Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Alaska: Seward

This is the not-so-great part about our stay in Seward, Alaska: The Van Gilder Hotel. It is historic and pretty in an eccentric European way, but I would rather sleep in a really sterile Holiday Inn Express, or better yet, a super-expensive Marriott. People cook in the communal kitchen and the reek of fried onions reaches all the way to the third floor, where we have been staying. The "extra" beds for the children are tiny Murphy units that fold out over the bureaus. It is VERY crowded in our small rooms. The first night, we had to use a communal toilet. I have become SUCH a princess in my middle age. I am trying to remember when I became fussy about hotels, and I think it dates to a story I edited about five years ago, which I do not recommend you read if you are at all suggestible.
However, a 90-second stroll out the shabby front door of the Van Gilder and you are facing views like this one. There are snow-capped mountains and glaciers everywhere you turn, and sea otters and seals flopping around in the bay. It is a little austere, cold and marine for me -- I prefer Denali and its meadows and lakes -- but the Kenai Peninsula is undeniably beautiful. Yesterday, we walked to a glacier. Today, we're heading out on an all-day cruise that will take us to more remote glaciers and fjords. 

As for the cuisine. . . I had a caribou medallion for breakfast yesterday. It was delicious! This morning: elk.


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