If you haven’t been to Alaska, you probably envision something wild, cold, and forbidding maybe even unwelcoming. The truth is that there are parts of it that are like that; however, the Alaska that most tourists see isn’t like that at all. The city of Anchorage is a vibrant, active city that has maintained their downtown as a core of not only business but also fun. From our hotel room, you can see the vista of wild, rugged mountains covered with snow blinding you with their beauty while in the streets below children are playing in a grass- covered park.
You can find all the usual chain restaurants but we opt for one that the locals use. Snow City cafe is a place I’ve read about in books but have never been to. Walking into its welcoming warmth, people are chatting while waiting for their turn to eat. Walls are covered in what looks like paintings but on closer examination reveal themselves to be quilted portraits of people the artist knew. This is a diner in every sense of the word until you taste the food. A square of hash browns becomes a gastronomic delight, brown and crispy on the exterior with a creamy seasoned center. I could happily eat a plate of just those, but to honest, the Kodiak Benedict sat waiting. A perfectly poached egg sitting atop a round of crab cake that was all crab, delicious, fresh crab that made you want to weep with joy that anything could be that good. I was torn between choosing that or the reindeer sausage breakfast and it’s obvious the right choice was made.
We then walked over a few streets to the street market that Anchorage offers each summer on their opening day.We are lucky enough to be able to visit during the off season when there are fewer tourists and RVs. Most of the people there are Alaska residents which reminds me that this unusually cool May weather is warm weather for them. We have jackets over long sleeve shirts to their short sleeved shirts. We are tourists; they are not. Everyone here embraces the greater outdoors and many are creative naturalists. There is an abundance of artisans and their wares. They make items that one can’t find in the lower 48 and the wares are beautiful. When one is dependent upon oneself and has time to devote to working with your ideas, your hands, and the resources around you, beauty thrives. The people of Alaska are real people who aren’t focused on themselves. It seems, as Doris says, that people who have to deal with the harsher natural elements tend to cooperate more and depend on each other. They treat everyone around them with more respect, trust, and openness which they have all earned. These are people who deserve our respect.