Many people dream of seeing the aurora borealis which are seen in the area near the artic circle. The borealis is more commonly known as the northern lights or polar lights and is one of the most spectacular light displays in the sky you may ever see. Looking at the map and flights, my partner and I decided to go to Tromso, which was the easiest to get to in February. Our main aim was to see the lights but we soon discovered that Tromso has a lot more than just the lights to offer.
The Northern Lights
The first time I travelled north to see the lights was to Tromso, in northern Norway, with my partner. It was February, still very cold and icy. We were super excited when we stepped off the plane onto a tarmac of ice. This was a special experience for me, as we walked over the gravel dusted path which was created to allow us to walk to the terminal. We met my sister and her husband and set off for our rented house overseeing the fjords. Fortunately, my sisters’ husbands’ smokes and on the first evening he was outside smoking he excited called us all as the green lights sparkled in the sky. As it was our first night, we quite simply presumed this would be the standard every evening. Which was a mistake as it was the last time, we saw them on this trip.
Tromso, however, has so much to offer. There are a few museums that are worth a visit, like the Polar Museum and the Troll Museum and in the centre of town you can see huge ice sculptures. Getting out of town we toured around some of the fjords and one evening we went to the Lyngen Alps for a husky tour. This was a fabulous experience although trying to guide them was no mean feat. Something I would have loved to do more of. The sky was clear, the conditions should have been perfect for the lights but alas nothing.
Tromso a Sheet of Ice
Getting around Tromso was another special experience for us. Our house was up a small rise. I say rise because the incline was maybe 10 meters. But as with the tarmac it was a sheer ice sheet, and unfortunately had no gravel. Stepping out of the door meant putting spikes on your shoes otherwise you would simply slip over. The house did supply the spikes because without them we could not leave. We were lucky to have quite nice weather on the days we were there allowing us to even go for a run with our spikes.
Food and Drinks
Amazing food to try in Tromso include their amazing fish soup. It is creamy, it is heavy, it is delicious. Norwegian cod or haddock is another must as well as the traditional Scandinavian meat balls. Alcohol like most Scandinavian countries is very expensive but if you want to try a local drink the national drink is Aquavit, which is made from potato and grain which is often flavoured with caraway. Other popular drinks are Glogg, which is mulled wine and Mead, often also called honey wine.
You may be wanting to chase the lights, which of course is a most amazing experience but if conditions don’t collide to allow you to see them, you can still discover other delights of Tromso.