Pyramiden – If you go down to the bar tonight!

If you are looking for something totally unique then it doesn’t get much better than visiting Svalbard; You can reach this rather remote island from either Tromso or Oslo. The Svalbard treaty of 1920 asserts Norway’s sovereignty over the region. Your reward will be a visit to the worlds most northern island,1500 miles from the arctic circle, and with a year round permanent population. You will arrive in the main city of Longyearbyen. This charming city has a lot going for it. A good assortment of hotels, restaurants and a surprisingly well stocked supermarket.

One of the most popular excursions is to the Island of Pyramiden which has the most northerly monument dedicated to Lenin. It’s no accident how Lenin ended up here.

Pyramiden was once owned by Sweden who sold it to the Soviet Union in 1927. The island became known for its mining activities and at its peak served a population of 1000 people, mostly from the Ukraine. Among its facilities it boasted a cultural center, a theater, art and music studios; a library, a sports center and a cantina which stayed open 24 hours a day. It even had a primary school. On the 31st March 1998 the last piece of coal was extracted and on October 10th the last permanent resident left without their red dress.

Today the island is basically a ghost town with coal mining remnants from its once illustrious past dotted across the island.

Today the island can be visited on a guided tour from the Longyearbyen. A guide of Russian descent and sporting a large rifle will escort you from the dock around the island and to the nearby hotel (all Russian staff) where you can purchase snacks.

Due to the danger of polar bears you will not be allowed to explore on your own. The sea route to the island is equally impressive passing by glaciers where if you are lucky you may spot a polar bear.

Svalbard has the highest concentration of polar bears in he world. Sadly despite our guides best efforts we did not spot any bears but the scenery more than makes up for it.

You will also be served a hearty lunch on board of salmon and also whale (which I couldn’t quite get past).

If you go to the bar on the island beware. Our guide told us that one night everyone was awakened in the middle of the night by a lot of clattering noises. Upon investigation a polar bar was discovered in the bar. In Norway it is considered a crime to shoot a polar bear and you will need to prove beyond all measure of doubt that you did so out of self defense. In this instance the bear decided to leave of his own accord leaving behind a colossal mess and probably a few empty bottle of whatever his nightly tipple was.He apparently never came back.

You can check out what is on offer in Svalbard by CLICKING HERE. , I also did dog sledding which was amazing,

visited the church and don’t forget to check out the museum.

Be aware that you will find these signs once you reach the end of the town. They are not there for photo ops and you are not allowed to go any further unless you are with a fully qualified guide or person who is allowed and competent with a rifle.

Shhhhhhhhh best not tell tinyteddy about this place.

Only registered users can comment.