Spitsbergen - a Gates of the Arctic. It is from here starts the polar expedition, people arrive here to see - what is this Arctic.
Here reign cold, permafrost and polar bears. Located in Svalbard may only able-bodied population and its children. Birth and death are prohibited by law.
To get to the archipelago can be on the plane. Here there are regular flights from Oslo.
But we had our own way - our plane was flying straight from Moscow to Longyearbyen. A very convenient way - can save a lot of time, and most importantly in this version of yourself on Norwegian territory quite legally without a Schengen visa.
In Moscow, in its own right it has entered a long-awaited spring. But four hours flying the plane, we were once again in the winter. Here it is - the Arctic.
Wrapped tight blanket of snow plains gradually give way to hills, then mountains.
And now it appeared Longyearbyen - the world's northernmost town with a population of over a thousand people.
Now Svalbard two major settlements - Norwegian Longyearbyen (about 2000 people) and Russian Barentsburg (300-400). Even twenty years ago, the population was much higher than the population of Barentsburg Longyearbyen. But alas, alas.
We land in Svalbard Airport - the most northern airport in the world with regular flights.
In general, the definition of "the most northerly in the world" here can be found at every turn. The northernmost university in the world's northernmost train, the northernmost museum and so on. They say only about 150 officially registered the most northern sites.
I do not know arrivals occur on scheduled flights, but here everything was outrageously simple: out of the plane and all.
Hello, the Arctic!
The original plan, we had to spend two days in Longyearbyen. Go on an excursion to Barentsburg, a walk around the neighborhood.
But the saga with the construction of the runway made their adjustments.
In the end it turned out that our flight was delayed by exactly two weeks.
From a conversation with a flight attendant when boarding a plane to Moscow:
- Well, what? You were waiting for us?
- So it has to wait for Saturday.
- We thought that with the fifth day.
So Socrates program, and in Svalbard We spent only five hours before departure at Barneo Ice Camp.
Two hours - a sightseeing bus tour with Norwegian guide and three hours of free time.
Look right, look left.
Very near the airport, is located underground Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the event of a global catastrophe. Here are all the basic seeds.
On view - nondescript concrete building in the mountain.
We pass by, watching him from the window.
First stop at the sign, who photographed all the tourists. Well, almost all.
In fact, now it is no longer relevant and has left only for tourists. The city bears did not come recently. Although still kindergartens more like a fortress, and the doors of the houses is not accepted lock, so that you can hide from the bear.
Yes, and go beyond the settlements is not recommended without a gun.
Between settlements move snowmobiling and dog sledding. And those and others here very much.
We were on the bus was driven first in one direction. Look at the beautiful antenna.
Then in the other direction - to the church. The Church does not belong to any particular faith and inside looks more like a social club.
From the church overlooking the city. All his three and a half streets.
In order to enter into the Church it is imperative to take off our shoes.
However, this procedure has nothing to do with religious rites. Razuvaev in front of the building - a tribute to tradition. In those days, when most residents were working in the mine, it was decided to remove their shoes when entering any room, so as not to bring the coal dust.
Now coal production no longer plays such an important role in the economy of Spitsbergen. Coal is considering transporting literally turns golden. So it is produced mostly for local needs, and the foundation of the economy is tourism.
Next to the church is one of the kindergartens.
Besides him walking around Longyearbyen we counted a couple more. Also, there is a school and a university.
Although officially die in Longyearbyen is prohibited, as burial in the permafrost is associated with certain difficulties, the cemetery is still there here.
After two hours of riding on the bus we finally let out on the main street to plunder the city.
Standard capture the city begins with the telegraph. That is, from the post office. It turns out not only I have such a tradition - to send postcards.
Next on the list: restaurant, shops, museum. All that can surprise a tourist this northern city.
Croy restaurant - the rave in the city. Here come all the tourists to look at the interior. Well, the food is delicious. Prices better not to watch. The prices here and in restaurants, and shops just going wild.
Even signs at the entrance to the bathroom is made in a very original.
And the picture of our table - just captured the imagination and gave roam fantasy.
- Yes, it's a bear had eaten and slept, - assured me Alex.
- This is how I had to eat, so as oblyapatsya?
- Well, he's a predator.
And only seen nondescript man, reconciling it with my version of what a bear today is not lucky.
The theme of the bears fully disclosed in stores.
Write "is revealed in all its glory" language does not turn. While yes, it disclosed. But bears a pity.
Shops in Longyearbyen - is another story. Even in a simple supermarket you can find something interesting.
And another part of the city. Alcohol is only sold tickets for visitors during the three days of the arrival date. You can buy it once.
Local residents also can buy alcohol, but only with special cards, limiting its sale.
We go for a walk on the city.
Walk on it - a pleasure. Amazingly white snow. Ecology here, as usual, is given special attention.
And in the mass of beautiful little things.
Here, for example, a wooden sculpture, dedicated to the mine workers.
Or another. Already made in the metal. A real work of art.
Even a simple stone in the middle of the street - and he was decorated. And now, an unknown animal head looking at you quite lively eyes.
Since animals are generally quite strict. Cats keep prohibited.
But a lot of dogs.
True, too, mostly out of town and out of town in a special kennel, where they are kept in large quantities and used to drive them away.
And in the city with all strictly dogs.
Another kindergarten, some quite huge.
And we go to the museum.
On the way we pass the university.
Here are studying 350 students. Half of Norwegians, half - came from all over the world. Here are studying arctic biology and geology.
One of the compulsory subjects is handling a gun.
A beautiful university. But with the museum, we did not work. It turned out that it is only open until two in the afternoon.
Confined outside inspection.
Time with cultural activities did not leave, heading back to the shops.
The usual assortment of the usual hardware store. Immediately bucket with a mop, then guns, pistols.
What do the Russian people being on the sea? Go for a swim. Even if it is the Arctic Ocean.
Well, how to swim. Though moisten feet. Feet got frozen once and for all.
This concludes our brief introduction to Svalbard ends.
Distributed team loaded on the plane. We fly to Barneo.