Well you’ll never guess where I’ve ended up. This message is coming to you from above the Arctic circle as I’m on the island of Svalbard! I’m here to study a course on Arctic boundary layers at the university centre on the island, UNIS. The course is a month long, which made for some rather difficult packing as I need lots of warm clothes.
Travelling up was an adventure in itself. I left from my university on a coach to Heathrow airport, flew to Stockholm in Sweden and spent a night in a youth hostel in an old Jumbo Jet. Then in the morning I flew from Stockholm to Oslo in Norway, then on to Tromsø where we got off the plane, went through passport control and got straight back on the same plane! As we flew north I watched the sun set behind us, it was a strange feeling to think that I won’t be seeing the sun again for several weeks. This far north it is still polar night, the sun never comes above the horizon!
I arrived, tired, hungry and surprised by the bitingly cold wind. Our instructions were intriguingly vague, get on the bus at the airport, get off at the end and find your room in the barraks. The bus set me down in amongst several large buildings over a mile out from the main town of Longyearbyen. The buildings all had big numbers on them, so I figured they must be the student barraks. Thankfully I was right, and found my home for the next month and unpacked.
Next came the fun of meeting lots of new people! But more about that later.