Sauna in the wilderness of Svalbard

I have now started with a brand new product in my company FatBike Adventures AS. It is unrelated to the FatBikes, but a great experience. One might break a sweat in this product as well, but in the cozy setting of a sauna.

Yes, outside it can be -20°C and my guests (or friends and I, for that matter…)  are sitting inside with something between +70°C to +110°C. Then the outside temperature going outside actually matters very little, even though one is wearing nothing but naked skin.

I will for sure come with more pictures later on, here just a few to get an idea how the sauna tent looks like. Welcome to the russian tent sauna:

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Impressions Spring

As this developed a bit into a pictureboard I will post some of the pictures I liked best from the past few weeks. Sit back and enjoy some the show of the best time of the year in Spitsbergen.

 

Mine 7 is in full swing, Store Norske Spitsbergen Kullkompani is thinking about reopening Svea also. Here a coal truck unloading the black gold of Spitsbergen. Photographed from Longyeabyens other graveyard.

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Coal and snow on the ground in front of a Panorama of Hiortfjellet.

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Me and a friend went to one of the glacier caves in Larsbreen. There is magic down here 🙂

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Explorer in the glacier cave…

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The beauty of frozen water.

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Longyearbyen was hit by a second avalanche in February this year. Coincidentially, the norwegian police academy came to Svalbard to get some of their police dogs certified as avalanche rescue dogs.

I volunteered with some colleagues from the Red Cross Hjelpekorps Longyearbyen to be dug in under the snow for the dogs to be found. It was a bit more than 5 hours laying in the snow hole…if I would just have brought a book. 🙂

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Book: The Arctic

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I was lucky to get in touch with Jennifer and Eric when they were visiting Longyearbyen on their journey around in the Arctic. We visited the dogyard, went dog carting and had a meal with lots of good conversation. Underway many pictures were taken and Eric is a great photographer. One of these pictures of Troll and me found its way into this book.

I want to send thanks to Jennifer Kingsley for her work and I am looking forward to hold a copy in my hands. I got to see some pictures prior to publication and it looked promising to be a great book.

Winter in Germany

When I visited my family over Christmas there was no snow, but two days of fog and Temperatures around the freezing point created a beautiful frosting on everything.

The sun broke through the fog just around sunset time and let the landscape appear in magic golden light. I collected these pictures on a small walk and got to meet white Galloway cattle, which actually are quite rare in the world.

A frozen heart…

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The hidden village…

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Fruit of seduction…

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Only a quarter of the offspring of white Galloway turns out white as well…so this is one of only few.

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More Winter-Wonderland

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Just postin…

Just now I had to find some marketing pictures for my FatBike tours and started roaming the pictures of this summer. It made me stumble across pictures from an overnight stay this summer with two really cool guys sailing in a race sailing boat around Svalbard at that time.

Sunniva and our friend Thora joined the trip with their super cool scooters for the overnight part. During those two days the three following pictures were taken. I don’t know why, but I got the feeling that I want to post them here.

Picture #1 was taken in Endalen while scrambling up to Mine 5 (which is since recently not allowed anymore).

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Picture #2 is at the campfire in Bjørndalen.

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Picture #3 is also in Endalen

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Autuum weather & Autuum light

This year we are served with extraordinary high temperatures and a lot of rain. Incredible amounts of rain (for Svalbard, where an “Extreme weather warning” is being given for 35-45 mm of precipitation in 12h…).

We just set another new record in “Highest Temperature in October” with 10,1 °C at the weather station at Svalbard Airport which has recordings since 1975. There was a station in Longyearbyen from 1911 – 1977 that had a reading of 9,9 °C in October 1961.

This year is exceptional and of course there is variation. Next year will probably be quite a bit colder again, but it is a long time trend. The last time we had an average monthly temperature below normal temperature was six years ago, in November 2010. Source

 

However, it is the finest time for beautiful light settings. The sun stays so low, that the red of the sunrise blurs into the red of the sunset…all that stretched out over many hours of the day.

This was the view from our flat today, it was really nice with a little bit of frost:

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Here some more Svalbard-Autuum impressions from a journey with the Tallship SV Antigua.

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Smalahovelag (Sheep Head Dinner)

Recently I was convinced by Sunniva to participate in a “Smalahovelag”. “Smalahove” means translated “Sheep head”, a “Smalahovelag” is an event in which a group of people meets to enjoy this dish along with songs and alcohol.

My very first ever encounter with this food was when fetching some food waste that was meant for feeding to the dogs. We opened the cardboard box to see what the canines would get today and a sheep head was staring back at us.

So, when I was invited to this Smalahovelag, I was a little bit… reluctant. I wanted to postpone the decision. Some days later I was asked again, because apparently they had started selling out and people on a waiting list would have liked to have my spot. Wow…it really seems to be popular.

I agreed…for the experience. The event was hosted at Gruvelageret, one of the most unique places in town. A restaurant of incredible ingenuity and atmosphere.

The hosts explained that they initially were worried about too few people signing up for such an event. They then gave us a short introduction into eating this dish and finally announced a price for everyone who would eat the eye, the ear, the cheek and the tongue. We then proceeded with singing not all that serious songs about the sheep, the farmers and eating sheep heads.

Finally, the plates were served:

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The smell is quite distinct and strong, but the most repelling is the looks of it. But let us be honest about it, meat is meat and just because it has a face, it should not be thrown away. It is a lesson in where our food comes from and what it means to consume meat. This dish originates from the times where every single animal was much more valuable to the farmer and therefore everything needed to be used.

The rest of the evening was spent listening to live music and drinking beer at the fireplace.