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Admittedly, there is not a whole lot to do in Barrow. The real joy was taking in the sights, sounds, and extreme cultural differences of this isolated Alaskan city.
After a 30 hour journey on Alaska Airlines, my 737-400 Combi touched down at Wiley Post – Will Rogers Memorial Airport. Thankfully there was no other plane at our gate. The one room airport was actually quite busy as several members of town all met to meet their loved ones upon arrival. There is no need to make any call to friends or family for a pickup when you arrive. The arriving jets are easily audible from any point in town. This was also useful upon leaving. You never have to leave your home for the airport until you hear the jets arrive on one of the 3 inbound flights. Forget text notifications, this is real-time flight information!
Miles and Points won’t help you in terms of lodging here on top of the world. The only two real options are the Top of the World Hotel and the King Eider Inn. Both were running about 200 dollars per night so we went with the King Eider Inn as it is literally across the street from the airport and my parents were arriving on an earlier flight. Little did I know upon stepping off the flight, there were several taxis waiting outside the airport for hire! The entire trip they were driving around picking up and dropping off people in this tiny isolated city. I can’t quite wrap my head around that one!
St Regis Barrow…errr King Eider Inn
The hotel itself had a lodge feel and was charming and nice. It was by no means fancy but I believe most would find this hotel more than satisfactory. I loved how they made everybody take their shoes off in the lobby and provided slippers. I had no complaints other than they are adamant that you do not consume alcohol in your own room and make you sign promising you won’t.
We were only there for about 24 hours so we scheduled a tour through the other lodging option, Top of the World Hotel. A local Inupiat Eskimo picked us up and drove us around for a half day. He took us to Point Barrow, the northernmost point in the United States, the famous Pepe’s North of the Border for tacos and to meet Fran Tate, and all the interesting landmarks around town. While most of the major sights in town are walkable, having a local take you around is really the best way to get a feel for Barrow .
Top of the World sign
Tacos on the Tundra
Top of the World Bridge
The highlight of the tour, and trip itself, will be discussed in my final post.