Thursday, 6 September 2012

A dream comes true!

For so many weeks and month we were looking forward to or dreaming of this journey – and now the trip started – it started with sunshine in Longyearbyen – could you imagine a better start of a cruise?
We began the day with a guided tour through the city of Longyearbyen. Longyearbyen is the administrative center of Svalbard with a population of app. 2000 people. The city lies at the shore of Adventfjorden at the west coast of Svalbard. The city was founded in 1906 when the Arctic Coal Company started its operations there. It was named after John Munroe Longyear, the owner of the coal company. But Longyearbyen was also an important place in the history of the North Pole Expeditions. So started Amundsen his very well known and successful expedition with the Zeppelin constructed by the Italian Nobile to the Pole. Today Longyearbyen is an important place for scientist from all over the world. They find here the best possibilities for their arctic research.    
At 12.00 am we went onboard FRAM. After the check in procedure and the safety briefing the ship sailed north in the direction of Barentsburg. There we had our first landing. 
Barentsburg is a Russian coal mining settlement on Svalbard. It is after Longyearbyen the second largest settlement in Svalbard with app. 400 inhabitants. Most of them are working in a Russian-owned coal mine.
In groups the passengers were guided through the settlement and learned a lot about the history and the present life in a city so far in the north.
Some inhabitants prepared a wonderful show with dancing and singing for the guests in their culture house. 
Our first day onboard ended after a nice dinner buffet with the Captain´s welcome cocktail. Most of us went to bed very early as the last night in the hotel in Longyearbyen has been very short and the day was filled up with so many new impressions, that we had to sleep to be well prepared for our next expedition day.