Day 6: a race against the dawn

All good things must eventually come to an end. The same must hold true also for our trip to Svalbard.

When we left Longyearbyen at 02.25 AM, the sun was low on the horizon, but still visible. I was wondering whether or not we would have a brief “night” while flying to the South, where there is already a sunset every day.

That did not happen however, and our last day on this trip lasted even longer.

We did not go to sleep before leaving, as our flight was in the “dead of night”. This meant I did not get almost any sleep until arriving in Italy, with the only exception of a quick nap at the Frankfurt airport lounge (probably the only place of happiness in that god-forsaken airport).

Gloomy weather and sad faces as we left our hotel

The day started in a rather auspicious way for the Longyearbyen Pride celebrations: thanks to some rain all over the town and some sunlight breaking through the clouds every now and then, you could spot many rainbows in the morning.

Some rainbows were quite faint, some others were a lot more visible

After a lazy morning, useful to preserve as much energy for the night as possible, we decided to check out the North Pole expeditions museum, a small gem in the small town of Longyearbyen.

There we learnt all the interesting stories about the race to the North Pole in the early 20th century. Stories shrouded in equal parts of legend, tragedy and intrigue.

The story of Umberto Nobile and his expeditions on the airships he designed, Norge first and Italia later, were particularly impactful. We also could read a lot of original documents in Italian, which immensely added to the immersion.

If you don’t know what happened, do yourself a favour and go down this rabbit hole on Wikipedia or wherever you get your history lessons.

The Italian flag is dropped on the North Pole during its “discovery” by the Amundsen – Ellesworth – Nobile Polar Expedition

In the evening we treated ourselves to a fantastic dinner at the Huset restaurant, which is home to one of the largest wine collections in the world, counting more than 8000 bottles and a wine list over 30 pages long. Quite impressive for a place like Svalbard!

Each dish was an experience, and was accompanied by its own wine pairing. As there were six dishes plus a couple of extras, you can understand that the walk back to the hotel was not as easy as the walk to the restaurant. But oh was it worth it!

The entrée was served on a 60-million-year old fossil similar to the ones we picked up a couple of days ago

It is difficult to express how much I will miss being here with Laura. It’s been an amazing experience, the adventure of a lifetime, and the beginning of something beautiful.

I hope I’ll be able to share more in the future. For the time being, I’m grateful to all of you who have followed my stories here. Please keep in touch with me and this blog. It means a lot to me.

Takk, thank you, grazie a tutti.