Day 11. Monday 29 August.
A ‘free’ day in Anchorage. Started with another search for somewhere nice to have breakfast, but had to settle for a boulangerie (hmm!) which was adequate. Needless to say, after we departed we came across about four other places that looked like just what we’d have preferred! Another consequence was that T found a wool shop, visited later in the day, that quite adequately consumed a good hour. Yarn is not “grown” in Alaska apart from qiviut, which at $90 per one ounce skein, is a bit beyond T’s budget.
Having sorted out a week’s worth of laundry, off to the RV park to get acquainted with the intricacies of our home for the next five weeks or so. Starting to get excited, and although it’s bigger than the dearly departed Gloria, not frighteningly so. And it does have all mod cons, with enough water and electricity capacity to keep D happy.
The Museum of Anchorage has a terrific display of Indigenous culture, with stories and artefacts of the major nations. There is a very strong sense of cultural identity and revival. Anchorage is a very multicultural town, with 90 living languages, but schooling is done in English.
Took the one hour trolley tour: of the city, complete with snappy patter and what we’d call dad jokes, so D was right at home. Noted again the number of small single -engine aircraft, and heard yet another version of the statistic about how many Alaskans per head of population are pilots: it has been, variously, 1 per 95, 75, 70 and 60. It is very easy to believe when you see the number of aircraft parked like motor vehicles – yesterday we saw one community that had the planes parked in their back or front yards. Little planes are the only viable means of transport in a terrain of ice. They can have floats, rubber tyres or skis attached to their “feet”. The sound of small planes is as constant as the train horn.
The impact of the 1964 earthquake is referred to constantly and much of the town was destroyed. The re-build is square, concrete, ugly but functional, with no street appeal and the usual urban social issues.
Reindeer sausages, ice cream, biscuits, (scones, really) and every dish with a huge serving of fries are the constant food offerings. Because of the short growing season and long hours of sunlight during the growing months, vegetables such as cabbage, zucchini, beetroot are ginormous. This explains what T had noticed at the Saturday market. It will be so good to get our own real food happening from tomorrow!