All posts by Ivan

Souvenir Pizza

On June 25, 2012, I woke up at 10 am.  Jennifer got up at 11:20 am.  She requires 8 or more hours of sleep while I’m good with just 6 hours.

We walked to the Anchorage downtown area to find lunch.  Snow City Café looked busy…and busy is good right?  There were lots of people sitting down waiting for a table as there was a 45 minute wait.  I asked if we could sit at the bar and we were seated right away.  I don’t understand why people would rather wait for a table for THAT long when you can sit at the bar.  Maybe they don’t think of asking or they just want to sit at a table and not sit next to strangers…either that or they are just plain stupid.

I got tasty salmon cakes while Lil Dave got a banana omelet.  Jen got a delicious Crabby Omelet – she claimed it was the best omelet she’s ever had.  I’m sure all that Swiss cheese made it taste scrumptious.

We walked around downtown and checked out a couple souvenir shops.  Jen and I bought a few things for my parents and my bro.  We bought a ulu knife made in Alaska with it’s own stand – it even came with directions, which will come in handy since we’ve never used one before!

We decided to do a trolley tour of Anchorage..more because we had nothing else to do rather than because we particularly wanted to…We boarded the Anchorage City Trolley Tours trolley.  Our tour guide had lots of stories to tell about Anchorage…most of them not particularly interesting.


The trolley stopped at the Alaska Railroad, Lake Hood (which is the largest float-plane base in the world), cruised Earthquake Park and the Cook Inlet.  You know it’s a small city when the highlight of the tour guide’s week was seeing 10 people behind a row of port-a-potties after the marathon.  She needs to get out more. The tour was alright – definitely not worth $15 though.

Jen wanted to mail postcards – so we walked to the 4th Avenue Marketplace since there’s a Post Office on the 1st floor there.  Jen mailed our ulu knife and the postcards.

We walked to a grocery store that is supposed to have unique food items for sale.  I noticed Patak curry sauces and Jen saw naan bread – but not much else that was unique.  I grabbed some bananas and bread for breakfast tomorrow since we have a morning flight tomorrow.

It was raining outside.  I thought we should walk back to the house, so we could have pizza later tonight. It was about  a 3 mile walk back, and we had walked about 3 miles earlier on in the day to get to downtown, so if that doesn’t deserve some pizza then what else does!

Jennifer noticed fishing rod flower pot holders that she thought were cool.IMG_8181

Later on, we walked to Moose’s Tooth for dinner.  Lil Dave got a small banana pizza with honey on top. 


Jennifer and I shared a delicious Strawberry Summer Salad.  It came with tons of fruit.  I hate it when I get a salad that should have lots of fruit – but it’s about 90% of lettuce.  We each got a tasty Hard Apple Ale that they brew themselves.  Our pizza came out next which was half of Wild Mushroom (portabella & crimini mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, goat cheese, mozzarella, provolone cheese and denali sauce which is like pesto) and half of Roasted Garlic pizza.  It was so very delicious again!!  We both wish that Moose’s Tooth had a branch in Las Vegas.  We would be regular customers for sure!


Wedding Penalty

Jennifer, Lil Dave and I woke up at 9:30 on June 24, 2012.  The weather outside was overcast and it looked like it might rain at any moment….oh so different from yesterday with all the sunshine and beautiful blues skies.

Ivan loaded the England vs. Italy Euro Cup football match on his laptop.  Both of the teams didn’t score – so, it went to penalty shoot-out to determine the winner.  It was going well, but then England missed a couple goals.  Then, Ashley Cole missed a shot and it was over.  Too bad! We had really been looking forward to watching England play Germany in the semi’s. Still..what’s a football championship without seeing England being knocked out on penalties…Its required in every single tournament, and England always ensure that it happens!

For a late lunch, we walked around to find something to eat nearby.  There aren’t many restaurants around Kelvin’s house.  It was cold and I felt drops on my head.  We went to Pho-89.  I got a shrimp pad see-ew which didn’t taste remotely like a pad see-ew.  Lil Dave got a banana pad thai while Jennifer ordered a chicken sukiyaki pho. 


The food was okay…nothing special….

We headed back through the rain to the house afterwards. Jen and I went through all our wedding photos (through all 9 wedding ceremonies) and picked the best ones for the wedding photo book we’re creating for our parents.  I can’t believe how many good pictures there are.  Can’t wait to see the finished book!

We chilled at the house for the afternoon using the internet. Still lots of planning to do for the rest of the honeymoons, so its good to get some down time to get all the admin parts of our honeymoons out of the way.

