Longyearbyen– the capital of Svalbard, has over 1.8 thousand. inhabitants.Hard coal mining centre, airport, tourism centre.
Spitsbergen– the largest island of Norway, located in the Svalbard archipelago, in the Arctic Sea.
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“I dream of flying to Spitsbergen…”– I have been saying these words quite often for some time now. In response, I heard “It’s cold there”, “What to see there”, “You’re crazy”, “It’s better to fly to Thailand”. But subconsciously I felt that I couldn’t take any other direction now. Everywhere – on the Internet, newspapers, television, themes of the beautiful Arctic were imposing themselves – snow, ice, cold, pristine white …
Someone once told me that a goal is a dream with a deadline, so I started taking small steps. First of all, a travel companion – together, it’s more fun, the cost of accommodation is lower.
One hot day, during a conversation with a friend about our travels in Scandinavia, I slipped out my recently beloved phrase “I dream of flying to Spitsbergen…” – a moment of silence and this time the answer was different: “Combine a trip and we are flying – in winter of course.” I couldn’t believe it… There is someone who is as obsessed with the Arctic, cold and ice as me!
And so, after a month of daily browsing of airline websites, tickets were purchased … I was happy as a child! In the end, the three of us – me and two men – experienced something that will never be forgotten.
Standing in front of the airport in Oslo, we knew that the last time we saw the sun above the horizon. Yes, in Longyearbyen the polar night lasted until February 14. During our trip, we almost saw the sun once, although the “day” or rather the hours were bright from 7:00 to 17:00.
After less than 3 hours of flight over the Earth shrouded in clouds, mountain peaks began to emerge, a white landscape … A great white wasteland that aroused respect. I will not hide that more than half of the plane’s passengers were “glued” to the windows to be able to admire these wonderful views.
About 2,300 people live in the Svalbard archipelago, including about 2,000 in Longyearbyen, and about 3,000 polar bears. Longyearbyen – the capital of Svalbard, the northernmost city. Surprisingly, life goes on as normal here – as in any other city. The northernmost civil airport, church, kindergartens, school, post office, bank, supermarket, restaurants, pubs, swimming pool, allow you to forget for a moment that you are in the Arctic.
The airport, what can I say – it is.In the past, planes only landed in the winter on the other side of the town in the valley.
Accommodation in Gjestehuset 102. Located about 2 km from the town center. In the years 1946-2001 miners lived there. The cheapest place to stay, not counting the campsite open only in the summer.
Longyearbyen is a mining town. Remains of hard coal mining can be found everywhere in the area.
Meeting a polar bear that would like to consume a person is a real threat.
Weapons are required outside of the city. At a distance of not less than 50 m from the last buildings, the gun must be loaded. You can move around with a gun in the city, but the magazine must be empty and open so that everyone can see that there are no bullets in it.
The permission to rent weapons is issued by the Governor of Svalbard. It’s not difficult.
You need to obtain a criminal record certificate, which we then translate into English or Norwegian with a sworn translator. After completing the document from the Governor’s website, we send it together with a translated criminal record certificate. Waiting time up to 4 weeks.
It took us a total of 2 days to translate. Governor’s response after 1.5 hours Printed document from the Governor must be shown when borrowing weapons. A short training on how to use the weapon and you can go out of town.
In the evenings, thanks to the rented weapons, we could go outside the city in search of the Northern Lights.
On the last full day, a man begins to feel sad that tomorrow he has to say goodbye to this frosty land. No, we won’t give in to it, we’re going to explore further, fight leg and back pain, inhale the frosty air. We have to return the weapons by 5:00 pm, so we have over 8 hours for our trip. The first idea was to climb a nearby mountain – a bad idea. Icy slope, very strong wind, forced us to move on a paved road.
On that day, our clothes, goggles, balaclavas that we took with us finally proved their worth.
The whole way back was against the wind, at some moments my humble person had to stand and resist the gusts that did not let me take a step forward …
Sitting at the airport, I was hoping that some big cloud would come and our flight would not take place, that I would stay here.
It didn’t, and my soul cried leaving this place.I could stay here…
A place on Earth that you must come back to – maybe in the summer? Hiking in the surrounding mountains… A few-day boat trip…