This post should be short and sweet since we arrived at 9pm and didn’t have much time to go mad. Also, Tromsø central wasn’t exactly “banging” on this particular Tuesday night, despite syncing our arrival with the International Film Festival (more on this later). I did, however, fall down a hole – which some of you might find amusing.
Ok so we landed, got off the plane and muttered our first “oh my god it’s really cold” of the holiday. We probably should have expected that… being January ‘n all. But you can only prepare for a certain type of cold and you can’t prepare for the Arctic. Unless you have a walk-in freezer (and if so, I’d suggest walking around in it to get acclimatised). In a nutshell, it is CHILLY. You won’t need any sexy clothes or killer heels if you pop across the North Sea in the depths of winter (sorry lads). We spent the whole four days resembling Michelin [wo]men. Also, there’s not much point in taking sunglasses because the sun doesn’t always rise… & if it does, it’s a brief ‘hello’ and a hasty ‘goodbye’. The Norwegian sun is a big ole tease.
We popped in a taxi to the Sydspissen Hotel… which is about a 10 minute drive. And this cost us £20. “Welcome to Norway – we’re going to bleed you dry financially”. (I’m not moaning – REPEAT – not moaning, but I figure it’s my duty to pre-warn so it’s not a shock to the system). The Sydspissen is a cute little hotel in Strandvegen, which is a 30 minute walk (or a 10 minute cab) to the centre. It’s on the peak (check out Google maps) and apparently it’s the best place to get a glimpse of the aurora, if you’re not planning on venturing out into the wilderness that is (we did, more on this later).
We decided to walk to Tromsø central (“Sentrum”) and, within an hour of landing, spotted this on the way into town:
(There’s a better photo of the NL later on…)
Lucky, eh?! We were pretty chuffed and bounded down the icy lanes with the grace of two women wearing snow boots and fifty layers. Our tummies took over and decided to grab some food at the Egon restaurant. This was a lovely little joint with quirky decor. And it was so, so warm and cosy. Once we figured out that a portion of chips cost £8.90 (that’s the standard there), we opted for a jacket potato (£11.70). We didn’t care how much the wine cost. (But for the record, it’s about £10 a glass).
Stomachs sated, we had a wonder around the centre and took a snap outside Tromsø cathedral… and then we posed in front of a sparkly tree. As one does.
Then we ventured back to the hotel and, on the way, spotted some really cute little abodes. I decided to take a photo of the quaint and cosy apartments – the interiors of which seemed to be exact replicas of each other. In the process, I fell down a sneaky snow-covered hole and got my boot stuck in [what I can only assume was] a crevice in a rock. My “friend” couldn’t stop laughing and she needed a wee so wasn’t much help in setting me free, but once the panic subsided and once I realised that if I got it in there I could get it out… I managed to wriggle free, boot in toe… or on toe(s). This was perhaps a sign from the powers-that-be that you shouldn’t spy on people.
After that little ordeal, we made it to the hotel. I got into my onesie and immediately regretted not packing lighter sleepwear. They’re not afraid of the central heating up there. I spent the night trying not to strip (there didn’t appear to be a thermostat) to spare us both a dose of awkwardness.
Day one in Norway:
– We saw the Northen lights!!!
– We survived the minus degrees.
– I didn’t get stuck in a hole.
– Vicki didn’t wee herself.
Day one – a success! Hurrah!
(Hmm, this wasn’t exactly short and sweet. Sorry, I got carried away…)