...the world's northern country...

Well, I think that the emotions offered by the Svalbard are not only related to the landscapes, but are mainly related to what they leave inside you during the journey. I think that, in each of us lives, there is space for unnecessary and very useful things. There are people that consider useful “tangible stuffs” and people that think, that a trip, may change their personality, the way how to see things and enrich them internally. All of this, in my opinion, are the Svalbard, beautiful landscapes, immaculate slopes and fantastic lands.

A trip to Svalbard is a particular journey, for those, like me, who love nature and wilderness. You have to enter in the adventurous spirit since, once landed, the Svalbard pull you into a different world, where the day-by-day concepts are overturned, where if the bus does not pass at the bus stop, is a real problem, where there is not the possibility to go for a hike without a rifle, a guide, a gun.

Already on the plane to Longyearbyen, the emotions begin, since, at 00:45 a.m., you can see the snowy and jagged peaks wrapped in a bright daylight. The thoughts are: “Where have I wound up this time?“. The airplane captain tells to fasten the seat belts, we are approaching Longyearbyen, the big and deep North, less than 1’000 km to the North Pole, a jewels between the 74° and 81° parallel. Far far away from everything, the beauty is exactly this. I do not want to narrate about specific excursions, I want to tell about their expressiveness, about the crunch of the glaciers under the crampons, about the taste of the cold wind at the summits, about the birds that follow the boat’s trail, about the puff of the whales, about the drink at the pub and about the silence that hugs you and let you listen your thoughts, yourself. It is exactly here that comes out what it is inside, your internal voice is merged with the barking of dogs, with the waives, with the rain that sometimes hits the face with icy drops. You lose you gaze towards the horizon and you think: “this is exactly what I was looking for”.

The trip started even prior to take the plane, downloading document from internet, with a map on the desk, a cup of tea, some biscuit crumbs on the keyboard and with paper and pencil. I have read on internet a joke that was saying: “I tried to look for the Svalbard in my globe, but I did not find them since they were covered by the pin”. That is exactly the concept behind these islands, you cannot go there by chance for a long week end, Svalbard are places where you have to deeply savor and because you like adventure and uncontaminated wilderness. With my camera and my backpack, I tried to immortalize the emotions, the most beautiful views even if, in each small corner, each peak, each fiord, under all conditions of light create interesting perspectives.

Light, silence, howling of dogs and whisper of the wind in the mountain huts, are what accompanied my during the whole journey. I think that the nature can bring to people emotions and beautiful sensations and I really think that I was able to absorb what Svalbard wanted to tell me discovering places and hidden secrets. Like the abandoned places in Pyramiden, a Russian outpost that, with its nothingness, is able to fill the people’s gazes, astonished and impressed on how, for business and policy, Countries, really push themselves very hard towards progress. Imagining the working conditions of the people “lost” in this village is impressive, six months in a perpetual daylight and six months in a complete dark environment. The abandonment of Pyramiden, leave the place to the wild peaks of Nordenskjøldtoppen and Trollsteinen, to the calving glaciers, to a hut in the middle of the icy peaks where, the only cuddles of a dog are the company within miles, to a sun that does not want to go down.

Flora and fauna united in a single dance able to immerse the traveler in the middle of a perennial documentary. I met a lot of people during the journey, real people with red cheeks because of the cold weather, in every discussion, every shared idea, there was the awareness to be in a magical place where, living together with the nature surrounding us, the citizens have created their own identity with a small hairdresser, a couple of pubs and a very good supermarket.

Enclose in a few lines what a normal guy felt is not easy, the atmosphere, the pictures, the sensations, and the emotions during the hikes, have been lived in the deepest part of my soul with the awareness that, this archipelago in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, is part of all the mankind and it is there to demonstrate that the nature, is ready to astonish us with her power, immense, simple, tremendous beauty.

Alex Battù background image