Travels

Svalbard, trip to the Norwegian Arctic

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"Cold coasts" is the name given by the first men to arrive in the 11th century. Russians? Vikings? Who knows. The fact is that the temperature has dropped by about 20ºC as soon as it arrives. We are in polar lands, beyond the Arctic Circle ... Tonight begins the expedition beyond latitude 78º, where we will not see the night. Expedition? We enter an unusual, isolated and often unknown area ... After our passage through the fjords, it begins "Svalbard, trip to the Norwegian Arctic"


But the day began several hours earlier, in the luxurious The Thief (UPDATED:You can read our opinion of the hotel The Thief) from the capital of Norway, Oslo, and a full breakfast. We knew what awaited us.

A dream: The Norwegian Arctic

I remember perfectly as if it were yesterday, the day we embarked on Professor Molchanov in which we considered our first expedition, the Antarctic Expedition of an old Russian ship (who would "retire" a year later) in the most fearsome waters of the planet, the Drake Pass, reaching the Ice Continent, the Sixth Continent, the white desert ...

That day we thought that something like that would never be repeated, that everything would be a dream that would be left behind once we woke up back in Argentina, or in Spain, and we would repeat the rest of our lives based on photos and videos. However, something has wanted us to be here today and we can not fool anyone, with that "restlessness or nervousness" in the body of great adventures.

It is almost ridiculous to tell you a day like today how to get to Oslo Airport from the center, something that is hardly complicated by taking the train that leaves from NationalTheatret (there are several stops scattered around the center) and that leaves us in 30 minutes at the corresponding station.


 

Before we had said goodbye to the exceptional team of The Thief, very grateful for the treatment provided, an experience that we will definitely talk about when we return. At noon we were already waiting for our departure at the Oslo International Airport, with the last farewell calls


 

Our flight leaves at 16'20, but our soul has definitely reached its destination. Before we stopped at Tromso, a technical stop to leave people, leave and re-enter. The journey has been just 1 hours 35 minutes


 

In Tromso it rains. It rains, it is cold and it rains. Today is not the best day that has enjoyed the highlands of Norway, already above the polar line.


 

Reach Svalbard, on this trip to the Norwegian Arctic, it is to enter more than 1,000 km north of the Arctic Circle, at latitude 78ºN and 20ºE, which is a beautiful set of mountainous islands, labyrinthine fjords, multiple glaciers and icebergs and their color tones. To reach Svalbard is to "sit" above the globe, at one of the furthest points where man can reach.


William Barents in 1596. We will keep that name and that date. This Dutchman is the official "discoverer" of this Arctic paradise, a place he found looking for his own Northwest Passage.

Longyearbyen, the gate of the Svalbard and the Norwegian Arctic

We read before they warn on the speakers to prepare us to land, that these islands functioned as an international whaling base during the 17th and 18th centuries, and served as the basis for many Arctic expeditions. In 1929 they passed to the Norwegian Crown, although with permission to exploit their mining and fishing wealth of all signatories.

We look out the window and were petrified before the place that is going to "shelter" the next days of our lives. !!It's a desert!! !! A white and icy desert !!


 

We have had multiple landings around the world, but the one we enjoyed yesterday from that little window of the SAS that moves us, with the "almost-midnight" backdrop sun is SPECTACULAR


Tundra, mountains, fjords, rivers, and a unique geography surround us. We are performing a scenic flyby for which anyone would pay gold ...


20'15 of the night? !! First shock !! There is no night here. That concept is lost in April and does not recover until the end of August. Is it the time we landed at the airport, international? from Longyearbyen. We are close to the largest town and it barely has 2,000 inhabitants and two places to stay (so it is almost impossible to get here). The others are Barentsburg, of Russian community (barely 500 inhabitants) or Ny-Alesund (25 hab), Svea Gruva (240 hab) and Hornsund (11 hab). We are on land!


 

Longyearbyen was waiting for us, and in him, our expedition group ...

Sterna, our home in the Svalbard

We had a revealing conversation recently with Luca Bocci (Visit Norway) in which we discovered that really getting to the Svalbard is not difficult because of its exclusivity or economic point of view. It is because it is almost impossible to get lodging in the few places that offer it. And this happens both in summer, and in winter (for being one of the best places on the planet to spot northern lights).


This we have checked ourselves these days, because for months it is impossible to book anything here. Longyearbyen is a town with just a couple of lodgings, very quiet at this time of day (or night), where we take a first recognition walk and take the first contact with who will be our big family these days

The exploration expedition will consist of the 3 crew members of whom we will already talk to you these days (Albert Bargués, David and Fernando), the Polar Lands guide specialized in exploration and that will guarantee our safety (Jute), a documentary filmmaker named Guille, a photographer named Ana, two other travelers we began to meet, Paula and Isaac. Total ... !! 10 people !! !! A perfect team !!!


The typical photo of the capital, the one that appears in the postcards, is the one of the houses of wood of striking colors that are placed on the biggest avenue that the city enjoys.


 

Winter seems to be tough, although they say the inhabitants love it more than summer. We do not know, but we have made our last dinner on land, in a lively tavern (where it is half village) called Kroa.

We have our solution to accommodation, which is that our home is floating and is called Sterna, a competition sailboat adapted for the occasion and that will allow us to reach as remote and unexplored places as we wish and conditions permit. It is time to board


 

Today we will sleep in our cabin. away from the luxuries of the big cruise ships, but full of authenticity.

Family, friends, readers, from the moment of this publication and that we start from Longyearbyen WE WILL NOT HAVE INTERNET ACCESS OR MOBILE COVERAGEWe will try to "get" something thanks to the Iridium system via Satellite, but we promise nothing. The disconnection will be almost absolute. The almost inaccessible places. The extraordinary places. The polar bear? I think it's everyone's wish ... it seems difficult, but I'm sure you're not waiting in some hidden place at least when we expect it. As Albert says, if it's there, be calm. See you all soon!


Isaac and Paula, from Longyearbyen - Svalbard (Norway)

EXPENSES OF THE DAY: On our return

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