Robin's Adventures

Arctic Circle, Greenland, and Iceland
Jewels of the North

Akershus Fortress

Akershus Fortress is a medieval fortress that was used in battle from 1308 until World War II. It is currently used for official events and as a museum.

Opera House

The Oslo Opera House is constructed to look like it is rising out of the bay. Near this building is a glass structure in the water that looks like an iceberg.

Fram Museum of Polar Exploration

We attended a lecture and a dinner at the Fram Museum of Polar Exploration to kick off our cruise of the Arctic region. Inside the museum there were some old sailing ships that we wandered through before looking at the exhibits. Steve really noticed the small doorways and Robin met a new friend.

Next Stop: Longyearbyen

The next leg of our journey took us by air to Longyearbyen, Svalbard. There was a signpost that showed us just how far away from everywhere we really were.

Longyearbyen is also home the the global seed vault. The vault contains seeds for more than 4,000 different species of plants in a fail-safe facility designed to keep the seeds safe in the event of natural or man-made disasters.


Longyearbyen began as a coal mining town in 1906. Today Longyearbyen is a center for education and research and operates a satellite station which downloads data from space satellites.

The town was neatly organized and the rows of houses were colorfully painted. Between the houses the ground was covered with a unique flower called white cottongrass.

We stopped to check out the warning signs that were placed around town to remind visitors and residents to watch out for polar bears.

Svalbard Museum

Some interesting exhibits at the Svalbard Museum focused on life in the harsh northern environment. The first settlers had few amenities as they eked out an existence in the small settlements built on the edge of civilization.

Le Boreal

With great excitement we boarded the ship that was to be our home base during our polar expedition. We settled into our cabin and took part in the life boat drill. Kept expecting to hear the soundtrack from the Titanic movie in the background, but it never happened.

Svalbard Views

As we began our journey around the Svalbard archipelago, the scenery provided a glimpse of the beauty that exists in this harsh polar environment. Glaciers were everywhere and the ocean contained many large chunks of ice.


Ny-Alesund is the northernmost civilian settlement in the world. It began as a mining town in 1917, but not only was the mine unprofitable, there were also quite a few fatal accidents that ultimately led to the closing of the mine in 1962.

There were several attempts to reach the North Pole by flying an airship from Ny-Alesund during the 1920s. The first successful attempt was aboard the airship Norge in an expedition led by Roald Amundsen.

Ny-Alesund Today

There are currently fifteen permanent research stations operated by ten different countries in Ny-Alesund. Everyone carries a rifle in case of a polar bear attack and all doors in the settlement are unlocked so people can take cover if a bear should threaten.