Tromsø or the almost North Pole

I discovered it for you: the almost North Pole! Here are some stories going along with some pictures…that you will look at under your blanket, in your cozy sofa while the hair coming out of my hat was turning into stalactites! (True story!)

Let’s start by the beginning.

We arrive at the airport with another EVS friend when we discovered that we were taking a plane-bus. Which means that the plane had several “plane stops”. We were getting down at the first stop (get your parachutes ready!): Tromsø!

But first and before all, the plane had to be defrost! The plane went to the track when suddenly a machine started to blow flames just like a raging dragon! (I am exaggerating, but barely!)

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We enjoyed a beautiful sunrise over the clouds, sun that we haven’t seen again for four days* (in this text “day” is not related with the time of “daylight”)  – because in the North Pole, in January, the sun is shy even if it provides some light. “Some” but not too much. Night at 2pm.

But when the sun starts rising, it lights 12 mns more each day until the midnight sun in June.

We arrived during the International Film Festival. On the little main square of Tromsø, kids were watching Monsters & Cie under several blankets, by minus temperatures and in the middle of the night (well, it was 3:30pm…)

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In the evening, we joined a tour to hunt the northern lights. We looked like cosmonauts with the thermic suits we were given, in a snow white lunar landscape. I felt like I was not on Earth any longer. Somewhere else, where time doesn’t matter. Better if it doesn’t matter I would say, so you don’t feel the time passing by. ‘Cause you need to be patient if you want to see a Northern light…until a light, or two, or three, rose up from nowhere, dancing, twisting, moving, reflecting his greenish color on the snow, letting some pink touches appear and disappear. You can look at the pictures, but you won’t have the magic moment when the whales were calling in the silence of the fjords and splashing their tails in the water. And when you got closer to the fjords, where the Northern lights were reflected, you could glimpse the shape of the whale coming out on the surface. 18 meter-long…

Breathtaking!

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As we came back at 3am from the Northern lights (it was impossible to fall asleep after such a show !), the day after was more calm. We visited a museum showing different religions. We couldn’t guess which religion was represented which was impressive and aimed at thinking. To stay in the religious theme, we visited the Arctic Cathedral, or Ishavskatedralen på Norsk - that you reach crossing the fjord on a 1km long bridge.

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Went to bed very early. Need to wake up at 5am the day after. What a hard life!

Third day, direction Polar Park!!!!

Nope, this is not a Park where you lead detective investigations but where you find all kinds of polar animals. We had a guide to see the wolves and lynxes closer, otherwise they have hectares to run and it is not easy to see them. We were a bit disappointed to see them through a fence though – only reindeers were free- and the guide made us go in the polar foxes enclosure (but everything has a price in Norway). We could feed them, touch them and take a million pictures.

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But what is priceless in the very North of Norway is waiting for the bus… The snow is reaching your knees, it is funny. But 20 mns later, while the bus should have arrived for a long time already and the next bus is 3 hours later, at 5:30pm (which means all dark in a road in the middle of absolutely nowhere), we started not to laugh that much anymore and started wondering if we should knock to the first door we would find.. And the bus arrived at this exactly same time! Phew!

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We arrived exhausted but happy. The Norwegian friend who was hosting us had cooked something for us. How nice! Whale sauce… Well, instead of having seen it distinctly in the fjord, here I can see it in my plate. RIP, cause it was really good!

Last day was very Christmassy ! There was a snow storm and we thought it would be a very nice idea to go reindeer sledging! What most appropriated with this weather?

This is where I learnt that the male reindeers lose their antlers before December so Santa Claus’ sledge is actually pulled by females! We have not only been mislead about the existence of Santa Claus but also about Rudolph and Cie !

Adventures are already getting to the end. We were a bit sad but full of next destinations inspiration!

We were watching through the window for a last Northern light but there were capricious. One time was enough. And not just any time.  A ballet of lights to the sound of whales. I can still here them..

CISV-ly yours,

Laëtitia

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