Hear about travel to the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, as the Amateur Traveler talks to Cherie Gonzales from itscheriegonzales.com about her home north of the Arctic Circle.
Why should you go to Svalbard?
Cherie says, “Someone should go to Svalbard if you are adventurous and you love being outside and you want to experience the natural beauty and just really connect with nature without any interruptions. Then Svalbard is really the perfect destination for you. It has new landscapes, new experiences, in the summer.”
“You’ll experience midnight sun, and then in the winter, you’ll experience polar night. And the nature is literally outside your door. The apartment where I live right now, it’s 2 kilometers away from the center of the town. But it’s less than a kilometer walk and you’re already at the start of the trail that goes to a glacier, goes to an ice cave, and all that.”
Svalbard, an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, is nestled between mainland Norway and the North Pole. With its coordinates at an astonishing 78 degrees north, it boasts the title of the world’s northernmost community, housing around 2,500 inhabitants.
Cherie talks about the town of Longyearbyen, Svalbard’s largest settlement, and its modern infrastructure, including hotels, shops, restaurants, and good Wi-Fi. She emphasizes the need to carry rifles for polar bear protection when venturing outside the town. Cherie also provides valuable tips for planning a visit to Svalbard, such as joining guided tours, experiencing local accommodations, and appreciating the natural beauty of the region.
Cherie brings her perspective to Svalbard, having been drawn to its charm despite her tropical roots. Her journey from the Philippines to the Arctic was marked by a stint as a cruise ship chef before she set foot on Svalbard.
Cherie recommends visiting Svalbard during the spring months for more daylight and various outdoor activities. Summer offers opportunities for hiking, while winter provides a chance to experience the polar night. She mentions key attractions such as Plata Fiala for panoramic views, boat cruises to see wildlife and glaciers, and visits to Russian settlements like Pyramiden and Barentsburg.
Svalbard offers a majestic and unique Arctic experience for adventurous travelers seeking a connection with nature and a taste of life at the northernmost reaches of the world.
right click here to download (mp3)
Its Cherie Gonzales
Experience Svalbard Wildlife: An Adventurer’s Guide – Amateur Traveler
John Munro Longyear
Svalbard Buss og Taxi
Svalbard Global Seed Vault
Longyearbyen Craft Center
Platåfjellet: Hike with panoramic view of Longyearbyen
Experience Svalbard Wildlife: An Adventurer’s Guide
Radisson Blu Polar Hotel, Spitsbergen
Coal Miners’ Cabins
Basecamp Hotel | Longyearbyen | Svalbard | Basecamp Explorer
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I am a regular listener of your podcast. We are going to Bormio & Livigno in Italy for a ski trip in February and I’d love to learn more about the region before we go. I looked through your website and couldn’t find anything on the area. Apparently they are hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics there!
Anyway, just a podcast suggestion. They have natural hot springs there as well, and are famous for their hearty buckwheat pasta, cabbage and cheese dish pizzoccheri.
I really enjoyed your recent podcast on Azerbaijan; your guest really took us to places we hadn’t thought of on our visit a few years ago.
We were there long before Covid and arrived in Baku by the night train, getting into the capital city about 5am. Our main problem was finding our way around. This was partly our own lack of maps or useful mobile phone, but also a lack of signage for CBD, city centre, or even Old City. We wandered for hours, basically until shops opened, trying to find the main centre of Baku. And this feeling of being lost got even worse when we did eventually find the Old City, which is as stunning as your guest described.
Our aim was to find a tea room someone had recommended, but with no actual street addresses in the Old City, we were searching for ‘a decorative wooden door in a small street off the main street towards the bottom of the city’. We THINK we found it in the end, and can confirm your guest Emily’s findings: tea in Azerbaijan is mainly for men. My wife was the only woman in the dark basement room we found ourselves in. Tea for us there was served not with jam, as Emily suggested, but with pieces of chocolate, I guess serving the same function.
I’d recommend the place, but with no street address, I’d only be able to say: ‘wooden door, small street, bottom of the old city.’
Many thanks again for the podcast, which constantly seems to trigger memories of our past travels, as well as inspiring us to future trips.
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