Spitsbergen is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Svalbard, the Norwegian name of the archipelago, constitutes the northernmost part of Norway. Over half of Svalbard is covered by glaciers. The polar night lasts from October 26th to February 14th, and the island has midnight sun from April 15th to August 26th. Svalbard is one of the most fascinating places I have ever been to and I fell in love with it!
The particular and unique day light makes Spitsbergen a truly fascinating place, as if we were on a different planet.
In Longyearbyen, between November and February, the sun remains below the horizon, hence the polar night and dark period.
Longyearbyen is the largest settlement and the administrative centre. Although there is a hospital, nobody is born there: pregnant women have to go back to mainland to give birth. Another fun fact is that it is forbidden to die on Svalbard. Due to environmental issues, the cemetery had to close its doors as the bodies do not decompose. Cats are also forbidden as pets on the island.
See the colours of the houses? Well, you could not decide to paint your house purple for example. You would have to gain permission, as only certain colours and shades (taken from the local nature) are allowed. In addition, it helps keep the spirits up during the long winter months.
The reindeer are very docile and do not mind having people around. As a result, they often wander in town without being disturbed by inhabitants and visitors.
To be continued…