Sunday, March 27, 2011
We arrived at Spitsbergen, Svalbard after a 9 hour flight (it usually takes about 4 hours, where I almost threw up (I never get travel sickness), but on the third attempt, our plane managed to land in a hurricane wind speed.
Who knew that there was a dash of glamour in Longyearbyen?
Locals said it hadn't been used for over a year, and that the owner is desperately trying to sell it ;)
It's true what they say, if you want to navigate outside the city centre (two small streets), you need to carry a rifle because of the 3000 polars bears located on the tiny island group.
On our way to the rented snow mobiles. NOKAS anyone??
The first day of our trip was cancelled because of the horrible weather, but day two was beyond amazing and better than we hoped to wish for. Completely untouched, with the only sign of man was out scooter tracks.
The ocean has an upper layer consisting of slush, and I guess you can say it looks like an ocean of ice cold smoothies :)
Our incredibly cool guides! They showed us around Spitsbergen with a fantastic enthusiasm and an impressive knowledge about almost everything :)
Barentsburg - Russian territory with a very visible nod to communism and Stalin.
Barentsburg is Russion territory, and probably the most exotic part of the trip. The architecture was incredible, but not very well maintained.
There's been a lot of problems with the building structures, because the ground moves. This house was probably the most noticeable example. Strange, isn't it? The small town is inhabited with workers that used to work at the now closed/empty mines. The're now being really creative with finding new work, and placing a huge glass bowl over the whole town to start growing vegetables and fruits is one of the suggestions.
Radio Isfjord was the destination of our trip, and it's almost right across Spitsbergen from Longyearbyen where our base was. Radio Isfjord is a part of Basecamp Spitsbergen, and is an old radio station, that's been made over to a chic hotel. This is polar bear land, and you're not allowed outside the buildings without an armed guide.
You know I had to show you the interiors! They're by Fargerike's trend expert, Halvor Bakke. He's done a great job with the hotel, and the color palette is fresh and very appropriate for the environment.
There's a library on the second floor with some super comfortable winged chairs.
(click to visit)
The view from Isfjord Radio. I spent quite a lot of time looking relentlessly for polar bears. I didn't see a single one!
Spitsbergen is filled with small, abandoned hunting cottages that you can rent during the summer months (which are supposedly equally fabulous as winter!
Day three of our trip. Yes, it's cold. Freezing cold! Thank god for our layers of wool and fantastic snow mobile suits.
Driving snow mobiles is a LOT of fun, and it brought back good memories from my stay in Idaho when I was 17-18 yrs old.
This glacier was probably the best memory from the trip. The views were amazing, and our Guide, Charlotte (who's lived in Longyearbyen half her life), said this was the most beautiful she'd ever seen it (because of the fantastic weather and no sign of man before us)
Yes, I was cold, but well dressed.
A "side view" of the glacier. Stunning, and looks almost like marble.
Stunning nature! The least comfortable part of the trip, you didn't really realize how cold it was until you take your gloves off.. Good dry tech food, but ridiculously cold!!
A carved map of Svalbard, where you see Spitsbergen (the island where Longyearbyen and Isfjord Radio is located) to the left.
Basecamp Fangstmannshotellet is another incredible hotel at Svalbard from the Basecamp group. Pretty cool decor, right?? :)
All in all, an AMAZING trip, and I HAVE to go back some day.
If you're up for an adventure, amazing scenery, high speeds, lots of fun AND loads of cool & rustic interiors, Svalbard is without a doubt the place for you.
Have a fabulous Sunday evening!!
Images Courtesy of Espen Stark, Lene Askevold and Dagny Thurmann-Hoelseth
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