Skagway was once the largest city in Alaska due to the presence of prospective miners passing through this town to get to the Klondike gold rush in the Yukon Territory in Canada in 1896 – 1899. Remnants of its mining past are still preserved to this day as this town mostly relies on tourism for its economy.
Check out the Red Onion Saloon for a colorful history of Skagway’s once infamous bordello. You can’t have hordes of tired, hungry and drunk men with no entertainment, can you? I will leave this part all to your vivid imaginations folks and let the ghosts of the ladies past humor you.
It is also interesting to note that this town doubles in population during the busy summer tourist season, with the majority of the tourists coming in from cruise ships.
As for our glass blowing experience, I have no idea why it was being offered as one of the cruise ship’s excursions/activities in Skagway, but because I didn’t want to go on a long train ride, I chose this one. Plus, I have always wanted to try my hand at glass blowing.
The hubby had no choice but to come with me, poor thing. The rest of our friends went on a half day tour of the Yukon and White Pass railroads. I also really wanted some alone time with him too after a couple of days of group activities.
At first I thought he would be bored, but eventually, his interest picked up as I signed us up for an actual class where we get to participate in making our own glass balls.
First of all, you pick the design you want. There are several to chose from with different colors, plain or mixed, you can even chose to have some gold glitters embedded in it. Then you chose what kind of glass ball you like, paperweight or ornament.
He chose the paperweight while I chose the ornament.
The steel rods (for lack of a better descriptive word) with molten hot glass on its tips should by then be already piping hot as they lay partially inside a furnace.
After which you get one hot rod (HOT!) and dip it in glass splinters of the color of your choosing. The next steps involve a lot of twirling, blowing and heating until you get the desired size, shape and design.
We helped twirl the rod inside the furnace, picked/tweezed on the hot glass to create the designs we selected, stuck the rod back to the furnace and then in the end, blew out enough oxygen – till you turn blue – (no, that was just me) to create that bubble.
The finished product is super hot that the master glass blower as you can see has to wear super thick gloves. He then somehow manages to strike a pose for the camera!
Here are our “works of art.” Notice my ornament is smaller than my hubby’s. This was because I didn’t have enough air in me to blow to make a bigger bubble. Need to do more breathing exercises, girl!
But, we got some pretty unique souvenirs, one that we helped create.
Have you tried making your own souvenirs?