Arctic Expedition - Day 2, Longyearbyen and environs Oct 1st

So a free day today - no getting on the boat until Monday apparently - which hasn't pleased some of us.  I decide to walk and explore and draw. The walk into town centre is a 20 minute downhill hike, but (ignoring and skirting past the warning sign of danger up ahead) I branched off to climb up the hill to see one of the old mines - a ramshackle wooden building which doesn't look at all safe, and clearly had seen better days, although one wonders if it was ever really safe to work in.

It was strangely eerie, as though the place had suddenly abandoned and all the workers had just dropped what ever they had been doing and left - stuff strewn around it, an old shovel half in the ground as though whoever had been digging had been interrupted mid digging...............  It also afforded a good view down the valley of the town.
Having slipped and edged my way back down the rather steep path I continued walking into town, and after a protracted coffee stop for some really strong stuff (sadly missing at the hostel) I made my way down to the sea shore and sat drawing for an hour (I will photograph and post these another time), before retracing my steps to join a minibus tour of Longyearbyen and beyond and some of the history and politics of a place that is governed by a treaty of 30 countries.
To say the landscape here is awesome is not enough; it is breath-taking.  And we've not out on the boat yet. The mist and darkness drawing in just added to the drama of the place as we drove passed the reservoir - under which lie the only thermals in the area - most of the ground being permafrost - and then on upwards to the tops of the mountains to visit the science research stations that are dotted up in the snowy high grounds - monitors for northern lights activities, satellite dishes monitoring... well I'm not sure what.

I can tell you now - there will be a lot of painting and large drawings to come out of this trip.


  1. It looks extraordinary - what an experience!


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