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Are there any bears in Alaska???

May 15th, 2008

In Sept of 2007 I finally got to make a dream come true and go to Alaska. It has been a dream of mine for 10 years or so. A good friend of mine was sent to LA for a project and was chatting with me one night. We both realized we needed a vacation (or marry a rich husband instead…). The Jewish holidays were approaching and i had many unused vacation days so the question was - where should I go? She asked me to come visit her in LA. Yeah, right. Like that was going to happen… I replied that if I return to the States I rather combine it with a trip to a place a have not seen yet’ like Hawaii or Alaska. I told my friend that since we only had a week or so, a cruise to Alaska was a much more reasonable idea. Much to my surprise she said “ok, then let’s go to Alaska”. only problem was - it was the end of August, about 2 seconds before cruise season in Alaska ends. And the cruise lines weren’t exactly waiting for us… I turned to our cruise desk asking for help. It was probably one of the better jokes they heard. But, as always, they proved to be he best team around. And so, I received a call from Kerri saying “I found you a cabin! It’s an inside cabin on the 2nd deck and you must get back to me in 2 hours and pay in full!”. Well. What can I say. it was like winning the lottery. Of course I booked it. And paid in full :-) A week later I was headed to Seattle, where the Royal Caribbean Cruise departed from, one of my favorite cities in the USA.

The 6 night cruise on the “Voyager of the Seas” took off the next day to Alaska - where the bears roam free. Well, that’s what I thought till then anyway. Alaska was way more beautiful than what I expected. A 10 year wait is a long time and I was afraid I’d be disappointed with what I see. But on the contrary. I fell in love with that State. We got to see Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm Fjord, Prince Rupert and even were lucky enough to enjoy a full inside passage thanks to the amazing weather. However, one thing we did not see was bears.

Alaska Bear

I went to Alaska thinking I’ll see loads of bears. Hundreds of them. Thousands of them. Hundreds of thousands of them… Well, we saw zero. Not even one. Not even a baby one. Not even a teddy bear one. We went through training of “how to react if you see a bear”, getting tips of clapping hands and walking slowly backwards. Yeah, right. Like I was going to stand there and act like the bear is actually a bambi, or a rabbit, or a flower, and try to remember all of those wonderful tips I learned. Nope. I was going to run away as far and as fast as I could. That is, if i saw a bear. Well, I obviously didn’t. Which is why I will go back to Alaska. There are other reasons, too. The the glaciers, the mountains, the people… There’s so much to see and do in Alaska. I hope you will get to go there too.

Oh, we did see whales. Humpback whales, lots and lots of them…

esternberg Destinations, Travel , ,

The Ducks of the Peabody Hotel Orlando

March 18th, 2008

Here goes the story about the lovely little ducks at the Peabody Hotel Orlando, FL. And let me tell you, if I wasn’t there for myself, I would not have believed it…I just came back from a week long tour of Orlando and New York City, along with a group of travel agency managers, who received this trip as a reward for their outstanding achievements in 2007. Our trip included a 5 night stay at the 5 Star Peabody Hotel, located on I-Drive in sunny Orlando, FL.

During this busy week we managed to visit Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Sea World (can’t get enough of Shamu!), caused both Orlando outlet malls to restock their stores, participated in 2 dinner shows - The Pirate Dinner Adventure and Medieval Times, took a tour of 6 different hotels located in town, drove the transportation company crazy with our endless list of changes, and much more (too tired to remember at this point…). But the highlight of our stay in Peabody Hotel Orlando was without a doubt the march of the ducks at the Peabody Hotel. For those of you who don’t know, the symbol of the Peabody Hotels (there’s one in Memphis, TN and another one in Little Rock, AR) are the ducks. And the story behind it? Well, that’s for another blog…

When we arrived at the Peabody Hotel we saw ducks in the small pond located in the hotel lobby. We thought it was weird but were too tired to think about it. After all, the door of the Delta airplane did not open for more than 10 minutes after landing in Orlando Int’l airport… I guess we were lacking oxygen for the next 24 hours… so we weren’t paying much attention to the ducks. However, the next day, upon return to the hotel in the early afternoon, we saw a red carpet in one of the many Peabody Hotel elevators and a sign saying that this elevator is reserved for the ducks. Hmmm… Still unsure of what was going on or if we were on candid camera, we went upstairs to change our clothes for our next event. When we came back downstairs, we happened to take that same elevator. And guess what? there were little foot steps of ducks on that very same red carpet… wet foot steps… as if they left the pond and went upstairs to their room for an early afternoon nap. What can I say? I know were still under the lack-of-oxygen syndrome but still - I wish I had a camera to seize the moment. I do remember laughing out loud. Very loud. So, if you ever happen to stop by the Peabody Hotel Orlando, make sure to ask when the march of the ducks takes place. It’s another Orlando sight you sure don’t want to miss!

Peabody Hotel Orlando Ducks

esternberg Hotels, Travel