Thursday, October 4, 2012

78 degrees North

That is where I spent the last 3 days together with colleagues from work; it translates to Svalbard (or Spitsbergen), an island far north of the Norwegian mainland. We traveled away from fall, and up to winter upon arrival. There had been a few snowfalls already, and the island was covered in a nice white coat.
The weather was perfect the whole time, clear sky, full moon, no wind and a few degrees below freezing point. Here is a picture of Longyearbyen (Longyear city) by night.

We did not see any polar bears in the wild, so the only picture I have is the one on display in the hotel lobby.

There was also a great quilt on display on the hotel wall, made of beautiful batiks. I am sorry I did not get a better picture, but it was difficult with the sun coming in through the skylight.

This is the view from my hotel room, Platåfjellet (The Plateau Mountain).

We hiked up the mountain the second day, and reached an altitude of approx. 450 meters before we turned back down again. When you are out hiking on Spitsbergen you have to have a person with a rifle together with you, because of the risk of polar bear attack. Last year there was a tourist killed by a bear.

Here is a spectacular view of the geology from top of the mountain.

The third and last day of the trip we went out on a boat in the fjords around Longyearbyen. It was freezing cold with the wind chill factor! But, with warm clothing we survived.

Here are two more pictures of the spectacular geology and mountain formations of Spitsbergen.

We had a fantastic trip!

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