Follow:
Browsing Category:

Norway

    Top tips for chasing the Northern Lights – Tromso, Norway

    A few years ago for my birthday, Mr Kiwi and I boarded a plane up into the Arctic Circle. Thanks to the joys of social media and bloggers, we had been tipped off that one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights was Tromso in Northern Norway.

    How to find the Northern Lights in Tromso Norway Adventures of a London Kiwi

    We were lucky enough to not only see their elusive shimmers but also spend time under a sky where we could just about touch the milky way it was so clear. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos – I didn’t have a good enough camera then and we were far too caught in the moment – but it’s a memory that will live on regardless.

    Read more

    Share:

    Experiencing the Northern Lights over Tromso, Norway

    Gathered around a Norwegian campfire, 350km into the Arctic Circle, huddled from head to toe in exploration overalls and snow boots we had one of those life-affirming moments. Occasions when you really feel alive.

    We only had to stare into the clear pinpricks of the Milky Way, spread across the night sky in a haze of primordial luminescence, whilst our tour mates clanked about with torches and cameras attempting to capture the faint Aurora Borealis in rolling hazy streams over our heads. You know, those moments.

    The snap crackle and pop of flame licking autumn-dried brushwood, baked by a long windy summer. Sliding hotdogs onto claimed sticks in a barbaric echo of cavemen eons ago, all the while our homemade vegetable soup was shaken vigorously from a thermos, bringing us back to earth with a modern thump.

    A shout went up near the end of our temporary campsite, another possible spotting of one of the worlds greatest natural phenomenon; the magnetic effect sunspots have on our Earth’s atmosphere, creating surreal plays of light and colour across Scandanavian skies.

    The Aurora Borealis.

    After hours of fruitless navigating through tumultuous rain clouds and pregnant winds, the only clear window of the evening finally braved our eager eyes. We had travelled for miles, not just that evening but from nations all over the world, hoping, praying for a glimpse of the nebulous Northern Lights.

    To the east, a faint green glow began to spread across the sky. Our guides shouting to us in their hungry excitement as the heavens began to shift in a shimmery glaze. There we were, stood in the middle of an Arctic pasture, heads agog, necks protesting, as one of the Earth’s greatest spectacles unfolded before us. As the native Saami people phrase it, we witnessed “the fire lit by a bird, the Siberian Jay”.

    Demure, but incredible nonetheless, we stood amidst the clicking, clanking and whirring of electrical equipment photographing the dancing colour, content to simply appreciate these astonishing moments. Not wishing to be kidnapped by the Lights, we kept our handkerchiefs safely stowed in pockets and whistling to a bare minimum – to avoid spoiling the Norwegians’ childhood ghost stories for future generations if nothing else.

    Before we knew it, they retired back to their celestial homes. 

    We shuffled through the pitch black darkness to a Saami site where trade camps are pitched all summer long, to lay that fire and talk nonsense. No-one really spoke of the Lights, as if it was almost taboo. Our grinning hosts, one a gregarious Glaswegian, the other a no-nonsense Norwegian Mama whose brood seemed to include these ethereal flickerings, broke open a celebratory tin of Shortbread and Jaffa Cakes (“Aurora Jaffa Cakes” I was assured with a theatrical wink) and a wee dram of Whiskey to warm us from the tops of our heads, to the tips of our toes.

    And that, that was how we experienced the Northern Lights in Tromso.

    Share:

    Fjord Cruising, Norway style

    Hopping out of our hotel, we walked approximately 15 feet and boarded the boat that had been cheekily winking to us from the window corner of our hotel for 3 days. We then glided around the breadth and length of Tromso’s main island, mentally checking that it really was 

    a) actually Monday morning 

    b) we weren’t dreaming & 

    c) we were gliding around arctic seas 350km into the arctic circle

    Fjord Cruising, Norway style - Tromso

    Fjord Cruising, Norway style - Tromso

    Fjord Cruising, Norway style - Tromso

    Fjord Cruising, Norway style - Tromso

    After spotting the ability to catch a more sea-based view of the stunning Tromso on Van’s blog, we had hunted around until we found one that suited our non-committal hearts – we didn’t fancy being stuck onboard a massive ship rammed with people, though on reflection it probably would have been nothing like this – so we booked a 3 hour leisurely punt.

