Herself and I had a too abbreviated experience in Vancouver, owing to a increasingly typical SNAFU on the part of United Airlines — %&#$!%, United! — which left us in Chicago for, oh, some 24 hours longer than we’d planned. (Chicago, you know I love you, but you’re not Vancouver, B.C. and the airport hotel where we lay our weary heads was a damn long ways from being the 5-star Sutton Place Hotel which we’d already paid for in Vancouver.) In our brief whistle-stop visit I didn’t get much opportunity to dig in to the Vancouver coffee scene save for a stop at Cafe Artigiano, which — despite the fact that the Piccolo family are no longer its stewards — is cranking out some fine coffee. Their cappuccino makes my top 10.


At the moment, I’m saddled up in the Explorations coffee lounge aboard the Ms Volendam, steaming north to Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park by way of Juneau while an extremely versatile string quartet plays Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Yes, Toto, we’re not in Kansas, anymore.

Alaskan Inside Passage Cruise

Alaskan Inside Passage Cruise

We made way from Vancouver at a pretty good clip last night to catch the tide; the narrows around Vancouver apparently can’t be sailed in a big ship if the tide’s too low, and so our captain put the screws to it. Er, literally, I guess.

This is my first cruise so I don’t have much reference on what’s a good ship and what’s not… aside from the essentials like, a good ship is one that doesn’t sink. (By that token, we’re ship-shape thus far.) There’s lots of wood, and lots of glass, and water, water everywhere.

Tomorrow, there will be glaciers.

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