Moon Landing

3 comments

Svalbard, Norway. 

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 This is no-man’s land.  Literally, you don’t need a visa to stay here.  (To myself when I learned that, as if, someone would want to stay here illegally.)  Well, of course as usual, I am mistaken.  There are a number of residents in Spitsbergen coming from Asia – Thailand, Iraq.  They don’t have visas to stay in Norway so they opted to stay in Svalbard.  These are tough people.  Svalbard is the most Northernly place with a small community.  Further North of Svalbard and only scientists stay for months to do their research on Arctic stuff.  There are more polar bears here than humans and to venture out, one needs to bring a gun to protect himself from being eaten by the polar bears.  So, it is no joke living here.  But the community here is thriving.  There is a kindergarten.  There is a University. Alcohol is way cheaper than in the mainland.  It is a living community in a designated zone.  Outside this zone however is like stepping into the netherworld.

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We took a four-hour snow mobile safari to see the Tuna glacier.  This is a real glimpse into what could happen when outside the ‘safe’ zone.  There was a blizzard midway into our tour and some of our colleague’s snowmobile toppled over.  Visibility was almost nil.  We cannot see our guides carrying the only guns in the group.  So we are sitting ducks should a polar bear be near us.  We survived, of course and got rewarded with what looked to me like lunar landscape.  I wouldn’t see this anywhere on earth I suppose. Maybe in Antarctica, but that has to wait until Julia is a bit bigger…

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3 comments on “Moon Landing”

    1. I was there 2007 I think and it was still very expensive to go there at that time as there was only one commercial airlines (SAS) flying there so there weren’t so many tourists. But in 2008, the low cost airline (Norwegian) also serviced that route so the air fair dropped and more people started going there. Aside from a handful of tourists, it’s mostly students, researchers at the Svalbard Uni and some workers at a coal mine (you can also visit the coal mine if you’re not claustrophobic. A colleague of mine was claustrophobic and decided to just wait outside the coal mine forgetting that he doesn’t have a gun with him!)

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