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June 16, 2013

Colorful buildingsWe got off the ship in the city of Longyearbyen. It was founded in 1906 by John Munroe Longyear, a US citizen who was the main shareholder of the Arctic Coal Company. It has a population of 2000 and is the seat of local government - Norway's main administrative center on Svalbard. It developed as a mining company town and coal mining is still the primary industry. The coal is of exceptional quality and they export over 50% of what is mined. The city has a color consultant that determines what color any building or house can be painted. They use the colors found in nature and want the buildings to be bright.

Before heading to the airport for our flight to Oslo, we visited the Art Gallery and Museum. Both gave us a great picture of life around the area in the winter when there is no sun. On a clear night when the moon is shining and the aurora borealis gives a light show, it looks like a stunning place to see. But at 30 below, who wants to go out to take photos! ChildrenThe population of Longyearbyen is rather young, including families with small children. Locals are very fond of outdoor activities. Since there are no roads between the settlement areas on Svalbard, snowmobiles and boats are a common means of transportation. Arctic Reindeer roam freely throughout the town and there are signs warning of Polar Bears, though we didn't see any.

From Longyearbyen, we flew to Oslo. For most, it was the end of a great trip. For us, we decided to spend three days in Oslo before flying home.

To view more photos from Longyearbyen, please go to Longyearbyen Photo Gallery. To read about the next location visited, go to Oslo.


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