Alaska Railroad & Talkeetna

Welcome to the second installment of the Bucket List: Alaska series. If you missed the first post, about our introduction to Alaska in Anchorage, you can go back and read that here.

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Dataversary fun

If you’ve visited this blog more than once or twice, you may be aware that the Hubs and I like to celebrate anniversaries. We have enjoyed our “dating anniversaries” for many years, a number of times in San Antonio, where we met, and this year was no different! Except this time I’ve coined a new corny term!

Late April is the 10-day party in San Antonio known as Fiesta, so of course we chose it as the kickoff to our RV trip this spring. It’s not a coincidence that our relationship started during Fiesta 22 years ago, so we decided to bring it full circle, back to “Night In Old San Antonio” or NIOSA, to mark the beginning of our lives together!

A quick look back; I lived in San Antonio for 11 years, beginning in 1984, and met Jerry through a mutual friend, in 1994. He was working at his company’s HQ for a two year period, before returning to Atlanta. We actually double dated once with our (then) respective others then lost touch.

April of 1995 found us both at NIOSA, which is a celebration of all the cultures, foods, and music that make up San Antonio’s special magic. We ran into each other at the German pavilion, affectionately known as Sauer Kraut Bend, and we’ve been together ever since. ❤

This year, we decided we had to brave the last, and craziest, night at NIOSA on our dating anniversary, Friday, April 28th!

On arrival, with no crowds yet, we were able to buy our cascarones and beers with ease. The Fiesta tradition of cascarones is a big part of the fun! They are colorful egg shells filled with confetti and sealed again with thin paper, and then cracked over the heads of friends and loved ones. Always amusing to find it all over your floor the next morning!

Not our floor, but you get the idea!

We went straight to Sauer Kraut Bend to commemorate our special date before dark and found some cheerful partiers who were more than happy to snap a couple photos for us.

The Kiss – by popular demand

Following our sentimental photo op 💕 we headed for our favorite NIOSA treat. But before we get to that, let me share another Fiesta tradition, incredible HATS!

And the wearers are happy to pose!

Some are a mystery 😉

And others state their purpose 🎈

But all are really fun! 🎉

Anyway, back to our favorite NIOSA food. Even on a less busy night, the lines are epic, so we steeled ourselves for a wait…fortunately there are beer booths very close by!

Picture, if you will, 8 to 10 lines across, with 30 or more people in each line, constantly moving and jockeying for position. All in good fun of course!

The line behind us, about midway to the prize

The purple wall that says “Mr Chicken” is the goal

And…Success! Mr Chicken sells fried chicken breast on a stick, with a giant jalapeno to complement the flavor! You simply have to try it! 🌶

So, having sated our chicken craving, we wound our way through several cultural “regions” with fun names like Froggy Bottoms, Irish Flats, and South of the Border, back to (you guessed it) Sauer Kraut Bend!

Inside the German pavilion is a riot of music, food, beer and dancing, from cloggers to the chicken dance.

The Oompah band

Impressive clogging!

There is a rumor that someone in our party was chicken dancing, but internet is poor so video will have to wait. 😁

A wonderful time was had, anniversary was celebrated, and this is our “after” pic!

Only a little worse for wear!

I will leave you with a photo that really shows the Fiesta spirit in San Antonio, the Tower Life building in colorful splendor.

Viva Fiesta! 🎉🎉🎉