Here's my game plan: Chicago >> London, London >> Oslo, Oslo >> Longyearbyen, Svalabrd. Coming from the US, I couldn't find any flights that came directly to Oslo, Norway, at the very least, let alone Svalbard. I came to terms that this was going to take no less than three flights totaling 13 hours, and to match that with nearly 15 hours in layovers since very few planes come to Svalbard this time of year. I had to work to find a flight that involved the least amount of layover time from Oslo to Longyearbyen, which ended up being quite a few hours of waiting no matter which way I approached it from...
This came as a great time to test out the new phone upgrade I had, matching the new iPhone camera with some picture perfect settings. Svalbard will prove as a great place to test it once I arrive, but nothing better than an airplane window view to start off the trip.
By the third flight, the map on the airplane screen eventually changed to pure blew. North, North, North, soon it was just us and the Sea. Svalbard is up on it's own level as the largest Northern settlement in the world, with a population of about 2,000. I would have to cross quite a bit of Ocean to get there and be number 2,001.
As I waited in my airport hotel room before the final flight to Svalbard, it all began to settle in that I was finally here. Arriving in Oslo was an accomplishment already, but Svalbard will be the final prize. The entire region from Oslo all the way up across the Ocean to Svalbard is experiencing an unseasonably warmer peak than what is normal for this time of year. It is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit here in Oslo, and Svalbard is not too far off, around 30 degrees. So for those that were worrying, looks like I won't have to be as frozen as I had thought. The core chamber of the Vault is surely going to be far below zero since it is buried far beneath the surface, but I'll just have to make sure not to get trapped down there all day!