Monday, 13 July 2015

Tromso, Norway: Northern Lights and Reindeer Sledding

11/3: Tromso, Norway


Tromso is the capital of the Arctic and is surrounded by mountains and fjords. It was the highlight of my exchange trip as we were there for reindeer sledding and to chase the Northern Lights.

Our flight from Oslo to Tromso was at 6+ A.M. and I did not manage to catch a wink the entire night. We arrived at the airport at 4+ A.M. only to find out that the strike by the Norwegian air pilots had just ended about 2 days ago and all Norwegian flights were cancelled. We were stranded for over 10 hours in the airport and only managed to take the 4 P.M flight to Tromso. What a day!

The airline compensated us with a small sum of meal vouchers and we redeemed them with 2 cinnamon buns, a Norwegian waffle, a chocolate muffin, and 2 drinks. The brown cheese had a gamey taste to it unlike the one we had in Oslo and the norwegian waffle was not as good too.

First sight of Tromso on land
We finally reached Tromso in the early evening but the sun was starting to set already.

We booked our Northern Lights Tour on the first day in Tromso and did not expect our flight to be cancelled. I thought I could nap for a while in the hostel but did not manage to as we rushed to make it for the tour right after we checked in. I was so fatigued and on top of that, I was experiencing terrible motion sickness in the car.






 The Northern Lights could not really be seen with the naked eye when they were faint. They appeared more prominent on the camera. We did not manage to see dancing aurora borealis as it was too cloudy :( It was such a disappointment and we made our way back so early at 11+pm. Although luck was not on our side that night, it was quite a unique and fun experience to camp on snowy grounds, set up camera with tripod, and wait for Lady Aurora to appear. We had heard from someone from our reindeer sledding tour that the aurora was really strong at about 3 A.M.:( I'll definitely be back to see the northern lights again and hopefully have better luck with this magical natural phenomenon.


12/3: Day 2 of Tromsø



We were greeted by this lovely pathway when we stepped out of our lodge.

Scenic Tromso

Tromso is such a winter wonderland!

Tromsø Bridge

The Reindeer Sledding Tour was our first programme for the day.

Reindeer sledding is the oldest means of transportation for the indigenous Sami people. These reindeers belong to the Sami people and only they have the rights to them.

Hello deer!

Up close and personal with the reindeers!

Reindeer sledding
Unlike dog sledding, reindeer sledding is at a much slower pace. It was lovely to admire the spectacular landscape as we sat in the reindeer sled. That half an hour ended so quickly!

It was really cold and we had to wear thermal suits for extra warmth. I was the only one not wearing a beanie and one of the Sami even asked where my beanie was haha. I left my beanie behind because the wind was really strong and I was afraid that it would be blown away.

Attempting a selfie with the reindeer

Me and my new pet

and we saw a white reindeer! It looked so pure and angelic.

It was one of the best moments in my life. The money was well-spent and I actually enjoyed it so much more than the Northern Lights tour (probably because I was beyond exhausted as well).


After the reindeer sledding, we rested in a Sami tent and listened to stories of the indigenous Sami.

Sitting around a campfire, sipping on hot coffee, and listening to stories in the Winter has got to be one of the best feelings ever.

The Sami tent was lined with reindeer skins and they have excellent warming properties. We warmed ourselves up with a cup of coffee in hand and some biscuits before having a Sami lunch. It was really interesting to interact with the Sami people and learn about their way of life.

Happy europexplorers!

The view on our way to have a Sami lunch

It was such a surreal experience to witness such a breathtaking beauty.



This was taken before we joined the rest in the hut for lunch. We were too excited about the endless photo opportunities around us hehe.

Campfire

Here, we had a traditional Sami lunch of bidos (reindeer broth). It tasted like potatoes and carrot soup and reindeer meat was soft, tender and tasted like a mixture of lamb and pork. Honestly, I felt somewhat barbaric to be so friendly to the reindeers and then sitting on their skin and now eating their meat :/

Roasted marshmallows
I completely burnt one and our tour guide said that it was perfectly safe to eat burnt marshmallows. Best thing was they were so delicious. Imagine sweet, caramalized exterior and a soft interior with a melt-in-the-mouth texture.

We also had a go at snow sledding.


So fun!!!

After the tour, we went back to explore the city center.
Den katolske Kirke - Tromsø Stift


It was snowing every day.

On our way back to the hostel

More salmon and seafood soaked in salt water which was really salty

After resting for a bit, we wanted to take the cable car up to the top but it was closed due to the strong wind.

Arctic Cathedral

Such a uniquely-shaped cathedral!

View of Tromso from across the river



We walked back to the other side on the bridge and took some photos along the way. It was so windy that I had to grip my camera tightly and my steps were not stable.



Smaller houses around Skansen, the oldest house in Tromsø

Polar Museum
It looked more like a warehouse!

Tromsø Cathedral

 White truffle pizza for dinner at Casa Inferno
Pizza was very good but truffle taste was really faint.


13/3: Day 3 of Tromsø

Breakfast was rømmegrøt which we bought at the supermarket the day before. It is a kind of porridge made from sour cream but the one we had was more like curd.

Our flight was late in the evening so we took the time to take the cable car up to Mount Storsteinen.

Fantastic view of Tromsø

The ride lasted for a couple of minutes. It did not look very high from below but surprisingly, it was pretty scary when we reached the top.

Beautiful little houses of Tromsø


Mount Storsteinen
There was no barriers and the strong wind made it dangerous to venture to the edges.

It was so difficult to take a proper photo too with hair all over the face.



top of the world!

We took a break from the cold with awesome hot chocolate and really yummy peanut snack that I had saved from the Northern Lights tour.


I was so worried that my beanie will fly off ._.



When we went down, the cable car was closed due to the weather too. Luckily we managed to ride it up!

We still had some time so we went to check out Perspektivet museum where there are installations of thought-provoking exhibits which depict the several perspectives of life in Norway.

Last meal here: Reindeer pizza from Pizza Hut at the airport

We took a flight to London before taking the coach bus back to Sheffield. Look at that glorious sunset! We also met a really friendly and humorous guy working at the station there.

Till then, Norway. I'm already missing you.

2 comments:

  1. Hi, nice pics.Seems you had a good time! Which company did you go with on the reindeer sledding tour?

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  2. Thanks for sharing your experience and photos with us. I am glad to see this.keep posting like this.Car rental in India

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