If the morning had been exciting, the afternoon that awaited us ahead we did not imagine it at all ... and is that the landscapes that this day would leave would be a privilege for the eyes.
The polar fox in the Svalbard Islands
78º 64'N 16º 27'E Pyramiden
The polar fox or arctic fox (for tastes), is one of those extraordinary beings that inhabits the Earth. Yes in the Antarctica it was penguins that endured the most extreme temperatures on the planet, here besides the polar bear and the Svalbard's unique dwarf reindeer, is this small short-eared animal, flat snout and white fur, the most amazing animal capable of withstanding temperatures up to -50ºC
Pyramiden, if possible, is even more soulless in the afternoon. Being our sailboat docked at the old dock (and completely alone), we have not been able to avoid landing again in search of new corners to explore in the spooky abandoned town. Now we walk by his celebrities "broadways" or huge wooden drawers, today with really damaged boards that even give us some fright and that contain dozens of insulated cables that once provided energy and other communications to the city.
Although the initial idea was to accompany Carmen and Paula to the hotel-canteen where they would take the opportunity to drink something hot, while Jytte, Ibón and Isaac would go with the rifle to the other side of the mountain, a small being among the foundations of one of the nearby buildings attracts our attention ...
It is an arctic fox hidden in the shade! of bluish grayish fur typical of this most summertime season, waiting attentively to some movement that we did not understand, although soon ... !! appears a second !!, this much whiter.
Its size is not more than 50-60 cm long and its main food is certain small mammals and birds. But what exactly are you looking for here? Will it be dangerous? !! His look up from a building betrays him !!
The abandoned buildings of Pyramiden, with rounded chamfers, have turned their windows into a perfect nesting for all species of birds that take advantage until their last break. Any carelessness would be deadly to them ... and when they are around for something it will be.
Although we had not fallen into this detail in the morning, and our plan was different, we can not help but observe sitting next to the hotel, to the point that foxes do not feel our presence and seem comfortable.
They move around us, first two, then two others, but we don't feel intimidated at any time. We are mere observers of a scene that makes us feel really privileged.
They move agilely from top to bottom, through all the facilities of this area of the city, as if they were great connoisseurs of this particular habitat, very different in the polar night surely.
To the "encounter" of the Arctic fox
The polar fox or arctic fox, reproduces in March with up to 14 puppies when there are already litters of small rodents called lemmings (yes, the videogames) that allows them to feed better. Where they cannot find this type of food they must resort to seabirds, as in this case, and for this they have some sharp fangs and with that white or grayish color that hides them between the plants or rocks of the tundra or ice according to the time of the year.
Who knows what kind of diseases can transmit a bite of this little polar fox more like a stuffed animal than a fearsome predator. Maybe it's the only concern we have when they approach us ... !! to such an extent that it seems they wanted to talk to us !!
His gaze remains on the adjoining buildings, waiting for his moment, that which will result from the first carelessness that a bird nested in one of the nearby windows makes it fall into its domains. He watches us sideways… Carmen and Paula are delighted with their new friend!
His patience seems to be very developed, much more than ours ... or perhaps the hunger that is greater at this time of the year because they cannot take advantage of their great capacity to adapt to the coldest times of the year. However, they take the opportunity to play among themselves, even in fights more "rises" tone.
The patience of the human, however, is not so evolved. Ibón, Jytte and Isaac set off for the other "face" of the mountain, armed with a rifle, not knowing very well what we are going to find.
The most beautiful places in the Norwegian Arctic
Today Pyramiden causes a contrast of emotions faced very difficult to catalog. On the one hand it is a disturbing city, dark at times.
On the other hand we are facing one of the most privileged places not only of the Arctic but of the planet itself and we see this first hand as we border the mountain. You just have to think about what this utopian city of communism could represent in its glorious past, located in a beautiful cove, at the foot of that "pyramid" that could compete with those of ancient Mayan, Egyptian or Aztec civilizations, and surrounded by Glaciers of beautiful shades of blue as a backdrop.
An overly ambitious goal would be to reach the peak that gives its name to the city. This morning our guide told us that in that area it is one of the few points where you can get internet coverage from a Norwegian telephone company, and they have even considered riding "a cyber", although there are 40 minutes of ascent and as many of down every day.
It also turns out to define the Arctic landscapes. If Antarctica was the "white desert" and lived up to that name, here we find a "icy desert full of tongues of glaciers in each entree, of steep mountains of barely microscopic flora"
We do not know if it has been mere luck, or if global warming has indeed affected, but the time it is making us is extraordinary. We do not remember the last clouds, although that has directly affected the white surface of these latitudes and the zero possibility of seeing polar bears.
As we ascend we go along paths of sedimentary black earth that centuries of ice and thaw has left in this desert.
The waters of Billefjorden are a calm sea. This arm of the Isfjorden was once a busy route of supply ships to the city that competed with the most famous Longyerbyen and Barentsburg on the other side of the bay.
But if there is something that remains the most wonderful moment of these locations, that which stops time in our travels, it is not its waters, its glaciers or the most extraordinary fauna that inhabits them ... !! moment when silence is so "overwhelming" that it is able to rumble like an "intense" buzzing in the eardrums of a person!! It is that moment when you are aware of the privilege that sustains you.
The girls must be worried. Almost without realizing it, we have lost track of time. The Midnight Sun begins to reflect a different light on Pyramiden, already as low as all these nights. In a few days it will finally disappear, thus ending the season of permanent clarity.
Although we will leave for tomorrow the part that gave access to the mine, we cross the hillside through its high part, walking along the broadways as surely as they did in their day and finding more deteriorated structures of the ancient activity of this Arctic society (to the wooden latrines)
We picked up Carmen and Paula, who have already been thrown out of the hotel almost 1 hour ago because they were going to close. Why will it remain open if there is absolutely no one? We wonder if it really compensates to have this (unique) business in a place like this although we are left with the doubt of its prices.
Jytte tells us that towards the other extreme there is a really unique building, built in a time of splendor and there we go. It is a kind of booth !! made of vodka bottles !!! It is really curious (we had not seen such a thing ...)
The last views of this spooky place say goodbye to a really intense day. The smell of dinner starts from the old dock where we started in the morning, and where our sailboat has anchored all day. !! That not Paula! !!Not!! That you can't call home! Do not insist, haha
Family, friends, readers ... life in the Arctic is not comfortable, but days like today of pure exploration, of exciting ghost cities, of beautiful frozen desert landscapes and of encounters with small polar foxes, are those that show that getting out of the " Comfort zone "not only gives you years of life, but they are also VERY necessary to really feel it.
Isaac and Paula, from Pyramiden - Svalbard (Norwegian Arctic)