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SOLITUDE OF THE FROZEN LANDS
Overwhelmingly vast and dramatic landscape that few have seen. Pack your courage and enter the wilderness, as we welcome you to celebrate the solitude of the frozen lands. This highly exclusive expedition is designed for those with a mind of an explorer. For explorers who are ready to step off the beaten track, wish to travel where few have wandered, witness wildlife and enchanting landscapes. For daring travellers with thirst for knowledge, taste buds for local, pure food, and willingness to learn to survive and to live like a local in the Arctic.
DAY 1 – THE WHITE ARRIVAL
As you look out of the airplane window you can see the very northern tip of continental Europe disappear, few even know that there is another land mass further North than Norway. For a few hours you will cross open water, the Barents Sea passes under the plane until you reach the Southern tip of Spitsbergen, the largest Island in the archipelago of Svalbard. From here on towering peaks, broad fjords and rumbling glaciers will dominate the porthole window until you descend in to the Arctic mining town of Longyearbyen, where 2000 inhabitants live in a vibrant and diverse community.
On your arrival you will be transferred for ten minutes from the airport into the town. As you are approaching, you will begin to see the remains of many industries that used to grace the shores of Svalbard. Your expedition guide will begin to unfold the story of the islands while you are treated to Arctic specialities, local traditions and unparalleled service for being so far away from any kind of major civilisation. Dinner will take place in a renovated mining building, one of the last standing at the end of the town. During your welcome dinner, five courses will pass by with a selection of fitting wine. Svalbard history and scientific conversation will be the theme of the candle lit meal. Private transport will be organised back to the accommodation before it gets too late as in the morning your Arctic expedition commences.
DAY 2 – INTO THE ARCTIC WILD, THE LAND OF POLAR BEARS
The Arctic can be a hostile environment with temperatures dipping well below freezing, Polar Bears roaming in the midst and a wild landscape to cross to reach any destination. Although Svalbard may not be for the fainthearted, there have been many systems developed to deal with the challenges faced in the Polar Regions. Thick one-piece suits will be distributed, and your guides are equipped with high-powered rifles. We will be travelling by snowmobiles, and everything we need for the coming days will be travelling with us into the wild, as we leave the civilisation there is no going back.
After a few hours of travelling through the Arctic tundra some foreign objects will appear in the pristine landscape. An arctic oasis will emerge on the horizon, as your specialised team of guides will have set up a camp in the middle of the glacier. Before getting too comfortable you will be encouraged to take a tour with your lead expedition guide, down on to the sea ice to see whether the King of the Arctic can be found roaming in his natural habitat. The evening will be spent around a roaring furnace on reindeer skins, receiving arctic specialities from our camp chef, stories from years past in Svalbard before you crawl into goose down sleeping bags inside four season expedition tents.
DAY 3 – A NIGHT IN A GHOST TOWN
Through the night while you sleep in the wilderness, there will be a team of Arctic guides rotating through polar bear guard shifts, watching over you in the night and making the common tent warm in the morning for breakfast. The basecamp chef will prepare a buffet of local and international food to be enjoyed before heading out on adventure again. The day will start by taking a tour on the sea ice, you will witness the towering splintered walls of ice from the glacier front, that during the summer calves into the ocean.
There is a high chance of crossing tracks with the Polar Bear whilst in this location and all guides will remain vigilant at all times for a sighting. We will travel back up to camp for a light lunch before setting out, crossing coast to coast, east to west of Spitsbergen in a matter of hours. Travelling over a pristine ice cap, taking in the peaks that rise out of the glacier. Your guides will explain the dynamics of the landscape and how over time it has given the shape for the environment around. Fjords will begin to appear upon the horizon where we will descend into the tectonically shifted Billefjord. This is the home to the abandoned Russian town of Pyramiden. A Soviet Russian settlement, that has now been abandoned and left to the elements. One building in the heart of the town remains alive where you will meet on your Russian guide and the four other inhabitants.
