Juneau

Stopped for about 7 hours at Juneau and made a visit to the Mendenhall glacier and went Whale watching.

The Glacier like everything in Alaska is melting at a rapid rate, it is much smaller then my last visit to this beautiful area.

After taking a walk near the Glacier left the area to meet a boat that would take us to parts of the sea that are popular with Whales.

It took about 45 minutes before we all were given a great show of water being splashed through a Blowhole……. it is an amazing experience to be up close and personal to the largest creatures on the Planet.

At this point Scientists know very little about the language or behavior of any of the Whale species.The Humpback which are common in the Juneau area are really a mystery to modern science but we do know that they are in danger due to climate change.

Our guide has names for the Whales in the area she even named the one who enjoyed our company…….she was a real performer jumping out of the water and using her Blowhole a few times.

Mendenhall Glacier

If you ever get to Alaska do not miss the chance to get up close to these amazing creatures.

A Zen moment

Had a stop at DFW airport and decided to use a Priority Pass benefit at Minute Suites.

You get 1 hour in a small room with a desk and a sofa that can be opened to a bed.

When you had a 6 AM flight as I had earlier it is wonderful to have a quiet place to relax or even to actually get some sleep.

This establishment charges 40 USD an hour and 28 USD if you have Priorty Pass.

They were full when I arrived so after about 40 minutes was taken to my room.

While I did not have a quick sleep since I laughed to myself that if I did sleep it surely would be for a few hours which would make it a very expensive quick snooze….. I did have a Zen moment.

As I sat on the sofa and counted down the minutes left on my free stay I thought about the beauty of this haven in a busy Airport.

The gift of our very existence the need to savor every minute of our life.How grateful we should be to have the people we love and the simple enjoyment of having a few moments of solitute.

Every minute passing checking my watch as I adjusted my pillow gave me a deeper sense of time and our own mortality.

Travel helps us defy Space and Time those moments we visit new places and experience cultures and people so different then our own cities and towns helps make our trips a different use of our valuable time.

As the minutes of my stay came closer to my 60 minutes I not only

appreciated each moment more but realized that I and all of us have been given a certain amount of time and it is our job to use it in the most productive way.

Glacier Bay

Was on a Cruise with Holland America that left Vancouver after about 7 days we arrived at a beautiful area filled with not only many Glaciers but also many Whales and a variety of other local creatures.We traveled around this area for most of the day.

Did not plan on going on this Cruise but after checking the low prices only 3 weeks before departure could not resist to book.

It is a game of cat and mouse with the Cruise lines the earlier you book the more you pay but if you have the ability to Travel a short time before

departure you often can get a good deal even in high season.Of course the Summer in North America is very busy but many Cruise Lines move Ships to Alaska during this period and often they have extra Cabins.

When you do a booking at this time it can be a problem getting a good price on Airfare.That is why you need to start to accumulate Awards from not only Airlines but Hotels as well.I discuss this concept in earlier Posts it is in many ways like having an Investment Portfolio which allows you to have flexibility when you need to Travel on short notice.

I used Frequent Flyer miles to save money on Airfare but the cash price was really not that bad so it was difficult to decide if using miles was worthwhile.

This is a great area in Glacier Bay.
From my cabin a Glacier on each side.

Prague

The name is enough to begin to imagine the old city the romance the beauty of Europe without conflicts or religious wars.That time of course never existed but the culture and art still emanates from so many cities in Europe and never so beautifully as Prague.

I think planning is not necessary just pick a spot in any part of the city and just start walking, you will be rewarded at every turn.

You can start in the Old Town Square and just explore and you will discover a magical

Europe.

New York

In New York for a few days the weather was beautiful used Reward Points to stay at Grand Hyatt which is next to Grand Central Station and then stayed at the Intercontinental near Broadway.

By using Rewards points from Hyatt and IHG I paid for one night so the total for 4 nights cost me less then 500 USD

New York City is expensive so you need to learn about the various Rewards programs if you wish to visit without hurting your wallet.

I booked the Grand Hyatt so I could just walk out of the Hotel and grab a train on the Metro North to the Hudson Valley.I went to Beacon to visit the various Art Galleries in the area.

It is not a expensive trip for a journey of about 100 minutes it varies in price based on what time of day you travel.The price is between 23 to 45 USD

The trip alone is worthwhile since almost the entire journey is along the Hudson.

After I arrived back in New York I visited the High line and then Hudson Yards.

The High line is about 1 1/2 miles long and more then 30 feet above the sidewalk and is a fun experience.You can either visit downtown or visit Hudson Yards.

Flying near George Washington Bridge

Metro North near Beacon
The Track is very close to the Hudson
Metro North near Beacon
A beautiful train ride from Grand Central Station
Metro North to Beacon
From the High Line a view of Hudson Yards
Hudson Yards
A view from my room at Intercontinental Hotel
Flying over New York
Nice View from the Plane

Neuschwanstein Castle

You take the Train from the Main Train station in Munich……. the trip takes about 2 hours.The trip is pleasant not spectacular but a nice way to spend 2 hours.

When you arrive at Fussen the closest town to the Castle a Bus is waiting for you outside the Train station it is about 3 USD but included if you have a Bayern ticket.The ticket can be purchased online or at the train station it is about 28USD and can be used anywhere in Bavaria including Saltzburg for almost 24 hours for any type of public transportation.I used the Bayern ticket to go on the U-Bahn to the

Munich central station………. it was used to go to Fussen and then showed it to the driver for the 30 minute ride to the Castle.You arrive at the bottom of a hill to get to the Castle which has its own shuttle to the top……. are you tired yet ? This is a long trip and a lot of people are making a buck from this Castle especially Disney.

But you get your reward when you start to get a view of the Castle and of course you pay again if you decide to go into the Castle.Although the views of the area are nice I think just walking around the area and getting a view of the Castle and the area is more interesting.

My suggestion is to arrive early and try to come in off season.Even though it was late April it was still busy.Also it was about 45 F or 7 C not a Beach day.

How to get a Boarding Pass to Mars.

This is an article from The Verge………………

Now’s the time to get your name on NASA’s next mission to Mars

It’s that time of the year again, when NASA gives you the opportunity to “ship” your name to another celestial body. This time, the destination is Mars, and the shipping service is NASA’s future Mars 2020 rover, which will be headed to the Red Planet in — you guessed it — 2020.

The rover’s primary mission is to get us closer to answering that fundamental question: did Mars ever host alien life? The robot is equipped with tools and instruments that will help scientists figure out if the planet may have hosted life in the past. On top of that, the rover will also be drilling and collecting samples of Martian dirt. It’ll then leave those samples on the ground, where they could potentially be picked up someday by another spacecraft and brought back to Earth.

And while the Mars 2020 rover is doing all of this, your name could be along for the ride. If you send in your name sometime before September 30th, NASA engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory will etch it onto a silicon chip with an electron beam, and then the rover will carry it on its journey. The names are going to be pretty teeny, though — about one-thousandth the width of a human hair. That’s small enough so that more than a million names can be included on a single chip as big as a dime — but big enough for any Martian microbes to read (only kidding… Martians can’t read).

NASA has provided this opportunity for members of the public before, when it landed the InSight lander on Mars in 2018 or when it sent the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to the asteroid Bennu. And just like any seasoned traveler, you’ll get a boarding pass and “frequent flyer” miles. Seeing as how the InSight travelers got about 300 million miles from their trip, the Mars 2020 folks are poised to get some serious points, too. Unfortunately, it seems doubtful Delta airlines will accept them.