Sitka is a very beautiful town - city, actually, as there is a Russian Orthodox Cathedral here, built of wood and full of shiny icons. It is surrounded by snow capped mountains and the Sitka Sound full of small, wooded islands. There are lots of bald eagles. We saw 20 in one tree alone. Sitka was the capital of Alaska when the Russians 'owned' it (they sold it to the US in 1867 for $7.2. This caused Alaska to be known as "Seward's icebox" by those who didn't think that this made much sense. Then came the gold, oil and now tourism).
There are some good small museums in Sitka with lots of photos and memorabilia of past times and a great museum full of native clan stuff, including a diving suit made of animal skins and some wooden goggles. We did a lot of "at least we're inside where it isn't raining" activities here. There are also many souvenir shops (affectionately referred to as 'tutt' shops) each of which Billie visited 4 times during our stay. Yes it rains a lot in Sitka too.... People keep telling us that this much rain is unusual, but if that's true why are the wooded areas called rainforests? There are, of course, also lots of totem poles dotted around. And very nice they look too.
We went for a great walk to up the Indian River to see a water fall. This included walking over snow. It didn't seem cold enough for snow to still be on the ground - but we trod on it, felt it and even threw it around a bit. Yup, it was snow alright.
There doesn't seem to be a shortage of nice tea rooms in Alaska - but we keep having to check them out just in case. One advantage of Sitka is that it does not get cruise ships docking so is not over-run by boat people. Maybe that is why it feels more like a real place and less like the Truman Show.
(click thumbnails for a larger picture) |
Jan crossing a bridge over Indian River
Sitka's Greek Orthodox church