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Barentsburg, Colesbukta

The trip to Barentsburg takes about 3 hours. We make use of the fine weather by doing a bit of photo shooting.

The times, they are a changin’ … clearly and visibly also here in Barentsburg, where coal is still being mined, but the past has brought difficulties and accidents in the mines and the future may be somewhere more sunny. Many of the houses have got new fronts, ruins have been removed. There is a new brewery with a restaurant, and new, nice rooms in the hotel. A new hotel and a guesthouse have been announced. Barentsburg is attracting curious visitors in numbers already these days. Not only tourists who come with guided tours, but also locals from Longyearbyen, who appreciate the opportunity of a short holiday over the weekend. Food, rooms and service receive regular praise. The mining company Trust Arktikugol has already been called Turist Arktikugol by the local Norwegian newspaper Svalbardposten …

We are also enjoying lunch in Barentsburg. There is not too much time to look around today. We have a photographic mission together with the group we are traveling with, so we have to stick with their time schedule. Something that we usually don’t have.

But then we are done with that mission and we can spend a long evening in Colesbukta. Weird buildings of a Russian mining settlement abandoned more than half a century ago. To be precise, this was the harbour where the coal was shipped that was mined in Grumantbyen, another abandoned place at the foot of a steep cliff further east, so they could not build a harbour there. Interesting impressions in nice evening light. We stroll around, curiously investigating old buildings, marvelling at old, heavy machinery, geological samples and silent witnesses of daily life that was vibrant here until 1962. Pure photographic pleasure! Glaucous gulls are our company as we enjoy an endless sunset over Isfjord.

Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.

Meanwhile, the wind has started to pick up and it is time for the last leg of today’s trip, back to Longyearbyen. Visibility is quite poor on the pass above the glacier Longyearbreen, a good 700 m high, and although we are only following well-known and frequently travelled routes, we are quite happy to be back in town soon. On the same evening, as we hear later, a young local snow mobile driver receives serious injuries as he drives into a deep wind hole in the snow. It is so bad that, once he is found, he is immediately evacuated to the university hospital in Tromsø with the ambulance place, where the doctors have to put him into artificial coma …

last modification: 2015-05-07 · copyright: Rolf Stange