onsdag 19. mai 2010

Fieldtrip to Barentsburg

Yesterday I went on a trip with one of the classes I am taking here. We went to Barentsburg by boat =) and not just any kind of boat; the Governor of Svalbard`s boat! We were supposed to go by scooters, but the only time that fitted for the Russian General Council of Barentsburg to meet us, was 19th of May. Now in the middle of May, there´s not much snow for a snow scooter to drive on. Also, it is a little bit too much ice still in the fjord for the Unis boat to take us, so we got a ride with Nordsyss!

The boat was really great, it had a really nice day-room where we could stay during the trip. And it was great to be back on the sea again! We had a quite nice trip, there was little waves and mostly sun, but quite windy. I was trying to take a good picture of the fullmares that were following the boat. They are so fast! But I think I finally got one =) I was spending most of the trip on the deck of the boat, it was so great to be in the fresh air!

Looking at Barentsburg from the sea, at this time of year with all the melting snow, it looked kind of sad and shabby... But it was still cool to see! And to walk up the famous stairs they made from when an important Russian visited them a while ago. We had some time to look around, before we met the General Council. When we went into the council-building, it looked so beautiful! It was so nice inside, with a lot of beautiful paintings, a huge chandelier, and granite in the floor and walls. It looked much nicer than the Russian hotel and all the other buildings!

The head of the council was talking to us about the relationship between Norway and Russia, especially regarding Svalbard, and how the society in Barentsburg worked. He was talking to us in Russian, but a translator was sitting by his side, who also translated our questions to the head of the council. While we where listening, we got served coffee and biscuits. It was quite surrealistic, sitting in the beautiful, official building in Barentsburg, with this important man talking to us, he dressed in a nice suit, and we`re sitting there in hiking clothes with our notebook in our hands... But he said that is was a nice change to ahve students on visit, not only diplomats and politicians =) I thought it was really interesting to listen to him, and after 1 and a half hour (did not really feel like that much), we were back sightseeing the town. They opened the museum and souvenir shop for us, so we had a look there =)

Unfortunately the weather turned while we were walking there, it started to rain... But not a big loss for me, since I´ve been there before. But after a small sightseeing round we went back to the boat, starting our way home. On our way we spent most of the time in the day-room watching the pictures we took. It was a really nice trip back to Russia, 40 years ago =)

PS: If you wonder why the houses in Barentsburg look so different, it`s because the buildings made in the different way you find all over Russia. So the represent different regions, with slightly different tradition when it comes to the houses.

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