Exploring Svalbard: Norway’s High Arctic

Published Date Author: , February 25th, 2016

Arctic Husbands

Through a dense haze my boat follows the sounds of Ivory gulls, rhythmically squawking in a language all their own. I’m nearly dangling off the rail of the MS Nordstjernen, trying to make sense of my new surroundings. The wind is so strong and the air so cold that my tears nearly solidify and glue my eye to my Nikon. My perma-smile attracts the attention of a group of older Germans who wave from the inside lounge and raise their piping-hot coffees in solidarity. Three gulls fly along the railing, and seemingly give me the side-eye as they barely make headway against the strong winds. They suspiciously inspect the goings-on aboard our ship, curious as to what kind of creature we are. I look curiously back and try my best to capture their Arctic distinctiveness, but with one click of my shutter they tilt their left wings down and, like superheroes, dart into the dark mist. I too, with my bright-red survival suit, camera, and parochial wonder set a course for the 80th parallel in Svalbard, Norway and enter off into the dark mist.

Traveling to the northernmost settlement in the world, with a population of around 2,400, is surprisingly simple. Thanks to it being administratively part of Norway, flights from Tromso, Norway to the northernmost airport in the world with public flights, Svalbard Airport, is a short trip (around two hours), and its location is a cheap and quick bus ride into Longyearbyen. Although there are many chartered airlines that make the flight, Scandinavian Airlines and Norwegian Charter are the only companies to offer year-round flights.

I land and find myself face to face with a polar bear, literally. A stuffed bear greets visitors as he stands guard over the baggage carousel. My sneakers are already slipping on the tile floor, and as I regain my footing I look up at the parka-wearing crowd who are pulling tons of outdoor equipment off the belt. A handsome man standing in the corner waves to me, and I instantly recognize him as one half of a blog duo based out of Longyearbyen, The Arctic Husbands. The travel industry brought Stian Kristiansen to Longyearbyen, and he and his husband, Jorge Kristiansen, who is originally from Venezuela, took the (Arctic) plunge North and have been enjoying their adventures throughout Svalbard ever since.

Full Story at Passport Magazine

Norway Gay Travel Resources

Comments reader  One Reader Comment

Chuck - Gravatar

Chuck said on March 14, 2016, 7:44 pm:

Wow! What an adventure. Thanks for all the details. I’ve always wanted to go there. It sounds challenging, but worth it.

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