Monday, 22 September 2014

North Norway and Tromsø- Getting warmer

As we sailed south from Bjørnøya, you could feel the air getting just a little warmer. This morning we could see land- the north coast of Norway. And then we saw trees cladding the hills on one side of the sound we sailed through on our way to Tromsø. Having not seen any trees for the last few days, they were a delight, made more so by their changing colours of autumn. Some snow squalls ran over us as if to remind that we were after all at 70° north!

We arrived into Tromsø just after lunch in brilliant light and blue skies. The sun never gets really high in the sky in the Arctic, even in mid-summer, but now the sun stays relatively low and makes for wonderful images. There is also a warmth to the light, belying the temperatures, which were around 5°C. Tromsø has many old buildings, unlike Finnmarken to the north and east- the most northerly part of Norway- which lost many buildings at the end of WWII.

Old warehouses stand at the old shoreline, all with their characteristic little winch houses at the top front.

The first residence in Tromsø to have electricity

One of the modern buildings in Tromsø- The Polaria- Polar Aquarium
Tromsø is a fine place, sophisticated and bustling, but always with the reminder of where you are provided by the surrounding mountains, this day covered in a light dusting of snow that had fallen the previous evening. We had about 6 hours to enjoy the place, which people did by visiting the city of over 70,000 people, taking a guided walk around the city, or climbing the mountain over on the mainland and coming down by cable car. There is so much to see and do in Tromsø that you really need a week to sample the restaurants and coffee shops, visit the museum, aquarium and many historical points of interest. One thing is clear, Roald Amundsen figures prominently in this city!

It is the sort of place that beckons you back, as evidenced by the many people on-board the Fram for whom this is not the first trip, nor will it be their last.