Juneau is another typical Alaskan port town. It may be the nation’s only state capital that is accessible only by boat or plane. “The highway” in Juneau goes some six miles south of town and dead ends in a forest. To the north, it goes nearly 40 miles, before it dead ends.
Like all the cruise port towns, the downtown areas just adjacent to the port have been largely overrun by the tourist-driven trinket shops — especially diamonds! How so many diamond shops can survive in competition with each other, is beyond me. And why someone would spend thousands of dollars for an essentially luxury cruise vacation to an exotic place, just to come ashore and shop–either for diamonds or the various other knick-knacks and chachkis, is completely beyond comprehension to me.
But once you get beyond that, there are some local attractions. Downtown, the Red Dog Saloon is a period-saloon with sawdust on the floors and period music that is a magnet for unsuspecting tourists. We looked inside. And we passed, in favor of a more relaxed, quiet drink on our balcony back on the ship. But it is photogenic.
Prior to walking downtown, we took the Roberts Tramway up to the restaurant and had lunch. The salmon club sandwich was pretty good, as was the local microbrew. The views from the mountain and the tram are worth the exorbitant tourist charge to ride the tram. The shot of Juneau, with the Gastineau Channel and Auke Bay in the background, is quintessential Juneau, and quintessential Alaska.