Thursday, 30 October 2014

Svalbard-Spitsbergen, a step before the North Pole; Tripreport Part 1

While others go to Tenerife or Algarve for summer holiday, we decided to go to the North Pole, given the weather is sort of mild and if it's sunny, the 24 hours sunshine would be priceless.

After a 1 day stopover in Oslo, we headed up to Svalbard's biggest settlement and its capital: Longyearbyen.

From Oslo, Norwegian Airlines has regular flights to go to the most northern settlement on Earth. 

Map London to Svalbard
The planned route to Svalbard

Svalbard is under Norwegian sovereignty according to the Svalbard Treaty. And thanks to the Svalbard Act which was signed by around 45 countries, it let us go there without a visa. So a map, a passport, some sort of travel book and you are all good to go there to explore this fascinating arctic archipelago.
Passport, map, spitsbergen travel book
Passport, Map, Travelbook are all you need!

Soon after we got on board and left behind Oslo, at around 11pm in the night...we glimpsed the...erm...yes the Sun! It seemed the Sun was going down, but on the contrary it was just rising on the horizon until in its full shine and accompanied us on our way to Longyearbyen over the clouds.
Sun rising midnight Norway
The midnight Sun

Clouds above Svalbard
Clouds above Svalbard

After some 3 hours later finally we could not only see the clouds, but the sharp peaks of Svalbard's mountain ridges started emerging in front of our eyes, through the clouds.
Mountain ridges above Svalbard
Mountain ridges above Svalbard

....and the valleys with all the mountains' melted water uniting into one main river rushing to the bay. And as you can see we thought, that we won't be able to see the neverending Sun as it was quite cloudy and grey.
Landing to Longyearbyen
Landing to Longyearbyen

We landed and when the chilli arctic wind blew into our face, we realised maybe we were a bit underdressed for this northern point of the Earth.
People who know me well, know that I can't just wear North Face, Columbia and Merrell or other clothing designed for the cold weather... (I will put up a post as well about the clothing we had with us, because even there peeps love fashion and colours over the dull grey/black/blue combination)
Longyearbyen Airport
Longyearbyen Airport

We stayed in one of Svalbard's not many hotels. We chose Radisson Longyearbyen which was in the perfect place with great people (guests and personnel)
Our room in Radisson Longyearbyen Hotelroom
Our room in Radisson Longyearbyen

...and the view from some of the rooms....was mesmerizing...Look at those snow covered peaks in the background.
Radisson Hotel Room View Svalbard snowy mountains and logged house
Radisson Hotel Room View Svalbard

To be continued...with our first day and what to do if you are on a budget trip!

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