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Three hours by plane to Svalbard, then three hours by open boat, and you find yourself in the northernmost abandoned city: you are in Pyramiden.
It is the very definition of creepy: abandoned homes, buildings, and schools, still with furniture, clothing, and schoolbooks inside – untouched since the settlement was abandoned in 1998. If the decision to abandon the settlement was sudden, its implementation was even more so. The inhabitants were given just hours to pack their bags and leave. Remnants of that hasty departure are visible everywhere, giving the town an apocalyptic feel.
Painted on the wall of the abandoned school is a scene from a fairy tale. For a moment, you can almost hear children playing and laughing. Then it fades, like a dream. Up here you will find fertile ground for your imagination.
A large block of flats, once homes to miners and their families, has been taken over by loud predatory sea gulls nesting on window sills. The metal boxes you see on the windows are fridges. Traditional refridgerators were not needed – in June, temperatures are rarely higher than 3-8 C above zero.
What nature gives, nature takes back. This is well-illustrated in Pyramiden.
About 100 miles northeast of Longyearbyen lays the mighty glacier Nordenskiöld. A vast destination where only the seals, polar bears, ptarmigan and arctic foxes live. Perched at the edge of the glacier lies Basecamp Nordenskiöld Lodge. To reach this secret escape we travel across shiny glaciers and by sharp mountains, toward the little frozen bay and our true expedition cabin.