First of all, Scandinavian airports are like a work of art. So calm, quiet and peaceful with art and beautiful little shops and restaurants everywhere. And the bathrooms...well, lets just say that Asian bathrooms could take note.
So we had a quick layover in Oslo before heading out to Tromso. As we were landing, clouds covered the sky which made us a little sad thinking we may not see the northern lights.
We checked into our hotel and grabbed a pizza at a nearby bar, then it was a quick nap before putting allllll of my clothes on and heading out into the Arctic Circle to find us some lights! I felt a little like Ralphie’s little brother from a Christmas story, but man I didn’t want to freeze to death!
We met at the nearby hostel (they have a dog named Burger who we love) and our English guide, Jessica, a Frenchman, an Irishman, another Brit, a German, a Romanian and the two of us jumped in a van and we were off.
We drove through the tunnels that go under the city and under the fjord water. These tunnel systems are extensive...there are round a bouts, turns...I would never make it through them! We stopped a bit outside of the city on a fjord and walked down to a rocky beach front. She took some pictures to assess for activity and it looked good so we stayed put. The Romanian girl just kept taking pictures with the flash on her phone...they always came out black and then ruined everyone else’s pics! She was everywhere with that thing!
I started staring into the sky incessantly...willing the lights to appear. They did appear pretty shortly...and they look like an almost cloud at first. It was hard to tell if it was a cloud, remnants from a plane, northern lights or just my wishful thinking. But some of them did turn a slight green and were so pretty. Our guide made a fire and we had some hot cocoa, roasted some mallows and enjoyed the scenery in the arctic circle. We were getting ready to pack up and head to another site when the sky just opened up, full of colors and danced like fire on the walls! The entire sky was covered in greens and pinks dancing just for us! It was truly one of the most magical sites I have ever seen. At one point, I just laid down with a rock on the beach as my pillow so that I wouldn’t miss any of the amazing show Mother Nature was putting on for us! Every time we thought it had died down, the sky would light up again in amazing dancing lights!
We learned that the Norwegian and Swedish believe that the lights are the road to Valhalla for fallen warriors. The Finnish believe that there is a fire fox who runs along the tops of the mountains and as his tail hits the mountain he sends sparks into the air, causing the northern lights to appear. Greenland folklore states that they are the result of spirits of the dead playing a game with a walrus skull. And the Icelandic believe that if a woman in labor goes to give birth under the lights it will take away the labor pains...but she cant look directly at the lights or it will cause the baby to be cross eyed...either that or the amazing amount of incest that happens on that very small, unpopulated island:)
We drove about another 45 minutes to another fjord, lit a fire and waited. We didn’t get as lucky here as the activity seemed to really have died down. But we were so lucky to watch such an awesome display, especially given the crazy amount of illumination from the almost full moon.
We drove back towards Tromso, a very happy and enchanted group having seen such an awesome display by Mother Nature! Not a bad first day in the Arctic Circle!