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.