Lída, a wonderful student from Intermediate level, prepared a beatiful presentation about Svalbard (Spitsbergern / česky „Špicberky“). We also had a lovely slideshow with many beautiful images.
It is an archipelago of the Arctic Ocean. Svalbard was discovered by the Rusians and Vikings in the 12th century. But the factual discovery was by the Dutch Willem Barents. The islands and the sea and the second biggest city in Svalbard are named after him.
Barents was the founder of the larger mining coal company. Predominantly Norwegians and Russians lived on Svalbard.
We were on Svalbard in August 2017. We chose August for two reasons. First, we spent all August in Norway near Oslo. The flight from Oslo to Svalbard took only 3 hours. Second, the snow isn´t here in summer and temperatures are between +5 to -5 °C.
We flew to the biggest and the most northen city Longyearbyen. The airport is very small, but it is the last place where a plane can land. About 2 thousand people live in Longyearbyen. They work in services and mining. There are huge reserves of coal and rare minerals in the montains. Coal isn´t mined from the dephts, but miners get into the mountains. It is very interesting that here doesn´t grow grass, wood or flowers. Sometimes mosses and lichen grow there. There are many bears on Svalbard. Out of the city center you must be armed or have an armed escort. You can see mums with prams that have a rifle over their shoulders. We also crossed the city and the surrounding area with an armed driver. It was very nice. Except for the beautiful views we saw white whales and also dolphins.
We saw solar observatory, and Global Seed Vault. Here there are stored several hundred thousand crop varietes from around the world. Also it is interesting that in such a small town there is a university where geologists, geographers , astronomers, polarizers study from all over the world.
We spent one day at the sea. We went to see the glaciers. The boat was quite small for only 20 people. The sea was turbulent. So we were a little afraid. Some of us had a stomach ache. It was an experience. When we got to the glacier, the captain grabbed the ice, put himself into the glasses and poured the whiskey over. Amazon welcome to the world!
From the glaciers we went to Barentsburg. Only Russians live here, and most of them are miners again. After a long time I heard Russian songs – Lenin´s bust at the square and the huge „mupy mur“ on the hill. Also it was very interesting.
I could write much more, perhaps sometimes next time.
Everything was very nice. Just one thing I did not mention. Light all day, sharp sun even at night. For someone who sleeps poorly – the horror. But the local cuisine is one of the best in the world . Yum, yum!
Written by Lída Jelínková, Intermediate