Our plane is leaving behind the heavy clouds and the first thing we see are dramatic, rugged mountains. "It's already worth all the way", we are saying. It's June and we are landing 78 degrees north, far beyond the Arctic circle.
Svalbard. This remote archipelago located halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole is the world's northernmost permanently inhabited area. There are no trees, but there is coal. There are several months of daylight and several months of night. There are only 46 kilometers of roads. There are only three settlements with about 2 500 inhabitants - and the only way to travel between them is by snowmobile in the winter and by boat in the summer. And there are polar bears, too.
Travelling to the Arctic is an interesting feeling: one is trying to be prepared as much as possible, but on the other hand we feel that you cannot be ready enough: everything is so different here. Island life is slow, calm and the rest of the world becomes distant, almost banal. A tent is our home and a rifle and signal gun our essentials. We spend to weeks discovering a small part of the island by foot and see all of its forms: majestic mountains, rocky waterfalls, the modest vegetation, snow, moraines and in this season wet soil, too. You are a visitor on Svalbard - equal to everything living here.