Birgitte & Hans on Svalbard – May 7th to 11th 2008
Svalbard, formerly Spitsbergen, archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, about midway between Norway and the North Pole, and belonging to Norway. It comprises all lands between latitude 74° North and latitude 81° North and between longitude 10° East and longitude 35° East. The principal islands are Spitsbergen, Nordaustlandet, Barentsøya, Edgeøya, Kong Karls Land, Prins Karls Forland, and Bjørnøya. Coal mining is the major industry. The islands appeared in early Norwegian stories and they were rediscovered by a Dutch expedition under the navigator Willem Barents in 1596. No settlements were founded until after the Norwegians began mining coal here in the 1890s. In 1920, Norway's claim to the islands was formally recognized. Russia has mining rights and maintains settlements in Svalbard. Area, 62,000 sq km (24,000 sq mi); population (1991) 3,309.
Thursday May 7th
We arrived to Longyearbyen at Svalbard from Oslo at 23.30 – Light as day around, snowing a little and windy -10 Co / 14 Fo .
Coming from 20 Co it was cold
And arrived at the Hotel – the view from the hotel 01.15 in the morning.
Friday May 8th
Wheather: -10 Co and very windy, snow. Reasonable visability.
Up for Breakfast at 8 and we have been around Longyearbyen this morning.
Every year in mid February they celebrate the Sun showing for the first time on the Horisont. Its measured by the time the sun shines on the Hospital Stairs – The Hospital Burn and was moved..but off course they need to keep the stairs….
Properly one of the coziest and interesting museums is the Svalbard gate. Longyearbyen Being essentially a mining community at first that influences the museum, but as the mining and Polar Exploratory expeditions has decrised it is now a more permanent intellectual presence in Studying the area, a University etc.
A tradition of leaving your shoes outsides
Dog pen for the sledge dogs
Morning view – no different in light from midnight.
The Polar Bear Danger is real – you are not allowed to leave the city without a rifle, and flares to scare the bears away.
Mining Started back in the 1920´s – not a lot of OHS Regulations around back then.
The have to have shot from Svalbard…
Saturday May 9th
No pictures will do this trip Justice – you have to have been here. Close to 9 Hours on snowmobile through 120km of the most beautyfull country with very few marks of human activity.
One of the big contrasts was the visit to the Russian Mining village, Barentzburg.
The day ended at www.svalbardvillmarkssenter.no
Sunday, May 10th
Again with Karl at Villmarkscentret, a very different way of transport – dog sledge.
More Pictures will follow tomorrow….