08 April, 2013

Svalbard by snowmobile!

Nothing is white in this wonderland, at least not under a clear sky. Click on the photos!
This post will probably be a photo blog more than anything else, the pictures speak best for themselves. I just want to add a couple of thoughts to get you in the mood. Like, you may be the type who looks at snowmobiles with disdain, not understanding how such noisy machinery is allowed out in the wild. Well, then I guess you have not taken a trip to the Arctic Islands at 78 degrees north. Up here the distances are large, and the snowmobile is an important means of transportation where no cars can go.

Rune and my sister, well covered.
     That said, I have never been much drawn towards motorsport, and prefer to move by my own power, when conditions allow. In Iceland, I tested out both monster trucks and ATVs, and must say it's kind of fun, but not quite my thing. But Svalbard, well, Svalbard is different. Normal rules and laws just do not apply here, as it does "down", which is how the locals refer to mainland Norway, much further south.

This archipelago is Norwegian, but not sufficiently Norwegian for other nations not to be able to have activities here. Citizens from all countries that have signed the Svalbard Treaty may stay here without a visa - if they can get here - but you need to cater for yourself. If you can make it here ... you can stay. The space is thus not like other places. None that I know of, anyway.

Where have you been, where you need to bring a gun when you leave town? Nowhere I've been, and I dare say I've been around. But in Svalbard, polar bears are a real threat, and no one must leave the city limits without a rifle and the skill to use it. Well, enough talk. This post is about the beauty, and thanks to my brother in law, Rune Mjelde, I got a series of awesome experiences. I am totally utterly overly grateful!

Do check out this gallery from a previous visit to Barentsburg and this gallery from my adventures around Longyearbyen.