visits at the Brewery, the Svalbard Museum, and Polar Exploration Exhibition. Since Kay and I had been there a day before most of our fellow travelers, we had already been to all those places except for the Brewery in which we have no interest. So we elected to go into town on our own, shopping a bit (postcards & such). We then returned to the hotel to await the others and our lunch. The afternoon choices were between a birding walk with Jonathan and a 3-5 hour hike with Kevin. We opted for the birding adventure and were glad we did because we saw several new bird species as well as three really handsome Svalbard reindeer stags really close up. The new birds for us were Barnacle Geese with their big and fuzzy chicks bouncing along with their troupe of many sets of parents. Next we saw the Pink-footed Geese and they also were proud parents of big and fuzzy chicks. Dinner that night was at a very good restaurant for our farewell. The FunkenHusen served delicious grilled Arctic Char (a white meat fish) along with reindeer “appeteasers” featuring fried, grilled, dried, roasted and baked styles—all quite good (I guiltily add). The dessert at this fine establishment was caramel crème brulee with a chocolate square on top. Just sinfully tasty. Following dinner, we were taken to airport to catch the flight to Oslo. All went fairly smoothly except for the delay caused by all our names being on a single manifest rather than each of having an individual ticket. But we all got aboard around 9:30p.m. and landed at Oslo about 12:30 a.m. Back to the Radisson Blu Oslo for about 4 hours sleep before Kay and I had to head to the airport (just a very short walk away from the hotel) to catch our 7:40 a.m. flight to Munich, then Dulles, then Jacksonville where we landed at 7:30 on July 19. A superb experience from Longyearbyen to Franz Josef Land and back. Thanks to Apex Expeditions and its excellent leaders and guides. We are also grateful to Poseidon Adventures and the lovely m/v Sea Spirit for such comfortable accommodations and friendly, efficient and always responsive staff from the Captain through to the many folks we never saw but know are necessary to the running of the ship as a transportation machine, a restaurant and a hotel.
Cheers to all!
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