When you are so far North the freezing temperatures and the dry air preserve the surroundings and the interior of the buildings like it was yesterday the town’s people were told they had to leave. Strapped to your guide’s hip, a large key chain jingles and jangles in the wind. Perhaps he can unlock a few special buildings to show us what remains of the historical evidence. After the town inspection a Russian feast awaits along with a night in the soviet suites.
DAY 4 - THE WORLD SO PRISTINE
When you are so far away from society, no telephone connection, no internet and the wind whistling through a ghost town, you begin to tune in with the Arctic silence. Realising the magnitude of the mountains, the scale of the glaciers and the real beauty of this amazing nature. The snowmobile engines purr outside the hotel, warming up for the day ahead, it’s time to set out back across the frozen sea wrapped up in your arctic outerwear.
Seals often lounge on the ice, soaking in the sun, keeping a watchful eye out for the polar bear. The animals in Svalbard have been left to their own devices for thousands of years, they evolved with very little human interaction and so act more in curiosity of humans rather than being frightened by our presence. The snow machines propel us along at a comfortable speed, on top of frozen rivers and in valley bottoms. The last Arctic activity to behold is with man’s best friend, Alaskan Huskies. The snowmobile engines are shut down and the barking of the excited dogs will overwhelms the senses. We’ll be picking your team of dogs in the yard under supervision, as each dog knows its place, lead dog on the front. Upon entering the wide Bolter Valley the din of the yard fades away, the only sounds being snow passing under your feet and the dog panting and pulling. There is a slow incline, through glacial moraine and up onto the glacier itself.
In the distance you see your guide begin to slow, putting on the brakes and jumping of the sled. Something is about to happen. You must anchor your dogs, take the rifle with and enter into the glacier. A crystal cave emerges through a series of winding tunnels, a labyrinth that has been forming over thousands of years. Hot drinks and snacks will be served inside that glacier and plenty of time to take photographic evidence of this otherworldly place.
As the sun starts to arc towards the horizon, it is time to leave and head back to civilisation. Back in town a seven course meal accompanied by the findings from a wine cellar with over 20,000 bottles awaits explorers, located at the old cultural hub of Huset where many an expeditions have ended and been celebrated.
DAY 5 – RETURN TO THE CIVILISATION
Waking up in Longyearbyen, this should be a day of reflection for the adventures that have happened over the past days. After a hearty breakfast will be served with your expedition companions, there’s a chance to explore the cultural side of the town. Whether its art, history or Arctic Shopping, Longyearbyen is sure to have some memories that you wish to take with you. Your guides can assist you through the town or you are welcome to be left to your own devices. Your private transfer will get you to our little international airport just in time to catch the plane to your next destination. Looking out of the airplane window, a land that seemed so foreign and hostile upon your arrival, has now become your secret destination of a million hidden gems. Svalbard will be awaiting for you.
YOUR ALL-INCLUSIVE BUT EXCLUSIVE SVALBARD EXPERIENCE
- 2 nights at TravelScapes Hotel Longyearbyen
- 1 night Pyramiden Hotel
- 1 night in a private base camp
- Transfers in Longyearbyen
- 3 day rental of snowmobiles with sled
- Dog sledding
- Glacier walks
- Visit to Ice cave
- Visit to Russian town Pyramiden
- Full-board including meals en-route prepared by your private chef, welcome, farewell and expedition dinners with fine wines, welcome hampe
- Fulltime expedition guide and basecamp guides who are equipped with e.g. satellite phones, emergency beacon, GPS, maps, rifles, flare guns, trauma & hypothermia kit, charging station and generator box, kerosene, oil, stoves, burners and ratchets
- Outer snowmobile clothing
- Arctic sleeping bag, camping bed and reindeer skin
- Expedition equipment e.g. tents, pulka, harness, helmets, crampons, ice axe, shovels, saw
- Expedition insurance
- National park permit
EXAMPLES OF OPTIONAL ADD ONS
- Expedition to the North Pole
- Onsite photographer or film crew
- Dinner with scientists