2 hours in Svalbard

[Master of train travel]
Tuesday morning was an early start for the Diaz-Engebrethsen household. Marius had to catch a plane to Stavanger and then drive a little to a place called Lysebotn for work. Pancho and I took an early walk, and now that it's September the amount of daylight is decreasing significantly. We got back, grabbed my stuff, and caught the bus to the train station.

We took the train to Oslo from Bergen - a trip lasting around 7 hours. Pancho is a master of train travel. He gets excited to see other dogs, and there was a female around his age just in front of us, but eventually he gave up with trying to say hi and took a nap. I was really proud to see how relaxed he was on the train compared to the other dog who was obviously a bit stressed. We got off the train and Rigmor picked us up. While I'm gone our friends Morten and Katrine are taking care of Pancho.

That night (Tuesday night), I found out that a passport is needed to fly to Svalbard. I was totally unaware of this and was in total panic just before I had planned to go to bed. Eventually, Marius came up with a good idea to ask the guy in charge of our apartment building to let my colleague in to grab my passport. The next stress was how she would get it to me when she had a short layover. Luckily, her plane left Bergen early and our plane to Longyearbyen (Svalbard) was delayed. We had plenty of time! There is a God!

The flight from Oslo to Longyearbyen is a little under three hours. The temperature when we left Oslo: 14 deg C (57 F). Temperature in Longyearbyen: 6 deg C (42 F) and a windchill. We took a taxi to the boat and dropped off our things. We had then two hours to explore Longyearbyen, so unfortunately, there wasn't much exploring. Shopping was a success though!

[Longyearbyen airport]
[Polar bear warning sign when you exit the airport]
Shopping at Svalbard is 25% cheaper than on mainland Norway because they don't charge tax there. So I bought a t-shirt and some thin gloves to have under my heavy duty rubber gloves for when we work outside with the trawl. I got a couple of souvenirs as well: a mug, magnet, shot glass (Marius collects them), and a patch (I collect those for my backpack).

[Polar bear in one of the shops]

[None of these are native to Svalbard]
[Pretty sure this one is American bison...but whatever you can do for tourists]
Longyearbyen isn't big at all. There are no trees, no grass. There is a school, daycare center, university, and brewery. No Irish pub!

Svalbard is mainly used as a research station and for mining. There are some people who live there year round, you will find a few taxis and a good mix of nationalities. The houses are simple, and painted in bold colors; mainly red, green, and yellow.

[the main street - probably 75% of the stores are sporting goods]

[Mining and tourism are the main activities at Svalbard]
[Reminder to not bring your firearms into the bank and post office]

We had to get back to the boat after only just under two hours walking around. I would have liked to have stayed and go for a hike. Next time I will have to try to make sure I have at least a day to plan a good hike. There you have to go through a company to book a hike because you need to have someone carrying a firearm, just in case there is a hungry polar bear. I'm looking forward to the next time I get to visit this cool place.

[Back to Eros again - I was on this boat in 2013]

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