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Svalbard, the Arctic pearl.
January 29, 2002 1:13 AM   Subscribe

Svalbard, the Arctic pearl. It appears Svalbard has a tourism industry, a pretty good FAQ, some cold weather, but not that cold, since the Gulf Stream terminates there(scroll down to map). The Polar bears are being studied for PCB accumulation, which strikes me as interesting, considering the location of Svalbard. Granted, it's not out of the way, like Franz Josef Land, but then they don't have Restaurant Nansen, do they?
posted by dglynn (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
More cold stuff from Norway: Norwegian explorers, Roald Amundsen, Erling Kagge, Børge Ousland... What makes them so tough? (And with the current generation largely consisting of overprotected welfare-receipients; will similar expeditions ever happen in the future?)
posted by dagny at 3:14 AM on January 29, 2002


Just watch out for the armored bears.
posted by NortonDC at 4:17 AM on January 29, 2002


(And with the current generation largely consisting of overprotected welfare-receipients; will similar expeditions ever happen in the future?)

dagny: I think that's a misrepresentation. "The welfare system in Norway is made to take care of all the inhabitants of the nation, 'from the cradle to the grave.' From the day they are born, all Norwegians are members of National Social Insurance. Being a member of the National Social Insurance is in fact mandatory...The welfare system is run by the state. Norwegians have a loyal, friendly relationship with the state, as it is looked upon as someone you can turn to for help. Receiving welfare benefits is not regarded as shameful; it is something everyone receives and takes advantage of. "
posted by Carol Anne at 5:19 AM on January 29, 2002


What makes them so tough? The article never says other then they spend a lot of time hikeing, skiing and generally being active in the outdoors.
posted by stbalbach at 5:58 AM on January 29, 2002


Well I, for one, feel very much like ambling over some Summer day. Now if only I could decide which bar is more me...

Funken bar
Funken Hotell
Tel. 79 02 62 00
Fax 79 02 62 01

Stuffen bar
«Huset» Longyearbyen Grill and Restaurant
Tel. 79 02 25 00
Fax 79 02 18 44
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:38 AM on January 29, 2002


> And with the current generation largely consisting of
> overprotected welfare-receipients

Big government pays for explorers. Pure, rotten, hard-hearted capitalism doesn't waste money sending a lot of men and women out traipsing about collecting ices samples.
posted by pracowity at 6:38 AM on January 29, 2002


Miguel. I know! It's a crazy idea, but it just might work: you could try...both!
posted by rodii at 6:42 AM on January 29, 2002


Carol Anne; I live here, you don't have to tell me.

And pracowity; surely you could notice the logos on this page.
posted by dagny at 6:45 AM on January 29, 2002


"Not that cold" is relative only to expectations. The median temperature in July is 6C, or around 45F.

For some reason island enclaves fascinate me, although I know I'd never enjoy living on one for long. (Summers, perhaps. With satellite TV and internet.) It's interesting that the treaty grants sovereignty to Norway, but significant rights to treaty signatories (probably mostly about whaling at the time, now mostly oil and mineral interests). And it's pretty shocking that someplace this isolated didn't escape WWII -- with the Allies seizing it from Nazi-occupied Norway, the Germans sent U-boats to shell the towns to the ground.

Today, almost certainly, there are NATO equipment installations designed to keep an eye on Russian submarine movements.

Anyway, if Svalbard is too cold for you, you can always check out Denmark's Faeroe Islands, or the UK's Shetlands. If you don't want to leave the US, there's always the Aleutians.
posted by dhartung at 6:49 AM on January 29, 2002


> surely you could notice the logos on this page.

I was thinking more of real explorers like the teams of scientists living on government bases in Antarctica, not the stunt men.
posted by pracowity at 7:20 AM on January 29, 2002


dhartung

Anyway, if Svalbard is too cold for you, you can always check out Denmark's Faeroe Islands, or the UK's Shetlands.


I strongly recommend that you *don't* try the Shetlands, both of my grandparents on my mother's side are from Unst (the most northerly island), and the most significant impression that they have left on me is hairy toes and a vestigial tail. Damn narrow gene-pool.

In all seriousness though, and knowing next to nothing about the mechanics of wind-chill, I travel from the UK to Scandinavia for business all the time, and usually find that despite being atmospherically colder in Sweden or Finland, it usually feels a hell of a lot nicer than wet, windy London. This even applies to beautiful-but-wild Åre in the middle of January (it's a Swedish ski-resort, not a million miles from the Arctic circle...)
posted by bifter at 8:08 AM on January 29, 2002


The Swedes say that Norway is the last communist country, but what do the Swedes know?

I am moving to Oslo next month, looking forward to it, may even end up in Svalbard if I can find a job there, with 0% tax.
posted by mook at 11:49 AM on January 29, 2002


you can always check out Denmark's Faeroe Islands, or the UK's Shetlands

Yes, the Shetlands! You'd be just in time for Up-Helly-Aa!


posted by rodii at 11:59 AM on January 29, 2002


Probably off topic, but couldnt resist it:

"In Sweden, it seems, there is a prohibitively stiff tax on alcohal. When Swedes come to France, where booze costs approximately half of what it does in Scandinavia, they are apt to overindulge, and as Twight puts it "get wicked out of control". They start fights, trash rooms, and become extremely unruly. As a result, the Chamoniard innkeepers see a Swedish passport they usually say 'I am sorry, but I just remembered that all the rooms are already taken'. Things have degenerated to a point where Swedesh businessman recently bought some hotels in the village of Argentiere, a few miles up the valley, just so their countrymen would have a place near Chamonix to sleep; nowadays, during ski session, Argentiere turns into a veritable Swedish colony."
(From Eiger Dreams by John Krakauer)
------------------------------------------------

If you want islands that are sunny, but remote try the other hemisphere. There are gorgeous tropical islands in Asia. I grew up in Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal. We had electricity from 8am to 11 am and 5 pm to 11 pm, no TV and newspapers used to come in lots once every fortnight. Things are a lot different now, but the beaches are mostly still pristine and the forests unspoilt.
You won't find any bar though ....
posted by justlooking at 3:39 PM on January 29, 2002


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