We went to Alaska this summer. It’s already been 3 months since our trip and I’m not sure where time has gone.
It was incredible; every view was breathtaking and I felt like I was on a different planet. Being enveloped by so much vast, empty space that is filled with so many gorgeous plants and animals, while being surrounded by such enormous mountains was an incredibly humbling experience.
On one of our last days, we drove down Glen Highway, through the Matanuska Valley to climb around and explore the Matanuska Glacier. I took this panorama of the Matanuska River on our way there. I hope it gives you a glimpse of Alaska’s beauty, which I hope to see again someday.
Before venturing into the frigid water, we finished hiking around the aqueduct and exploring the nearby trails. Finding ourselves hungry, we wandered over to the small café near the aqueduct and ate a quick lunch of jambon beurre, or a ham and butter sandwich. It sounded like a strange combination, but given the popularity and simplicity, I wanted to try it. It turned out to be a delicious match; what’s not to love about nicely cured ham served with European butter on a perfectly baked French baguette? I ate way too quickly and had to guzzle down some water to help move it down my dry throat.
After lunch, Jesse went and changed into his bathing suit so he could get in the water. I felt like lying in the sun and digesting the food in my belly, so I just stayed in my dress for the time being until Jesse could convince me otherwise, which didn’t take long; I waded through the water with him and once we found a quiet, less populated spot, I was eager to join.
There were a bunch of kayakers paddling down the river, having rented their kayaks from the business upstream (with more time and planning, I would have loved to do this), and the part of the river we settled down at had just the right curvature, depth, and rock placement, that the river got a little faster and more ripply there, like small rapids. When the kayaks hit that spot, they would shoot forward through the patch and, if the paddlers weren’t prepared for it, they would lose control of their kayaks and coast up/breech onto the rock shore next to us. It was a lot of fun to watch, and I wish I had taken a video of it. One time it happened to some English girls. They were laughing at the circumstances, and as they hopped out to push the kayak back into the water, their dad and brother sailed right on past them without a problem. The dad taunted them and shouted, “You know, you actually have to point the boat in the direction that you want it to go!” It was fun, and I couldn’t help but imagine that my dad and brother would have said exactly the same thing to me had we been in their place.
The water was so cold! I forced myself to dip in completely, though I couldn’t stay in for too long. It was pretty refreshing though, especially after all the hectic-ness of the last few days. It was also a little scary to try avoiding all the haphazard kayakers, and I almost got hit a few times. I enjoyed people watching and listening to all the different languages present at this UNESCO World Heritage site. Language is such a beautiful thing.
At about 16:30. we left our sunpatches to change clothes and then hike up the long way back to the museum that would take us past the remains of the ground level aqueduct. It was so hot at this point in the day, but it was fun to walk along the trail right next to the rubble. We passed some backpackers who tried asking for directions to the main aqueduct in broken English. Jesse was able to show them the way via his phone GPS, while I stood and stared in wonder at the small child that sat on top of one of the packs in a little kid carrier. The child looked pretty comfortable, and he even had a small sunshade over him, protecting him from the harsh afternoon sun.
We found our way back to the museum and quickly zipped through the rest of it before settling down to watch a film about the aqueduct. The film was lovely – it had no subtitles, but it didn’t need them as it crossed language barriers due to the way it was shot and edited. After one last pit stop, we headed back to the bus stop. We tried to confirm with the lady sitting next to us that we were at the right place to be picked up for a trip back to Avignon, but she did not speak English. Instead, she pointed us to the Korean? girl sitting next to her, stating that she spoke English. The girl was glad to help us. We waited quietly together until the bus, driven by the same man, careened up. Jesse and I didn’t realize how tired we were until we were on the bus on the way back to Avignon. I was physically fatigued and noticeably less curious about the passing scenery on the return trip to Avignon than I was on the way out.
When we got into Avignon, most shops were closed yet again. Wedid pass by a small, open air chain café right before they were closing. To clear out the dahy’s inventory, they were offering a buy one, get one combo, so Jesse and I got a tuna sandwich, a blue cheese sandwich, two carbonated waters, and two fruit tartes (a rhubarb and an apple). I was mildly amused by the fact that the girl getting our food wasn’t wearing any gloves and continued to touch everything, even just when she was pointing. We wandered over to a nearby courtyard of an old church and sat on a bench to eat our food and relax. The temperature was perfect, and the courtyard was lovely. I had been a little concerned about the blue cheese sandwich, but either my taste buds have changed, or French blue cheese just tastes a lot better than the stuff sold in the States. Actually, I had been a little concerned about the tuna sandwich also, as it had been about 9 years since I’d last eaten one. Turns out, they were both delicious. The tartes were amazing too. I preferred the rhubarb as I like tangy things, but Jesse liked the apple as he prefers straight up sweet. After finishing up, we headed back to the hotel to settle down (*coughfacebookcough*) and pack our bags so we could get out early to catch the train to Orange.