Anchorage, Alaska – Part 1 - Orlando / Florida Guide
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As Alaska’s biggest city Anchorage is just over 100 years old. I hope this series of articles can help you plan a city stay and then take an expedition into the Frontier State.
It is well worth getting to know the area before you arrive so that you can plan your trip. It is surprising to think that this growing, and vibrant city which is home to nearly half of Alaska’s population was founded just over 100 years ago. It started as a survey camp for the railroad and within a few months, it had grown to a tented city of workers, settlers and hangers-on.
It has overcome large setbacks, such as the 1964 Good Friday earthquake which was the second largest ever recorded. Anchorage continues to attract new migrants, who are tempted to the city by the state’s lack of income tax thanks to its oil revenues. In fact, rather tax the population the state government gives Alaskans an annual dividend from its income. Seasonal workers also descend on the city to make the most out of the summer influx of visitors.
Anchorage sprawls over a huge area, yet the downtown is compact and walkable. Sophisticated restaurants specialise in fish and seafood. At Ship Creek, a short walk from the centre, locals fish for king salmon to fill their freezers. Living with wildlife goes with the territory. At least 1, 500 moose and dozens of bears live within Anchorage’s environs. In winter in particular, it is not unusual for moose to wander downtown; wolves are sometimes spotted on the walking and cycling trails and beluga whales live in Cook Inlet. This is a frontier city where you are always conscious of the natural world. On a clear day, McKinley can be seen in the distance. In summer, it can be light for over 20 hours a day, giving plenty of time to explore Chugach State Park, to cycle the Coastal Trail along Cook Inlet or simply to enjoy the sun eventually going down over the first-rate scenery that enfolds the city.
If you plan to fly into the airport in summer then try to sit on the right side of the plane as you fly in. If you do this then the flight paths will mean that you should get really good views of Mt McKinley. International flights arrive at the North Terminal while the South, Domestic, Terminal is much larger and has a wider range of facilities. , Icelandair flies to Anchorage twice a week from several UK airports via Reykjavík. Returns cost around £700 with a journey time from 11. 5 hours.
Once you arrive then getting into town is easy. The airport is 8km south of downtown and there are plenty of taxis with the fare to the centre of around $20. The People Mover bus is an excellent and cheap service that includes the airport on its Spenard 7 route and a ticket costs $3 having the correct money for this option is essential.
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