I've just come back from an extended weekend in Svalbard and I just don't know how to put my experiences there into words. I'm going to try anyway but I cannot guarantee that any of this will make sense.
For those of you who don't know Svalbard, it's an archipelago at 74 to 81 degrees north, halfway between the North Cape and the North Pole, and one of the northernmost settled areas in the world.
The islands belong to Norway and there are direct flights to Oslo and Tromso, which is why we decided to visit before we leave the city.
I mean, it's just a 1 1/2 hour flight from Tromso to Svalbard so we had to grasp the opportunity while we still had the chance.
To describe Svalbard in 3 words, I'd say barren, Arctic and just different from anything I've ever seen. Even though I had visited Greenland before, Greenland (or Nuuk anyway) in the summer was just that: green.
Svalbard in the summer however isn't green at all. It's brown rocks and tundra with patches of snow, and the blue, sometimes green-ish ocean. It's a very unique place and one that had made me fall in love with the Arctic all over again.
You see, I was meaning to publish a post on why we're leaving Tromso and what you should keep in mind before moving here if that's your plan, today, and in there I mention difficulties in regards to climate, transport and infrastructure.
All topics where Svalbard definitely poses a lot more issues to the people living there.
And yet after my visit, I find myself strangely drawn to the archipelago and would have loved to stay longer - or even the whole summer?
There I was a week ago, longing for proper summer temperatures and looking forward to moving to Southern Norway to experience normal seasons again, and one visit to Svalbard and all of a sudden I want to move even deeper into the Arctic?
To say that I have difficulties figuring out where I'd like to live is an understatement but at least Svalbard has managed to make me understand one thing: Just because life in Tromso didn't work out for me, doesn't mean that I gave up on the Arctic entirely.
I'm still as fascinated by it as I was when I first set foot in the region 4 years ago, and my visit to Svalbard has shown me, that I'm far from done exploring the Arctic.
This is only the beginning.
How about crossing 80 degrees north next?
FOLLOW ALONG for more impressions of Svalbard:
PS: These pictures were taken with my phone. I haven't even begun looking at the over 1000 pictures I took on the trip so there's much more to come!
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