There was one thing I did not mention in my earlier piece on Pyramiden: there are polar bears roaming around.
America is not the only home of gunslingers: in Svalbard and particularly on Pyramiden, you don’t go outside without a rifle or someone with a rifle. You never know when a polar bear might come charging at you. I’m not joking.
The boat had left, leaving my uncle, me, and two Norwegian ladies for the night. We had finished dinner and retired to the room. The ladies had invited us hiking at dinner — they intended to climb the mountain the following morning. Two problems: first, I did not bring hiking shoes along. Second, my Uncle is 89 years old. Sure, he looks/talks/walks more like 69, but doesn’t climb mountains anymore. He also doesn’t stay up late.
But I just could not go to bed–I was virtually alone on an island in the Arctic Circle in the land of 24/7 sun. I wanted to go out for a long walk. But was it worth risking my life? I did not have my own weapon and the Russians, by this time dousing themselves in vodka, politely declined to loan me one of theirs.
Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one who wanted to explore Pyramiden on my own terms. As I contemplated just going out without a firearm the two ladies appeared and invited me to join them on a midnight stroll.
Invitation accepted! I walked out of the hotel with two armed female bodygauards flanking me.
We spent the next couple hours walking around the settlement, including entering a couple unlocked buildings like the primary school and KGB/communications center. We tired to enter the hospital, but it has been securely sealed. Once a building is sealed on Pyramiden, it cannot be re-opened: at least that is what I was told.
Enjoy the slideshow by clicking Start, but here’s a preview–
I did go outside alone and unarmed the following afternoon for a 20 minute stroll. I felt a bit like Winston Churchill walking through London streets during the the Blitz in WWII. There was a certain adrenaline rush in doing it. Don’t worry, I survived.
Read more of my Scandinavia Trip Report:
Review: SAS A330 Business Class Los Angeles to Stockholm
Lounge Review: SAS Gold Lounge Stockholm
Review: SAS Business Class Stockholm to Oslo (Scenic Flight)
Lounge Review: SAS Gold Lounge Oslo
Review: SAS Business Class Oslo to Longyearbyen
The Advantage of AirBnB in Longyearbyen
A Boat Trip to an Abandoned Russian Mining Island
Review: Hotel Tulpan in Pyramiden
Why Pyramiden is a Must-See (Photo Tour)
Exploring Pyramiden at Midnight with Two Armed Female Bodyguards
Lounge Review: SAS Café Tromso
Review: Radisson Stockholm Airport
Review: Hilton Stockholm