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Home → April, 2016

Monthly Archives: April 2016 − Travelblog

Barents­burg – 16th April, 2016

April is show­ing off with the best of clear, sta­ble, cold win­ter wea­ther. A trip to Barents­burg often starts with a view over Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Dri­ving along the coast is a regu­lar part of fre­quent tou­rist tours to Barents­burg, but you may not like the short, but steep ascents, espe­ci­al­ly when the sur­face is fro­zen over, if you are not used to dri­ving a snow mobi­le.

Who would have expec­ted to see a wal­rus on a win­ter trip to Barents­burg? We also saw Reinde­er and even White wha­les (Belugas), but too far away to take pho­tos.

Gal­lery – Barents­burg – 16th April, 2016

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

Barents­burg its­elf looks part­ly like a big arc­tic ver­si­on of Lego­land after seve­ral years of refur­bish­ment. The choice of colours of some of the buil­dings might be a mat­ter of deba­te, but others are real­ly beau­tiful. Lenin is medi­ta­ting as always, the view direc­ted into the distance. Impos­si­ble to say what he would say about the colours.

Ope­raf­jel­let – 13th April, 2016

Hiking on Ope­raf­jel­let east of Lon­gye­ar­by­en. A lot of light, a lot of very fresh air, a lot of gre­at land­scape.

Gal­lery Ope­raf­jel­let – 13th April, 2016

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

Lon­gye­ar­by­en mining histo­ry – 11th April 2016

Lon­gye­ar­by­en has been a coal mining sett­le­ment sin­ce it was foun­ded by the Ame­ri­can John Mun­ro Lon­gyear in 1906. In 1916, Lon­gyear sold the place to the Nor­we­gi­an Store Nor­ske Spits­ber­gen Kul­kom­pa­ni which soon cal­led their mining vil­la­ge Lon­gye­ar­by­en. The mea­ning is the same as the ori­gi­nal name, just the lan­guage has chan­ged.

Exact­ly 100 years later, Store Nor­ske is just a shadow of its­elf. After some good years, it was a nar­row escape from bank­rupt­cy. Mining has a lot of histo­ry in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, but not much of a future.

We had a good look of some of this histo­ry. Taub­a­ne­sen­tra­le (cable­car main sta­ti­on) is occu­py­ing the hig­hest part of Lon­gye­ar­by­en, towe­ring abo­ve the vil­la­ge like the town’s land­mark. Some years ago, Store Nor­ske plan­ned to move their head­quar­ters in the­re. Not­hing came out of this. Con­certs are held the­re every now and then, may­be it will be a muse­um in the future.

Mine 3 is alre­a­dy a muse­um. Has not been one for long, it was clo­sed to visi­tors in 2009. Last year it was ope­ned for gui­ded excur­si­ons again, curr­ent­ly the only chan­ce for tou­rists to see a mine from the insi­de. Not below ground, the mine pro­per still needs to be secu­red pro­per­ly. But they want to get this done soon.

Gal­lery – Lon­gye­ar­by­en mining histo­ry – 11th April 2016

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

The lar­ge cra­ne, local­ly known as Titan cra­ne after the manu­fac­tu­rer, was used for ship­ping coal. Now it is just a remin­der of old and quite dif­fe­rent times.

Trap­pers Trail – 09th April 2016

The Trap­pers Trail dog sled race is a good reason to be in Lon­gye­ar­by­en on a cer­tain Satur­day in mid April. It has been an annu­al tra­di­ti­on sin­ce 2009. On this weekend, 09th and 10th of April, 26 teams are joi­ning the race in one out of three cate­go­ries: ski and pulk with one, two or three dogs, while the mus­her is stan­ding on ski­es. Dog sled with 3-5 DP (dog powers) and dog sled with 6-8 DP.

The teams are start­ing at 1200, fol­lo­wing upon one ano­ther every two minu­tes, from the area next to Forsking­s­par­ken (Sval­bard­mu­se­um, UNIS) under cheerful shou­ting of the onloo­kers. One or the other team does, of cour­se, make a stop on the left or right side to say hel­lo to a par­ti­cu­lar fri­end, some­thing that usual­ly invol­ves the dogs more than the mus­hers and is part of the fun, which is what it is all about. Then, they dis­ap­pear in the gre­at white not­hing in Advent­da­len (it is sno­wing today).

