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Archive for longyearbyen

More to Svalbard Than Seeds

By Linda Tancs

The Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard gained national attention recently when it opened its seed vault to visitors.  The vault, housed deep within an Arctic mountain in the capital city of Longyearbyen, was designed to safeguard seeds for the world’s crops to sustain life in the event of an apocalyptic event.  But Svalbard, which means “cold edge,” and its capital city should be remembered as more than just a “Noah’s Ark” of sorts for farming.  As with other Arctic destinations, you’ll find your fair share of reindeer, polar bears, blue ice and, between April and August, midnight sun.  Also, jazz and blues enthusiasts will find festivals at the end of January and October, respectively.  And around mid-March you can celebrate the end of Arctic darkness during SunFest.  Just like the rest of Norway, though, prices here are outrageously expensive.  Tent-based camping remains one of the most popular and cost-efficient ways to enjoy this northernmost inhabited tip of the world.

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