Svalbard was my dream destination for so many years and at last first meeting with this magical place has happened! I say first meeting because I am really sure I will come there again, I never seen anything more beautiful and challenging in my life.
Day 1. Arrival and sightseeing
I came to visit Svalbard with a photo-tour from my Nature Photography school. So we started from Helsinki at 7.40 am, changed plane in Oslo and landed in Longyearbyen around 12.30 pm.
We stayed in a guest house "Gjestehuset 102" - very cozy and friendly place! Really recommend, open, helpful folks from there will help you to have the best stay on Svalbard, you can book any activities by the reception and experienced workers will advise you and inform about possibilities, rules etc on Svalbard.
Later in the afternoon we went down to the city center to look around and grab some food. Well, the only tiny minus with this great guest house is that it is quite far from the center - 2.5 km to be exact, so it took awhile before I reached the city.
Longyearbyen is a tiny city there are just around 2000 inhabitants, but this city has everything you need.
As always I forgot that I am wearing contact lenses for last 20 years and didn't take any lense liquid with me. In tourist info I have been detaily explained where I can find pharmacy. So I found it! They have it all, even a small versions of all kind of shampoos, lotions, tooth pastes etc. for tourists like me.
Longyearbyen has a lot of good restaurants, bars and cafe and all of them are pretty expensive, well it is still Norway after all.
We ate pizza and burgers in Kroa restaurant, on their lunch menu were just this two alternatives, however it was around 20 different kind of pizzas. Lunch price is around 140-170 NOK (15-18 euro) plus I took beer, which costed 65 NOK (7 euros).
After the lunch I took a walk around with my camera.
Here is the a bit of Advent-dalen, which starts right after the city ends.
City looks somehow too normal, quite typical northern european houses and organisation system.
After this little stroll I went to by some food for the next day hike to the glacier. I bought Juice, 2 sandwiches and a big pack of cashew it costed around 250 nok (26 euro)
Longyearbyen has a lot of shops with all kind of sport and hiking gear, however prices are quite high.
Day 2. Hike to the Longyearbreen Glacier
People who knows me can confirm that I am sooo not sportive, but somehow when I started to learn Nature Photography I always find myself on some hike... This time it was hike to the Glacier, with a lot of struggle I made it up! But the way down on the freaking ice was about to kill me! Or at least injure )))
We were group of 15 people, since it is not allowed to die on Svalbard due to the risk of Polar bear will be attracted by the corps :), we had two guys from our group with rifles. However one rifle was broken so we were left with one.
And so we started our "light stroll" up the glacier! Surely the view worth it...
And look what I found, a fossil stone! And really, there are no trees on Svalbard, but apparently been some or this stone made a long way there.
Walking down was pretty impossible for me, really difficult at least.
When the day was over I couldn't really get warm for a few hours and was wondering why I keep doing this to myself, however I made a decision that I will just train and practice to become a really good nature photography. So i really have a long journey a front of me. Later in the night we went to the closest restaurant "Coal Miners' Bar & Grill". Prices there are like everywhere around Longyerbyen. One main meal is around 200-250 NOK (27-32 euros) plus beer is 65 NOK (7 euros).
Day 3. Well, this day I just did nothing and tried to restore my powers after the hike to glacier. So skip it and move to Day 4.
Day 4. Boat trip to Pyramiden.
The boat trip to Pyramiden was the best part of this travel for me. The sky and and the sea was just magical. Of course Pyramiden itself is amazing. It is a ghost town left from Soviet Union time.
"Pyramiden (meaning "the pyramid" in most Scandinavian languages; called Пирамида, Piramida, in Russian) is a Russian settlement and coal-mining community on the archipelago of Svalbard, Norway. Founded by Sweden in 1910 and sold to the Soviet Union in 1927, Pyramiden was closed in 1998 and has since remained largely abandoned with most of its infrastructure and buildings still in place. Since 2007 there have been efforts to make it a tourist attraction." Wikipedia
The trip by boat including guided tour in Pyramiden and lunch on board costed 1800 NOK (200 euros) Totally worth it. The boat name is Polar Girl and as I understood it is a bot smaller boats than others.
The Glacier we saw on the boat trip
And the Pyramiden itself
Day 5. A small trip around the town.
We made an attempt to hike to Adventdalen, but there was a sand storm, so we didn't go further than this sign.
And then we walked back by the beach.
We spent some time in a museum, which is actually quite nice. Costs 90 NOK (10 euros) And after the lunch in town we went up back to hotel.
Day 5. Last day on this amazing island on this trip.
This day I just didn't have any power to go anywhere, still in the evening we had a little ride with taxi around. All rental cars were taken so we had to take a taxi. A mini bus for 16 people costed 950 NOK/hour (100 euros/hour).
I am so in love with this place and actually it has inspired me to become a professional nature photographer. It is a whole new world for me and a really long journey a front! To learn, to practice and even train to hike... I am still processing this trip, however some decisions are made and now I am ready to put all my free resources into development and to become a professional!
Bonus gallery with my black & white photos of Svalbard.
I love to travel! And here I would love to tell all the stories about my adventures.
I start with Montenegro, there I fell in love with traveling. Surely I have been around before as well. But that was just vacations, bought and thought through ahead. In Montenegro I and my husband just jumped on motorcycle and drove towards Finland.
Before we started our trip back to Finland we spent 18 days in Kotor. This old town was something really special for me.
I have never been to Mediterranean sea before, and this little gem surrounded by really ancient walls.
I had this thoughts to have a beach vacation and was hoping to have some nice sunbathing and swimming moments, when we came there I found out that beaches are really uninteresting. There are little pebble spots here and there which they call beaches, surely it is nice to go for a little night swim and may be sunbathing, but generally you shouldn't go to Kotor if you are interested in a high quality beach vacation. However I forgot about any need of sun and sea next moment I stepped into this magical city! I didn't want to go outside this walls at all, was studying in inch by inch, I wasn't so skillful photographer at that time, so my pictures I not the best, but I really hope I can share the atmosphere of this place via my pictures.
Kotor is full of interesting people! So you have chances to get in some adventures every 5 minutes. Even thou all life in this small town stops at midnight, Kotor is full of after parties, so just be social and you definitely will find some company.