The race is taking the teams to Kapp Lai­la in Coles­buk­ta and tomor­row back along ano­ther rou­te, a distance of altog­e­ther 75 km, inclu­ding some deman­ding ascents. A tough trip under a com­pe­ti­ti­on, but distance and ter­rain are well within what trai­ned dog teams regu­lar­ly do.

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

Over the years, the Trap­pers Trail dog sled race has built up a good repu­ta­ti­on bey­ond Lon­gye­ar­by­en and it is an estab­lished part of the annu­al series of events that attract both locals and visi­tors.

Good and safe trip to all par­ti­ci­pan­ts!

Dia­ba­sod­den – 06th-07th April 2016

06th-07th April 2016 – One water­fall, four per­spec­ti­ves. New tech­no­lo­gy shows old beau­ty from new angles. We are loo­king at Hyperitt­fos­sen, a water­fall in De Geerd­a­len. The­re is, of cour­se, not a sin­gle drop of water run­ning the­re now, but this is not a bad thing, not at all. The ice is han­ging on to steep, rug­ged walls of basalt. Hence the name. Hyperi­te is a kind of basalt.

Beau­tiful views, a beau­tiful sun­set, litt­le hikes in the neigh­bour­hood, silence. Lots of it. A fire in the oven is warm­ing from out­side and a cho­co­la­te Eas­ter bun­ny is warm­ing from insi­de. What else could one ask for?

Gal­lery – Dia­ba­sod­den – 06th-07th April 2016

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

Dia­ba­sod­den is a place of old memo­ries. The­re I was told that aukets and gulls are two dif­fe­rent things. And that the­re are aukets with colourful beaks that are cal­led puf­fins. The first polar bear expe­ri­ence, which was an inte­res­t­ing one. It was stan­ding just out­side the tent, not much more than arm’s length away. A war­ning shot scared it away, quick­ly and for good. The night was over. The rest stay­ed fore­ver. That is 20 years ago now.

Sabi­ne Land – 01 April 2016

Loo­king out into the gent­ly fal­ling snow, you might think that yesterday’s wea­ther was a plea­sant April fools joke. An imma­cu­l­ate­ly blue sky wit­hout the sligh­test hint of a cloud. Hard­ly a bree­ze, and tem­pe­ra­tures bet­ween -10 (Lon­gye­ar­by­en) and -20 (east coast). Spits­ber­gen does not get more beau­tiful than this in April, and Spits­ber­gen does not get more beau­tiful than in April (but dif­fe­rent, on a poten­ti­al­ly equal level of beau­ty).

So, it was cle­ar­ly a day for a good trip. The can­yons that are cut into palaeo­zoic lime­s­to­nes in Sas­send­a­len pro­ved a gre­at play­ground for my new toy, as the first pic­tures may show, but as it tur­ned out it it did not real­ly like the tem­pe­ra­tures.

Litt­le excur­si­ons in the migh­ty morai­ne of Rabot­breen fol­lo­wed. Natu­re has crea­ted a magni­fi­cent bit of land­scape here. Grand.

And much, much big­ger still were the ice deserts fur­ther east, Nord­manns­fon­na and its neigh­bours. Impres­si­ons of infi­ni­ty. All shades of blue and white you can think of any many more. Barents- and Edgeøya on the far hori­zon. See you in sum­mer.

Storfjord on the east coast seems to be fro­zen solid, but a clo­ser look reve­als open water in the distance. This win­ter is ano­ther one in the long row of nega­ti­ve records in terms of sea- and fjord ice, and Spits­ber­gen does not make a dif­fe­rence, unfort­u­na­te­ly. Loo­king around near the coast, the world still seems to be alright. But it isn’t.

Gal­lery Sabi­ne Land

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

Could one just get the polar bears to ligh­ten up for a second, it might be a litt­le fire­works! They are some­whe­re, that is for sure. The tracks are not too old.

In the end of the day, the polar bear’s tracks are lea­ding east, out onto the ice, and ours west, to Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Ever­y­bo­dy is going home after ano­ther gre­at day in the arc­tic.


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