Thursday, March 10, 2016

Sitka, Alaska


When I found out I was going to Alaska, the first place that was on my wish list to see  was Sitka.  Exoticly different little Sitka with all it's Russian onion dome buildings and it's Russian name and where the Alaska Purchase was signed by William Seward in 1867. So you'll understand my smidge of disappointment when, after a four- hour ferry ride past lush forests of pine trees and a tricky-to-navigate channel and then a school bus ride from the ferry to town, I found that there were only two buildings of Russian influence. And only one, St. Michael's Church, was of typical Russian architecture (the other being the yellow Russian bishop's house) I was even wrong about the word Sitka - it's not Russian but rather Tlingit, combining Shee and Atika meaning "on the outside of Shee (the island of which the city sits) But let's be clear here - it wasn't Sitka's fault but instead my own. I hadn't done much prior research and was basing my ideas all on just a few pictures I had seen. 









So instead of finding a miniature Moscow in Alaska I found a town uniquely it's own.  And it  became the place where I did one of the coolest things I've ever done - kayak Sitka Sound. I learned about the people who came to visit Sitka, fell in love with it and never left. And those who buy one of the small islands in the sound and live off-grid. I learned that the reason that there aren't many fish items on local menus is that the fisherman get tired of it - they prefer to go out for a steak or a burger. And we went out for burgers with our kayaking guide and some first responders- and really learned about the people of a place.









And I visited Sitka National Historical Park with it's beautiful surrounding scenery and it's totem poles by the Tlingit people. And the clearing where the actual battle for control of Sitka took place between the Tlingit and the Russians. And it was one of the most interesting historical parks I've been to.



















So keep an open mind. Sometimes you'll find the most interesting of places when you're looking for something else. 



How about you? Have you been someplace that surprised - or disappointed you?


I'm linking up! Please visit: Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, Weekend Wanderlust at A Brit and A Southerner, The Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond and Weekend Travel Inspiration at Malaysian Meanders!











13 comments:

  1. Sitka turned out to be a bit of a shock/surprise. It all turned out well in the end. Phew. It looks like an amazing place by the way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really did enjoy it - it was just one of those places that I had a really different picture in my mind about. Got over it quickly though and really loved the history of it. Thanks for stopping by Jan!

      Delete
  2. Yes, Sitka is also on our list, and it doesn't look as if it will disappoint at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I definitely recommend it! After my initial few seconds of surprise, I really enjoyed our visit here. Thanks for visiting!

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Go! It's an incredibly beautiful state! Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  4. How beautiful! I've been in Alaska last summer for the first time, but didn't make it to Sitka. I love those totem poles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks agala! And thanks for visiting!

      Delete
  5. That always happened to me whenever I traveled too - ending up somewhere totally unexpected. For the most part, it was exciting and even memorable. Thanks for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I need to put that positive spin on it more often - or learn to manage my expectations better. But Sitka did turn out to be very memorable. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  6. I would love to visit Alaska someday!!
    To be honest, I didn't even know that Russia had such an influence in Alaska, but of course, it makes sense :D
    Great photos!
    #TheWeeklyPostcard

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! And I hope you make it someday - it's beautiful! And thanks for visiting!

      Delete
  7. We spent three nights in Sitka last summer and just loved it. It may not be Russian any more but it is unique. The old Russian cemetery was really interesting with it's Orthodox crosses.

    ReplyDelete