Thursday, 20 June 2013

Canada Hols - Fairbanks

On Wednesday morning we found an Organic Supermarket where we bought some food for the day. Sorting out our local bus tickets was interesting. $3 bought an all-day pass for me, but as Darryl is over 60 he was considered a 'senior' and had completely free rides! We walked down to the centre of town and along the Chena River (the rivers that are fed from glaciers here are very murky). There is a huge statue called the First Families Sculpture, which even had some family trees on the bronze plaques around it. We also visited the Antler Arch, and Cultural and Visitors Center, where we watched a movie about the Aurora, and they had quite a good museum collection. In the afternoon we took the local bus to the University of Alaska Museum of the North. Things are huge here...a huge block of jade, a huge chunk of copper metal, a huge brown bear, a mummified Steppe Bison called Blue Babe, gold, natural history and lots of indigenous collections. Alaska is currently undergoing a heat wave, with near record temperatures, and all the locals are complaining. The temperature today was 30oC which was quite pleasant for us, but they were all hot. We are being told that we were extremely lucky to see Denali without any clouds at all, as on a usual summer you can only see it poking through the clouds a few times, and generally it is completely hidden. Afterwards we went to Pioneer Park (similar to our Heritage Village), but which had the Alaskan Center for the Arts, a square dance hall, the Pioneer Air Museum (we didn't go in to this one), the Native Museum, a Train Museum (with a working train going round), a couple of children's playgrounds, mini-golf, the Sternwheeler Nenana, and lots of cottages shifted in with vendors selling their wares. We spoke to one, who did nice carvings. He was quite a character, and had a huge great dane. We finished off our visit at the Alaska Salmon Bake, which was all-you-can-eat Prime Rib Roast, Baked Salmon, fried cod, salads, desserts etc. We stayed the night at the Borealis Inn, which was basic but clean and reasonably quiet.

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