RE: Where to surf?
When I was in Longyearbyen last year (2004) I did not manage to discover an internet café as such. I solved my personal communication needs by way of befriending the staff at a certain guesthouse in Longyearbyen, which would then let me borrow the internet pc set up in their lobby for use by guests. However, I am not sure such a solution is recommendable for everyone. I don't think the Longyearbyen tourist office offered internet access for anyone at the time when I was there. I remember the lady showing me her screen when I wanted to know the weather forecast. Other guesthouses may offer some kind of internet access, but I did not explore those options. Perhaps an internet café will have sprung up in the Lumpen shopping centre over the wintre but that is doubtful. Possibly the public library in the Lumpen centre could offer access but unfortunately they are not open on Sundays as I recall it.
E-mail me if you want to know the guesthouse that I visited - as I think it would be counter-productive to publish that kind of information publicly.
Actually your best bet might be to get your own PDA and set it up to download email through your mobile phone if you have that kind of money.
Mobile phone coverage is perfect in the area from Longyearbyen to the Airport and quite good in most of the Advent valley. You can even get very good coverage in the Adventfjorden and the parts of Isefjorden that are near the route to Barentsburg and Grønnefjorden. There may be coverage further out but I have not had the chance to verify this. The quality of coverage is excellent and I seem to remember that they also offer GPRS services, which would indeed enable you to download and send email over the mobile phone. Reaching Italy should not be a problem but it will probably be prohibitively expensive if you intend to use a SIM-card from your native counry because of international roaming charges.
Please feel free to write me with any further questions that you may have regarding Svalbard. I will be going up there again myself from the 20th to the 30th August it could be fun to perhaps meet up.
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