High up in the Arctic Circle lies Tromsø in Northern Norway. A place that has all the callings of a big city, but with quaint Scandinavian village vibes. Finding your way around the local bus system is as much of a struggle as walking on the ice-laden roads, but the people are incredibly friendly, helpful and full of enthusiasm for a place that lives in 24 hour darkness for months of the year. Maybe it’s the extra sunshine they get from their summer midnight sun, or maybe we had our tourist shades on, but 99% of those we met, sliding around on their sledges like pros, were clearly loving living where they do and wanting to share it with others.
We decided to head up to Tromsø with the primary idea of the seeing the Northern Lights. Lady Aurora has long been on my bucket list – i don’t need to explain why! I have so many photos (and i mean SO MANY) that i just have to do a separate post on that, but to say we were successful is an understatement.
With only a few days on our itinerary and my travelling buddy being a woman in her late 50’s, i had to scale back my usual cram-everything-in-and-go-activity-crazy ideas. There is so much to do in this place that many probably think of as just cold and dark. Reindeer, husky sledging, skiing, snow boarding, hiking, aurora chasing… The list goes on.
We stayed in some self-catering cabins (Tromsø Camping) nestled at the base of some mountains, which were snuggly warm and gave us that authentic vibe as opposed to a sterile hotel, of which there are many. Of course, we had to walk around a lot more as a result, but that’s how you see the real Tromsø.
The snow here is incredible. Mountains of the stuff. And not just on the mountains. If nothing else, Tromsø shows the world how living in winter is done. And the temperature was actually surprisingly bearable for the Arctic. Thank you Gulf Stream. The coldest we had was -15C while out watching the Aurora. Sure, our toes went numb from standing in the meter-deep snow and we had to constantly wiggle our fingers to keep them functioning, but that is all part of the fun. And you soon forget it when the sky starts to dance.
Although i rarely return to the same place again, i think Tromsø might be the first to break that rule. It’s prime location for the Northern Lights and it’s beautiful mountain scenery make it hard not to already be thinking of next winter adventures.