Returning from the North Pole!
FRAM docked at Longyearbyen around 1am this morning. Richard is up early to see Neil and Eileen safely on their way. They're taking a 4.50am flight to connect back to Manchester. Back to bed for a couple of hours and then up for breakfast and to help with luggage. Our local guide, Doreen, meets us at the quayside at 9am and we board our privately chartered coach and wave goodbye to the FRAM team. The Hurtigruten crew and Furlongs team have a "special wave" but it's a secret so we can't possibly disclose the details here! Doreen looks at us as if we are all mad. Which we are. Our flight home departs mid-afternoon so we've planned an interesting morning in and around Longyearbyen. First stop is Svalbard Huskies. The owner, Robert Nilsen, runs his dogs in many of the long distance races in Norway and further afield. He gives a very informative introduction to the dogs, sledges and buggies that they pull. Doreen serves coffee and biscuits around an open fire and then we're able to meet the dogs, all of whom are all friendly. Five puppies were born in June, so they are a major attraction. Richard knows that Dawn would like to take one or two home, so he warns Robert to do a double count before we leave. From here we visit the Longyearbyen Community Church, which is used by all religious groups for social events and concerts, and then he head "downtown" for some free time for lunch and shopping. From Longyearbyen Airport we fly via Norway's Arctic Capital of Tromso, down to Oslo, and on to Heathrow.
We've enjoyed a great expedition aboard a fabulous ship, with great company, excellent food, fantastic scenery, and a fair share of polar bears!
Happy memories from time spent on top of the globe, just a few hundred kilometres from the Geographic North Pole!