During the evening we decided to go and watch a movie. First though we looked for a restaurant…there wasn’t really much choice – the place wanted to go to closed at 9, and then we walked into the most depressing Pizza Hut in the world. It looked like the menu and décor had not been updated since the 80’s, and after the toothless old lady waitress came up to us, I decided that maybe it would be a good idea to find dinner someplace else. We ended up going to Silk Restaurant & Sushi Bar which is an Asian Fusion joint. I’m not sure what that term really this case though I think it was Asian food fused with crap food – to give a fusion of crap Asian food!

Jennifer and I shared a large hot sake.  Lil Dave wanted a banana sake, but he’s waaay too young to drink alcohol.  I got the shrimp yakisoba and Jennifer got shrimp pad see-ew.  Both dishes were average….and that’s being generous.

We went back to theater and watched the movie That’s My BoyBoth of us had very low expectations of this movie.  It was more a case of the best of a bad bunch – the only reason we saw this was because everything else sounded even worse. However it actually turned out to be quite good! Sounds a bit ‘wrong’ to admit that we watched an Adam Sandler movie and we enjoyed it!

After the movie, we walked back, still finding it amusing that it was 12.30am and not really dark out yet.


Sunny Solstice Market

I woke up at 10:30 am on June 23, 2012.  Jennifer woke up shortly at 11 am.  We headed out into Anchorage at noon.  It was a lovely sunny day. 

We walked to the downtown area, after getting lost quite a few times, taking a number of detours, and learning that there really arent that many taxis in Anchorage…especially when you want one due to the fact that you have walked miles and still have miles to go to get to your destination. We were hungry, so went to the F Street station which our couchsurfer had recommended to us. I got a tasty halibut sandwich while Jen got a crab sandwich.  We enjoyed our food with a sweet Riesling.  I noticed on the tourist map that there was a market going on.  I was disappointed that I didn’t read this early since we could have had a nice lunch there instead…..

After lunch, we started walking towards the market.  I saw a sign for the Downtown Summer Solstice Festival and Hero Games.  I thought we would check it out after the Anchorage Market & Festival.

The market was filled with many stalls selling food, jewelry, clothing, candles and soaps.  We saw a place selling salmon quesadillas. Jennifer thought that sounded really good.  I told her that we would come back later and have one…..not because necessarily we would be hungry later, but because you can never say no to a salmon quesadilas can you.

We walked to the Summer Solstice Festival. 


We saw many things like wood carving with chainsaws, a big sand box, a pool of water where kids could go kayaking, a puppet show, skateboarding, animals to pet and bouncy castles.  There was one Hero Game we came across.  Two teams were playing volleyball with water balloons.  Each team had a blanket. 


One team would serve the water balloon by throwing it up in the air with the blanket.  The other team would have to try to catch it.  If they dropped it, the other team would score.  It looks liked fun, but Jen and I would have rather had a great big water balloon fight with everybody.

We checked out the largest souvenir shop in Anchorage.  It’s definitely not as big as the largest souvenir shop in Las Vegas.  We didn’t get anything, but we’re going to come back to buy a ulu knife with a bowl for us to use at home.

It was time to walk back to the Anchorage Market & Festival.  Jen and I shared a delicious salmon quesadilla. 


We walked around checking out the stalls we missed last time.  I bought some peppered smoked salmon. 


There was lots of unique products being sold like fishing lure earrings, Alaskan nightlights made out of wood or hand painted clogs.  Jennifer bought a cool J scrabble tile zipper pull and banana earrings. 


Hopefully, Lil Dave doesn’t try to eat her earrings mistaking them for real bananas!

We were feeling pretty tired after that, so jumped in taxi and headed back to the couchsurfer’s house.

After using the internet for a bit, we headed out to the Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria which had been recommended to us by the couchsurfer and was also number one on Tripadvisor for restaurants in Vancouver.

The pizzas were supposedly meant to be the best in Alaska….We haven’t had many pizzas in Alaska (in fact we’ve had none) so we can’t vouch for the validity of that statement, but we do agree that they were very nice pizzas!


We got two small ones – both half and half. So four different flavors of pizza. Our favorite was the wild mushroom, and the roasted garlic one.


Kayaking Train

Hello, it’s Ivan here!  Jen, Lil Dave and I got up at 7 am on June 22, 2012.  We were surprised that there wasn’t any announcements in the room to disembark the ship. Usually on cruise ships, on the last day of departure, the moment the boat docks they start announcing in the rooms that everyone needs to clear out ASAP.

We headed up to the buffet for breakfast to get our last portion of free food (especially bananas for Lil Dave!). We were glad to see that the weather today was perfect – blue skies and very sunny. It was great news, especially as the afternoon/night beforehand had been very very foggy and cloudy.

