Tourists were quickly briefed about the fragility and hostility of the arctic ecosystem, and were advised to stay on the path at all times. The tour of the village would have lasted around three hours, which was exactly the amount of time I ended up spending ashore. Not enough time to fulfill a deeper understanding of the village, its inhabitants, their lives and scientific endeavors.
Entrance to Ny-Ålesund soon after getting off the ship. Tourists can be seen reaching the village, with a standing guide dressed in white at the crossing.
The gray building, second to the left, appears to be a coal storage deposit. Ny-Ålesund, like most of the Svalbard, used to be home to a very busy coal mining industry. The industry diminished in favor of scientific research, enforcing a very strict environmental policy providing great benefits for the mostly pristine ecosystem.
The old coal mining train lays abandoned not far from the village center. Its now truncated tracks used to lead all the way into the heart of the mountains and back to the docks.