So finally the day came for our route to head north. A three hour flight from Ottawa with a breakfast which we hoped would not reflect local cuisine: cold toast with lashings of some sort of jam mixed in with a small sausage, and bacon which I do not believe originated from a pig.
Leaving the plane by the back door we all expected to be greeted by a cold Arctic blast since we already knew the temperature was a balmy -24°C. Instead we were pleasantly surprised that, even without our proper Arctic clothing, it didn’t actually feel that bad. Heading into the very small terminal building (2 gates) we a realised there really wasn’t much there apart from a small shop and also that another group of Brits had headed straight out the other side to a known café (They later turned out to be the organisers of the race to the magnetic North Pole).
With nearly two hours to kill we found we had exhausted the interesting aspects of the airport in about 10 minutes, so all agreed that it would be a good idea to wander outside too. Though we didn’t really need anything to eat (follow the hearty breakfast from earlier) we though we better not miss what might be the best café in the Arctic.
After a few hundred yards, hats and gloves were donned and coats tightened, but still felt relatively warm so pressed on in search of the café, or any other features of interest. Alas the café was never found. We did however find a Tanning Salon (perhaps the most northerly in the world?) but by this time the thought of disrobing was certainly at bottom of everyone’s list so all agreed we should turn around and head back. This time with our faces straight into the wind which none of us realised had been blowing from behind on our outward journey. I can’t claim it was like Scott of the Antarctic but we all learned a good lesson about wind-chill and the need to wear proper gear up here. Fortunately we were back in the terminal within about 5 minutes, due to quick walking, and after some rubbing of hands and feet the fear that we might have got frostbite on our first outing receded.