The long-awaited (by who? no one, probably) post about Svalbard. I’ve uploaded a bucket load of pictures and since WordPress hates me, I’ll just run through them in whatever order they have landed on this post. This could get random.
Flying in to Longyearbyen Airport on a summer’s day. I kind of expected this – the ground is permanently frozen so bound to be a bit of the white stuff on the ground. Not as much as you would expect being 78 degrees north though.
Usually my yellow North Face bag sticks out like a homeless person at a black tie event, but in this place, soft sided bags (particularly North Face) reign supreme. On the baggage carousel I counted no less than six bags similar to mine.
Speaking of baggage carousels, I swear I never take pictures of them. Honest. Unless they have a polar bear on them. Then all bets are off.
Checked into the Trappers Hotel, and it this is not the first time The Husband and I have been allocated twin beds. I promise, we really are married. That said, for the sheer novelty of the place and knowing that they are fully booked, I said nothing. Who doesn’t like sleeping perpendicularly anyway.
Then we thought better of it and perused the gun selection. Word of warning, if you are a little gun shy, this part of the world is not for you. People carry rifles in full view just walking around the streets. The Husband is from Northern Ireland, so he wasn’t phased, but I was a little amused.
Oh, shit, you wanted usual information about Svalbard. Sorry. Well, there is a museum and other than being pretty awesome, they give you colourful crocs to wear, because in Svalbard, you take your damn shoes off when you go inside somewhere. That includes your hotel. I like the practice which is (I’m told) quite Norwegian. I don’t wear shoes in my own house and my socks are in excellent repair.
What else is there to do in Svalbard beside getting rescued on the high seas and marvelling at the how the sun doesn’t set? Well, you know I’m into my cycling right now. And I picked the ultimate bike tour for us to go on. I’ve done the fat tire bike ride in Paris, but this is a REAL fat tire ride. (Yes, I’m spelling tyre that way intentionally, put the green pen down.)
Fine, maybe they don’t burn them and are actually not ever delivered here on account of the pointlessness of actually shipping them, but I like to think they start lighting this bad boy every November.
Wondering whether Longyearbyen has a local custom? They do. It’s call smacking the christ out of birds that are nesting. Help yourself to a stick and whack a few yourself. At least, I think that’s what the sign says, my Norwegian is a little rusty. (Totally true though, the stick is for whacking birds that attack you during specific seasons.)
So, what do arctic folk eat then? Time to get some grub in…
I’d like to say this was just a regular sausage, but it wasn’t. I’m sure there was some reindeer or seal meat in it. We dined at Huset, which is the only fine dining place on the island. Food was amazing though (as was the bill which The Husband picked up).
OK, this was definitely something arctic-ish. Go with reindeer again. It wasn’t polar bear, apparently those things don’t actually make good eating as they are mostly disease-ridden.
So long, Svalbard. Thanks for the emergency situations, pricey drinks and good times. Got a funny feeling I’ll come back…