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Monthly Archives: September 2020 − Travelblog


Walk in the forest near Pyra­mi­den

Back to Spitsbergen’s beau­tiful aspects, which seem even remo­ter this year. It took seve­ral attempts to get to Pyra­mi­den this time. In Spits­ber­gen, ever­y­thing – well, almost – depends on the wea­ther. The trip to Pyra­mi­den by boat is more than 50 kilo­me­t­res, and our boat wasn’t exact­ly Anti­gua or any­thing big­ger. So, the wea­ther should be ok. But we got our chan­ce and arri­ved in Bil­lefjord after a lunch break in Skans­buk­ta.

Pyra­mi­den

In Pyra­mi­den, we could rely on a fri­end­ly wel­co­me at Hotel Tuli­pan. A lot has hap­pen­ed the­re in recent years, the stan­dard is impro­ved – the bar is love­ly and the food is good. The old, Soviet-style rooms are not available any­mo­re, to my per­so­nal reg­ret, but I guess that’s the walk of time. Some life has also retur­ned to the Cul­tu­re House. And they keep working here and the­re.

Pyramiden: Canteen

Things are hap­pe­ning in Pyra­mi­den. Here, the old can­teen is being reno­va­ted.

The devo­ni­an forest in Mun­ind­a­len

But we wan­ted a walk in the forest. Well, in the Pyra­mi­den area, you can not walk in a forest, but you can actual­ly walk to a forest. In Mun­ind­a­len, to be more accu­ra­te. This forest grew in the Devo­ni­an, more than 350 mil­li­on years ago, pro­ba­b­ly in a river plain. Then, the trees were buried by sand and mud during a flood … and they beca­me fos­si­li­sed. Just as they were, in a ver­ti­cal posi­ti­on, or “in situ”, as geo­lo­gists say. One of the oldest forests in the world.

Tree fossil, Devonian, Munindalen

Imprint of a fos­si­li­sed tree in Devo­ni­an rocks, Mun­ind­a­len.

The­re were no trees befo­re the Devo­ni­an. (And if you hap­pen to find simi­lar fos­sils in Pyra­mi­den its­elf: they date to the Car­bo­ni­fe­rous, just as the coal, so they are a good bit youn­ger than the Devo­ni­an trees in Mun­ind­a­len). So it is worth get­ting wet and very cold feet as you have to step into the icy melt­wa­ter river becau­se the out­crop is a litt­le rock­wall right next to it (or just bring your rub­ber boots, which we for­got …).

Pyramiden: Mimerdalen, horses

Even the reinde­er were big­ger than else­whe­re in Pyra­mi­den back then 😉
Serious­ly: they had hor­ses.

Then, the fog came and sett­led in for seve­ral days, cut­ting Spits­ber­gen phy­si­call off from the out­side world (pla­nes don’t land in Lon­gye­ar­by­en in den­se fog). I spent most of the time on the return trip to Lon­gye­ar­by­en hol­ding on to the GPS 🙂

If you would like to take a vir­tu­al trip to Pyra­mi­den while it is hard to get the­re in real life – check the Pyra­mi­den pan­ora­ma pages, the­re is ple­nty of stuff the­re!

Gal­lery: Pyra­mi­den and Mun­ind­a­len

Some impres­si­ons from the trip from Lon­gye­ar­by­en via Skans­buk­ta to Pyra­mi­den and Mun­ind­a­len.

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

Blog: trip to Svenske­hu­set at Kapp Thord­sen

After all the bad and even ter­ri­ble news of the last cou­ple of weeks, regar­ding a poten­ti­al­ly dead­ly virus that keeps making ever­y­bo­dies lives dif­fi­cult and a very dead­ly polar bear attack, it is easy to for­get that Spits­ber­gen is still a beau­tiful place. It is time for a few pho­tos to bring that back to mind.

It is a cou­ple of weeks ago now, but that doesn’t mat­ter. Isfjord was flat as a mir­ror, so we took the oppor­tu­ni­ty for a Zodiac tour from Lon­gye­ar­by­en to Svenske­hu­set at Kapp Thord­sen.

Gal­lery: Svenske­hu­set

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

I am not going to repeat the dra­ma­tic histo­ry of the “Swe­dish house” (Svenske­hu­set) at Kapp Thord­sen here, as I have recent­ly com­pi­led a spe­cial side dedi­ca­ted to Svenske­hu­set – inclu­ding pan­ora­ma images, as you may alre­a­dy have gues­sed. Have a look the­re if you are inte­res­ted. I do recom­mend it. Final­ly get­ting the­se images was a strong moti­va­ti­on to take this trip.

And other than that, spen­ding a long day in fine wea­ther in a place like this, with fine views over Isfjord and all the big and small impres­si­ons of the sce­n­ery and the tun­dra, is an expe­ri­ence of the kind of which you (or, at least, I) just can’t get enough in life.

Regar­ding the small impres­si­onf of the tun­dra: I have always expe­ri­en­ced it as slight­ly dis­ap­poin­ting to pho­to­graph the flowers. Becau­se of the limi­t­ed depth of field with macro pho­to­gra­phy, only a small part of the flower appears in focus. But today, pho­to tech­no­lo­cy enables us to take it a good step fur­ther. “Focus stack­ing” is the key. It requi­res some effort regar­ding pre­pa­ra­ti­ons, equip­ment, pho­to­gra­phy and editing, but I think it is worth it in the end:

Arctic bell-heather, Svenskehuset

Arc­tic bell-hea­ther near Svenske­hu­set.
Fokus-stack­ing makes it pos­si­ble to have almost the who­le flower in focus.

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