Amphibious Trilogies

Barentsburg alive

DAY 13 on the Arctic Floating University Expedition
Thursday 4 July 2019
Visas, sunshine, dogs, foxes, connection to climate change

The snow on the mountain has melted away since I have been here just five days ago. The sun is shining on Barentsburg today. Visas for reentry to Arkhangelsk are collected in the consular’s mansion. This is the first time without guided tours and presentations since the first landing on Spitsbergen (Barentsburg). A mood change. A sense of freedom.

Brynjar is waiting for the Barentsburg’s Red Bear Pub & Brewery to open. And by the way, the local brew uses pure glacier water. He is drawing in his sketch book. I take a walk northwestwards, away from the centre of the town.

Gambling on climate change. Optimism in the air. Several buildings along the shore are being restored, such as this cow shed.

A brick mason tells me that there’s a big demand for storage on Barentsburg right now. Like others living in the Russian settlement he anticipates an increase in tourism in the future. The brick house will expand the storage capacity for mainly imported goods, but also for export, such as coal and local beer.

On the edge of the settlement an elderly husky dog seeks refuge from the heat of the afternoon sun. Now a pensioner, unable to pull tourists on sledges across the snow and ice, he guards the gate of the husky farm. His name is Canute!

A family leaves their bikes before heading down to the shore.

A family of arctic foxes have a similar idea.

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