We got our luggage from the room and got off the ship. It was an incredibly easy debarkation also. No silly immigration, and no long liens. We found a taxi driven by a man who looked like he weighed more than the actual taxi, and got taken to Kayak Adventures Worldwide for $5. 

Today, we were going on a half day kayaking trip on Resurrection Bay.  Our group consisted of four people and one monkey.  It was great to be in such a small group.  Our guide was a friendly guy named Zack.  

We piled onto the van with another group, an Indian family from California. 

Once at the beach, we suited up, had to listen to some safety rules (blah blah whatever, can we just get in the water already?!) and then we boarded our kayaks and headed off into the bay.  Zack even showed us how to paddle correctly which helped Jennifer out who always seems to have sore arms after kayaking for a few minutes (probably from doing it wrong!).


The views were simply out of this world. The water was calm…the mountains were covered in snow…it looked even better than any postcard could ever be.


Paddling around the bay was simply an incredible experience.

After a while we stopped at a shore and went for a walk along a beach.


We headed to a river where usually there would be lots of salmon, but either the salmon knew we were coming and made themselves scarce – or more likely its simply too early for salmon season right now (it’s around about July that they start to come by and say hello). We had a little picnic by the river, while continuing to be flabbergasted at the incredible views.

We then kayaked back, enjoying the slightly more wavy conditions now that the winds had picked up.

We left our bags at the kayak office (oh, aren’t we the trusting kind?) and went off to find some lunch. A bakery that offered free wifi also did the trick and we replenished the calories spent doing the kayaking by eating some black bean soup and vegetable lasagna. They also had some black pepper bread there that had been made incredibly and had way more black pepper than it was meant to, but we actually really liked it and was quite unusual.  Lil Dave had a banana soup and banana bread for dessert.

After making the most of the free wifi, we left the ‘Ranting Raven’ bakery and had a little walk around the town. Wow, what a place! From all around were views of snow covered mountains and the main street was full of family run old time stores. It was simply adorable. We wished we could have spent a few more days at the place. At the bottom of main street was the lake with those incredible views. 


I wish I booked a couple nights of Seward – I didn’t know it was such a charming little town.  But, I talked to the girl at the Kayak office and she said we were lucky because about 75%of the time it’s raining in Seward.

Even though we had a lot of bags and it was a mile to the train station, we decided to walk it, as it was downhill and the views just got better and better. We even had a guy stop and offer to give us a ride, which would NEVER happen in Vegas!

We were feely a little sleepy but didn’t want to sleep on the train as we heard the views were amazing, so after checking in at the train station, we popped to a little café to get an espresso to perk us up at the bit. That worked, and with a spring in our step we boarded the train and immediately knew it was going to be a memorable journey, just by the views that greeted us at the train station alone!


The views were simply gorgeous on the train ride.  Jennifer and I couldn’t believe just how beautiful it was. 


We took loads of pictures.  Jen and I drank sparkling wine and shared a salmon corn chowder while we enjoyed the lovely greenery and snow covered mountains pass us by. 


The train went through lots of tunnels as well.  There was an announcer telling us there was a waterfall passing by or a bear or an eagle flying above.  Sometimes the train would even stop, so we could take photos. 

For dinner, we had the salmon trio (salmon cakes, salmon dip on bread and smoked salmon) and a sockeye salmon with rice pilaf and green beans.  It was a delicious meal.

The train picked up 4 backpackers.  Later, Jen was sitting behind them and kept plugging her nose because they smelled.  They really needed a shower.  She wished she had a clothespin so she could plug up her nose effectively. 

This was the best train ride ever.  I don’t understand how the Skagway train is more famous than this train ride. 


The scenery is so amazing!  If you ever get a chance to come to Alaska, don’t miss the Seward to Anchorage train ride.  You will enjoy it immensely!


The train arrived in Anchorage at 10:30 pm.  The couchsurfer Kelvin we would be staying with us kindly picked us up from the train station.  We said hi to him and proceeded to the white tent to wait for our luggage.  It took a few minutes for the forklift to pull the luggage off the train and then place them under the white tent.  I thought we’d have to wait ages since the men were pulling random luggage off each crate.  Thank goodness, they went back to our crate and got our luggage out before the rest of the bags.

Kelvin drove us to his house.  He’s a 25 year old local.  We chatted to him about the train ride and our trip to Seward.  Once we got to his house nearby, we met his roommate which I can’t remember his name.  We chatted awhile with them about life, Alaska and traveling.  It’s so weird how the sun set at 11:40 pm – that even at midnight it was still so light (compared to what we’re used to). 

Jen and I were so exhausted and went to sleep around 1:30 am.

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