Monday, June 04, 2007

Newton takes a rest

It's 8:30 pm. I just got up. I have no clue what day of the week it is and can hardly remember that we are some day in early June. But all that doesn't really matter, what is important is that it is a rest day. That means that today we forget about our nomadic tradition of eight hours skiing, we'll sleep, relax, read and enjoy the day as we want.

Well, I have to admit, that the initial plans for today were not only about the relaxing. We happen to be camping just next to the highest peak on Svalbard Newtontoppen. I bet you know how keen we were to go to the summit. But the weather decided differently (snow and low clouds).

Unlike my companions, who can sleep three to twelve hours flat in a row, I'm not really a long sleeper and to keep myself entertained on rest days like today, there is nothing better than The Place Names of Svalbard book (limited edition, ?? , 4kg).

This rather heavy, but very informative book, that Ulli and Kim have been nicely carrying since Longyearbyen, tells the origin of all place names of the island. These names come in an incredible variety, they can be great storyteller as well as they can be extremely boring. I would for example not recommend you to look up what the book has for Flatbreen (glacier in southern Spitzbergen). Well, it just says it's a flat glacier. But I was really excited to know that Spitzbergen also has a peak called Mt.Blanc (only 485 meters high though). Or a mountain ridge named after the French polititian Jean Paul Pierre Casimir Perrier (anyone knows what he did?).

Now get back to Newtontoppen. I bet you know that the peak is named after the renowned mathematician and physicist Isaac Newton. There is even a small knob nicked to the peak called Eplet an allusion to Newton's apple!

Greetings to all of you, dear readers!
A few more ice caps and valleys to cross and we'll be back in the civilization.

Cheers, Lucas

(note from the support team: searchable version of the book is provided on the net by the
Norwegian Polar Institute)

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