    Fjord Cruising, Norway style - Tromso

    Fjord Cruising, Norway style - Tromso

    Fjord Cruising, Norway style - Tromso

    Our only regret was not being brave enough to hire a car (I’m such a wuss when it comes to driving) and drive right up to the Fjords, so beautiful in the distance; or step onto a longer cruise to explore more places indepth. There are 50 minute busses to the Fjords from Tromso, but we hadn’t quite left ourselves the breathing time to do it the next day before flying home, dragging our sad suitcases behind us…

    Share:

    Tromso wandering, Norway

    Chasing the Northern Lights was our main reason for exploring Tromso, but it’s a pretty city all in it’s own right. Blessed with clear blues skies for most of our trip we. couldn’t. stop. taking. photos.

    Tromso wandering, Norway - Adventures of a London Kiwi 

    Literally just sat at the window sill with a chair pulled up to the prettiest view from our waterfront hotel room, we spent a lot of time just watching the port boats slip in and around. Cup of tea in hand, and freshly made waffle in plate (complete with Strawberry jam & the infamous Norwegian brown cheese) life felt pretty good (even after a flight with a horrendous hangover – take it from me, do not fly with a hangover – it feels as though someone is bouncing on your stomach.)

    Tromso wandering, Norway - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    The next morning dawned, with gorgeously clear skies again so we took to the pavement. Armed with Van’s blog recommendations (definitely check out Snow in Tromso), we enjoyed a day of puttering. Exclaiming at the glassy water, laughing at our breath forming in front of us, admiring the incredible Fjords that hug each view from the island and shivered in the cool crisp 5°C temperatures.

    Tromso wandering, Norway - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    We popped into the Polarium, a cool marine mammal exhibition (though sadly no Arctic hares to the bizarre request of the Mister – where he got the idea that there would be hares I have no idea)…

    Tromso wandering, Norway - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Tromso wandering, Norway - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    …and stared into the glassy harbour depths, watching shoals of small fish dart to and fro, and jellyfish slowly parachute through the water.

    Tromso wandering, Norway - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    We wandered over the bridge linking Tromso with the mainland, and although we sadly couldn’t enjoy the views from the cable car due to maintenance, we walked to the Arctic Cathedral, a modern beacon on the hill (shaped like the nearby the rocky island of Håja, and Iceberg, Sami tent, boathouse or fish-drying rack – you pick) and rather loved the view looking back over the frosty island of Tromso.

     The Arctic Cathedral, (Ishavskatedralen) Norway - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Our noses suitably nipped, we danced our way back over the bridge to watch the early-afternoon sunset.  

     Tromso wandering, Norway - Adventures of a London Kiwi

     

    Share:

    Tromso, North Norway

    We fell in love with Norway from a height of 30,000 feet. Flying from Olso to Tromso, a small island city 200 miles into the Arctic circle, we couldn’t believe our eyes as volcanic plateaus, fjords and deep green ocean unfolded from our small aeroplane window.

    Tromso, North Norway - Wanderlust Travel Adventures of a London Kiwi
    The view from our Tromso hotel. Not so bad eh.

    Our seatmate giggled at our flurry of photo taking, pausing from her book to say “oh, is this your first time then?” before welcoming us to her favourite city in the world.

    Tromso, North Norway - Wanderlust Travel Adventures of a London Kiwi

     

    Tromso, North Norway - Wanderlust Travel Adventures of a London Kiwi

    What a glorious view!

    Tromso, North Norway - Wanderlust Travel Adventures of a London Kiwi  Tromso, North Norway - Wanderlust Travel Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Have you been?

    Tromso, North Norway - Wanderlust Travel Adventures of a London Kiwi

    All of these photos are SOOC (straight out of camera) and I haven’t touched a thing on them (bar a touch of judicious cropping). The quality and changeability of light in the Arctic Circle was simply incredible.

    Tromso, Norway - Five places I'd like to visit again - Adventures of a London Kiwi

    And these don’t even scratch the surface of a most surprising holiday…Tromso, North Norway - Wanderlust Travel Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Share: