train and b.) it looked open.
The food here was some of the best we had in Alaska.  I had beer battered halibut and chips and the wife had an Alaskan salmon salad.  Neither are pictured, you probably know what they look like.  We sat at the bar and my wife and the bartender started up a conversation about the bottle of Louis XIII that they had on the shelf and how much they charge per drink. (somewhere around $750)  Needless to say, we passed.  I had an Alaskan Brewing Company Summer and the wife had rum and OJ. (remember, she's celiac, so no beer for her.)

In retrospect I should have had the Halibut BLT that they had on special for lunch.  The person seated next to us got one and it looked delicious.  Not that the fish & chips I had were bad, they were actually very good, but that sandwich looked amazing.  They also had a very good clam chowder.

Miracle of miracles, it wasn't raining on us in Seward, from what we understand it's about 50/50 as to whether or not it will there, almost any time of year.  Our next stop was going to be the Alaska Sea Life Center but we decided to take the free bus to their because we were full and it was a rather long walk uphill.  It was only about a 15 minute bus ride to the center, although walking (with the roads and the winding way you had to go) would have taken around an hour.  Given our tight time-frame, the bus was the correct idea.

The Alaska Sea-Life center is exactly what you think it is, an aquarium with displays focusing almost entirely on Alaskan sea-life.  The highlights for us were the Puffins and the baby walrus. Not to mention some of the interactive displays which were geared for kids but not so elementary that they weren't useful for adults either.

Alaska Sea Life Center Entrance

Baby Walrus with keeper

It's hard to describe just how close we were to that Puffin in the picture.  He was maybe 18 inches away.  I could have reached out and touched him.  That would have been silly of course, but it was interesting never the less.

Before you leave the center, make sure to walk out onto the upper deck and spend a few minutes looking at Seward Cove:
Seward Cove
The plaques and informational signs tell about how the area was affected by the big earthquake, and you can look down and still see some of the ruins underneath the observation deck.

After leaving the Sea Life Center, we started to meander back through downtown Seward to get closer to the harbor master's building, which was where our bus was to collect us for the ride back to Anchorage.  Since it was still only 3:00ish and our bus wasn't scheduled until 6:30, we had plenty of time to stop by Sweet Darlings where we purchased some salt-water taffy and The Seward Ale House where I found two Alaskan beefs that I really liked the Midnight Sun Brewing Co. Panty Dropper (11.5% ABV) and the Moose Tooth Amber.  We also decided to play the local lottery game, which the locals called "rippies".  They were basically three window cards with pull tabs that you pulled back to expose whether or not you had won.  While we were drinking, two locals won $300 on $20 wagered.  We thought this circumstance might be contagious so we each played $10 ($20 total) and won.....$5.  We turned in that fiver for 5 more rippies ($1 each) and continued that way for a few more minutes until we were done.  Fortunately, it was now time to leave to get on our bus for the ride home up the Seward Highway, so we left there and walked to the pick up point.

At this point I'd like to tell you that I have several pictures of the Seward highway through bus-window glass but I don't.  To be honest, after the early start, the train ride, the walking and the food and drink, both the wife and I snoozed for most of the way home.

One last Alaska post coming....Saturday in Anchorage.

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