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Pole to Pole

Day 6: Kap Wik to Longyearbyen

Michael Palin - Pole to Pole'So it's a busy life in the middle of nowhere?'

Harald shrugs. 'Some years I don't see a living soul from autumn to July.'

I ask him if he has ever felt the need for companionship. A woman around the house, perhaps.

'It's . . . er . . .' he smiles at his sudden inarticulacy, '. . . it's not easy to explain in Norwegian . . . but any woman mad enough to come here . . . '

He never finishes the sentence. The sound of a distant helicopter brings him to his feet.

'It's my mail,' he explains, almost apologetically, as a Sea King helicopter clatters into sight across the fiord.

After a late lunch and more stories our caravan is re-packed and re-launched. Harald, smiling, waves us away. I don't really understand why a man of such curiosity, fluency and culture should want to chase animals round Spitsbergen, but I feel he rather enjoys being an enigma, and though he is no hermit he is one of a rare breed of truly independent men.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 6
  • Country/sea: Norway
  • Place: Kap Wik
  • Book page no: 22

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