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Home → March, 2016

Monthly Archives: March 2016 − Travelblog

Visit to the arc­tic ope­ra – 29th March 2016

The­re is a moun­tain on the north side of Advent­da­len, 7 km east of Lon­gye­ar­by­en. It is cal­led Ope­raf­jel­let, becau­se it has got a natu­ral amphi theat­re. The tenor is cen­ter stage, like Pava­rot­ti. Behind him, the­re is Diri­gen­ten (the con­duc­tor), and a bit more in the back­ground, bas­so and sopra­no, as it should be.


The tenor is 656 m high. The music that is being play­ed here is arc­tic silence, twel­ve voices, some­ti­mes in major, some­ti­mes minor, as you plea­se, on and off, with the rhythm of tim­e­l­ess­ness. The regu­lar guests are reinde­er and ptar­mi­gan. Grass has taken some of the hig­her ranks, dres­sed with ele­gant, shi­ny coa­tings of ice. The spot­light is on as orde­red from the abso­lut­e­ly hig­hest level, cloud curta­ins are play­ing with the light only occa­sio­nal­ly, cas­ting playful shadows on the orches­tra pit and pain­ting colourful applau­se onto the cei­ling.

Gal­lery – Visit to the arc­tic ope­ra – 29th March 2016

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

The final cre­scen­do up to the thro­ne of the tenor is too much of a screa­ming glis­san­do for the guests today. That is left for a da Capo.

Eas­ter – 27 March 2016

The Eas­ter weekend is some­thing spe­cial in Scan­di­na­via. It is the time for tours par excel­lence. Nobo­dy is stay­ing at home. Eit­her you are having a cosy, social time, or you get your skis or snow mobi­le out and take a trip into natu­re, wha­te­ver ever­y­bo­dy feels like.

We com­bi­ned both in the most plea­sant way. Hap­py Eas­ter! 🙂

Gal­lery – Eas­ter – 27 March 2016

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

Sun cele­bra­ti­on – 08 March 2016

Astro­no­mers will tell you that the sun is coming back to Lon­gye­ar­by­en on 16 Febru­ary, and this is inde­ed the first day it is coming back abo­ve the hori­zon again. But as the sett­le­ment is sur­roun­ded by moun­ta­ins, the sun will not come back to Lon­gye­ar­by­en befo­re 08 March. No doubt this is good reason to cele­bra­te, as peo­p­le didn’t get any sun­light for 4 months – well, most will have been some­whe­re south on holi­day, but local­ly, at least. Ever­y­bo­dy is loo­king for­ward to the return of the sun, and this is cele­bra­ted with a week of events, the sol­fest­u­ke (sun cele­bra­ti­on week).

Part of it is the sol­fe­st­re­vue, a stage event tra­di­tio­nal­ly held in Huset and not in the more recent, modern and cen­tral­ly loca­ted Kul­tur­hu­set (cul­tu­re house). Many events of the last 12 months are pas­sing by again, alt­hough quite detail­ed know­ledge of local events and gos­sip (and Nor­we­gi­an lan­guage) is cer­tain­ly hel­pful to get the mes­sa­ge in many cases. From Store Nor­ske, which is faced with the pha­seout of lar­ge parts of its acti­vi­ties in the 100th year of its exis­tence, so may­be the future will see this very tra­di­tio­nal com­pa­ny coming back as Store Tor­ske, ven­tu­ring on new paths in the fishing busi­ness? To local poli­tics and poli­ti­ci­ans, some of whom are ama­zin­gly fle­xi­ble in their opi­ni­ons over time as any­whe­re else in the world, to local Sval­bar­di­ans who occa­sio­nal­ly come up with ama­zing ide­as, such as test­ing important snow mobi­le rou­tes in town by car (no, it does not work).

Fol­lo­wing a nice tra­di­ti­on, Sval­bard Kir­ke invi­ted to an open air church sur­vice on Hiorth­fjel­let, con­fi­dent­ly as always held by Sok­ne­p­rest Leif Magne Hel­ge­sen. No sur­pri­se he was elec­ted as Sval­bar­di­an of the year. Add the magni­fi­cent sur­roun­dings and glo­rious wea­ther to the ser­vice (a true Leif show!), and you have got some­thing not to be missed.

The high­light was of cour­se the actu­al sol­fest (sun cele­bra­ti­on) on 08 March. Not the least due to the gre­at wea­ther. This date has often been clou­dy in recent histo­ry, and so were the last cou­ple of weeks. A sun cele­bra­ti­on wit­hout sun is a bit like a wed­ding wit­hout a bri­de.

Gal­lery Sun cele­bra­ti­on – 08 March 2016

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

Today, it was to be dif­fe­rent. Not the sligh­test cloud on the sky! Seve­ral hundred peo­p­le, inclu­ding many child­ren deco­ra­ted with yel­low scar­ves with the shape of sun rays, had gathe­red around the stairs of the for­mer hos­pi­tal (pre WWII, not­hing but the stairs are left) near the church, as this is the first part of town to which the sun returns. The child­ren are chee­ring to the sun: sol, sol, kom igjen! Sola er min bes­te venn! (Sun, sun, come back! The sun is my best fri­end! Admit­ted­ly, rhy­me and rhythm do work much bet­ter in Nor­we­gi­an). The­re are songs, the­re is some tal­king, the­re is good vibes in the air, lots of it. And then, the­re is the sun. A moving moment when the light is tur­ned on abo­ve Lars­breen and the sun rays are fal­ling on the crowd, warm­ing faces and hearts, cheerful­ly wel­co­med by ever­y­bo­dy. Some more songs, then peo­p­le are going the­re way. The dark time is over for this win­ter.

Barents­burg – 04/05 March 2015

04/05 March 2015 – Over­night visit to Barents­burg. The fresh­ly reno­va­ted hotel now offers a neat stan­dard, from remar­kab­le rooms (some of them do have a bath tub!), nice food (à la car­te) to fast WLAN. At the same time, this means that it has lost some of its ori­gi­nal charme.

Of cour­se this is pro­ba­b­ly not what you main­ly come for when you visit the arc­tic, but it may be good to know that it is abso­lut­e­ly save to plan a trip to Barents­burg as an over­night 🙂 it has not always been like that. And from Barents­burg the­re is a good choice of inte­res­t­ing places to see in reach, espe­ci­al­ly if you are tra­vel­ling by snow mobi­le, next to the Rus­si­an sett­le­ment its­elf. They even offer cour­ses in Rus­si­an han­di­crafts the­re the­se days! I have to admit that I have not done that.

Gal­lery Barents­burg – 04/05 March 2015

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

The way back went in den­se snow­fall. It was neither cold nor win­dy, but the snow was fal­ling den­se­ly enough to make dri­ving a bit unp­lea­sant and cer­tain­ly quite slow. We enjoy­ed the full pro­gram­me, from snow mobi­les fal­ling on the side on slo­pes cover­ed with deep, snoft fresh snow to snow mobi­les dig­ging them­sel­ves in within seconds in such places. Gre­at fun … :-/


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