Today, I excitedly awoke to explore Longyearbyen and its remote wilderness treats. I arrived last night after sunset at midnight – though the sky never actually darkens – and was still awake for sunrise at 2am.
The Svalbard ‘city’ is laden with superlatives. It’s called ‘The top of the world.’ Home to the world’s northernmost church, post office, university and even sundial, it is charming and an utter natural beauty! Polar bears live in the vicinity so one can’t walk too far into the wilderness without a rifle for protection.
I’d read reports beforehand of it having an industrial feel. It certainly does exude its mining and whaling history. Yet I find it so much more than that. It is encircled entirely by incredible nature: mountain, seas, arctic wildlife, flora and fauna. And that is all in an unhurried and exquisitely peaceful setting. I could spend forever here.
It is cold but nowhere near as cold as it will be out in the sea. In fact, I was over-layered today and heated up pretty quickly. In fact, this is Longyearbyen’s 8th warmest summer in record with a high recorded of 17.5 deg C.
My day has been one of childlike explorations. As I discovered the waterfront and Arctic cotton in the marshlands, snow-encrusted mountains and later, went dog-sledding with huskies, I literally beamed though the perfect day.
Here are some unedited snapshots of this remote and deserted wilderness in the Arctic: