I always wanted to go in all regions of the world, but by June 2013, I hadn’t been in the Arctic Circle. I have been to Iceland and to Nuuk which is the capital of Greenland, but even then these two locations are not part of the Arctic Circle. I had to go further to the top of our planet.
Then I decided to catch a flight to the island of Svalbard which belongs to Norway and is only 1,300km away from the North Pole.
The largest settlement is in Longyearbyen, which is the capital of the island and is the most expensive place I have ever been in my entire life. Many tourists travel to the archipelago bringing with them all food, and in my case it was no different.
Svalbard is well known for being one of the best places in the world to spot the polar bear and of course I could not miss the chance to try to see Earth’s largest land predator up close.
One day on the island, I decided to explore the outskirts of the capital. It is not recommended to leave the village without a weapon, as bear attack can happen. Recently, two girls who were in the same place I was going, got attacked by a polar bear. One of the girls died and the other had to jump off a cliff to avoid being killed by the animal. The second survived, but the psychological damage of seeing the best friend being eated by a polar bear is irreversible.
Even though I knew the risks, I did. My adrenaline for adventure sometimes is higher than my reason. I was alone and didn’t even have a gun. The only thing I could do was run desperately. For this I kept my vision always on the horizon, never lowered my head, or else I could also become bear food.
After a few hours, I found an older man with a large white beard. He was alone with his dog. With a surprised face, the man asked me? “Are you here alone and without a weapon?” You can only be crazy! Well, what could I say? Anything. This man was right. I should not be there, but on the other hand I was happy to meet him.
We spent the day together exploring the area. We went on plains with snow, crossed frozen rivers, climbed mountains and more. I learned a lot with this experienced man. I was glad to have made this friendship and I know that he was also, because I was the first Brazilian that this man was talking to and he was very curious to know more about my country.
We returned to the village at 11pm, unsuccessfully to have spotted a polar bear. We sat on top of two rocks and waited until 00:00 to admire the midnight sun.
The next day I went to a place where I was offered a dog sled ride to the tourists. I didn’t want to pay to do this attraction. So I offered the owners to work the day in the place, since I had experience with the animal, because at the time I owned 15 dogs in the farm in Brazil. We were in high season, and of course my skills were required. What a perfect day! I spent the night working and playing with over 30 huskies.
My time on Svalbard Island was precious. I treasure the memories. A place recommended for all those who want to adventure on top of the world.