Top o’ the mornin’, Longyearbyen.
8:30 in the morning, and dressed to impress.
Maybe staying in the pub until last call wasn’t the best idea.
Since it’s time to ride again!
A quick stop by the gas station first.
Which has a splendid view of the town.
And then it’s south. South to the white.
South to the glory.
South to the fun.
Last call. Definitely not a good idea.
Time to carve up the mountains.
Then break out onto the plains.
Then down to the shore.
Lovely beaches this time of year!
Not many beaches have this kind of view.
We have lunch by the shore. Traditional Svalbardian cuisine.
Just add water.
Coffee, turmat, stories, and cell phones.
Next stop…….. Russia.
Well, a Russian settlement anyway. Barentsburg.
A land of strange colors and soviet architecture.
A land with a brewery!
The people speak Russian and Ukrainian. Text is Russian. Cell service is Russian. Bears are Russian. But currency is Norwegian Crowns and U.S. Dollars?
Colorful murals are common.
With combinations of Svalbardian and Russian motifs.
It appears to be some sort of school. José appears to be some sort of tourist.
“The Stele was erected in 1974… to mark the commissioning of… world’s Northernmost skyscraper.”
The Stele reads: “OUR GOAL – COMMUNISM”
And it’s behind the statue of Lenin.
Some of this soviet town is not in great shape.
But the wooden chapel is looking nice.
There’s an anchor thing. Grave? Memorial?
We visit the museum, but it is closed.
I cannot read the things.
But I like them.
They have indoor reindeer.
This hallway leads to 1974.
Some of us are bored.
Some of us are still regretting last night.
Some of us strongly contrast the landscape.
I think maybe there was an Olympic thing here.
If this description has you begging to spend a week in Barentsburg, you’re in luck.
But we’re done here, and it’s time to head back out.
Into… oh, no, white-out!
We hurdle along at 60 kmh, but can’t see anything!
So we stop to check Facebook.
It’s quite white tonight.
After a couple of hours of stressful riding (is that a cliff? is this a cliff? which way is up?), the fog starts to lift.
So we stop to eat some snow.
And let our hair down.
We relax a bit.
We listen to stories.
We are skeptical of some stories.
Some of us ignore the stories entirely.
Then we finish the ride in slightly-less-white, slightly-less-stressful conditions.
There is a squadron of wild reindeer in town when we return.
It started at 600.1. We have clocked almost exactly 400 km.
And we clocked all 400 km at faster than the speed limit.
What does Longyearbyen have in store for us tonight?
We booked a reservation. Svalbard is a happening place.
We know Kroa will be good. Just look at their decorations!
A fine selection of Nøgne Ø!
And a delicious bit of smoked whale meat.
I start with the Porter.
And we socialize.
Until the midnight sun arrives.
When we head down to the midnight beach.
An unusual view at an unusual time in an unusual place.
And I am there.
Back to the pub!