It's very easy to go overboard on the superlatives when you're up here, but the fact of the matter remains that it's true. This is truly an amazing place and it's very hard not to have a really great time.
Let's use this last week as an example.
I had a buddy from Germany come visit me and while I had to work for half his stay, I did manage to pull some crazy stunts and do some awesome stuff while I was off. I had a great four course dinner at my job (the chefs are really, really good) last Saturday with a bunch of other co-workers and other mates, spent a lot of time down in the village and also managed to pull a full work-week in 3,5 days... in other words, I was busy.
But the real fun (for me) didn't start until Wednesday when my four day weekend started. First, we rented some ATV-s and goofed around for a couple of hours, trying to take in as much as possible of the 50 km of road we have up here. This proved to be quite the challenge, since they don't go much faster than 80 km/h, not really enough for our extended tour.
Then came Thursday and with it our true highlight of the week; a two day tour of Barentsburg. So we got up early and headed out on the Polargirl with not very many other passengers. A few hours later we arrived and were left behind with a two Danish guys and our guide from St. Petersburg for company. We then headed out on a great exploratory trip in which we even managed to find a passage into the coal-mine; apparently a feat only a few outsiders have managed before us.
How we did it?
Well, since we don't read russian and there were no signs in any other language, we simply followed the train-tracks into the underground. Since nobody was there, unless you count two guys who simply waved at us and let us pass by, we followed the tracks for a bit until we got bored and then we left through the mining company HQ.
Then there was dinner and partying with the aforementioned guys.
The next day we headed back to Longyearbyen and made the decision to take another boat-trip - this time to Pyramided - on Saturday, which would be my buddies last day here. So off we went, to visit this abandoned ghost town. Tres cool! Pyramiden used to be the creme de la creme site up here and you could really see the faded glamour of the place; kinda sad to walk around knowing that just over ten years ago there were kids running about, having a good time.
Still, time goes by.
Saturday was then rounded off with a shrimp-fest for dinner and a good old party throughout the night, 'till the airport-bus picked him up at 6 AM.
Then I basically slept through Sunday.
So you see? Even tough this week might have been a compressed version, full of awesomeness, there's just so much to do up here that you'd have to really try to be bored.
And I promise not to take this long for my next update ;)