Early on Friday morning I was busy composing my post, W1610 – Get a Grip. Once that was published, I went up on deck to watch our final approaches into the next port of call, Tromsø. Everything looked so peaceful and serene in the warm sunshine, with just small ripples on the water:
As we sailed into Tromsø two buildings caught my eye, the very familiar but striking Tromsdalen Church – otherwise known as the Arctic Cathedral, and this very brightly painted building:
I have visited Tromsø several times before and taken shore tours there, so this time to find something different I elected to join a walking tour across part of Tromsøya Island, where most of Tromsø is located. There were 26 passengers on this tour, and we climbed into three minibuses for the short drive to the start/finish of our walk. This drive proved to be very interesting as we drove through tunnels to reach the other side of the island, and it was the first time I had encountered junctions and roundabouts underground. The roundabouts had a central column of rock to support the roof.
We set off along a gravel path that had streetlights on telegraph poles – one of our two guides explained that this was used for cross country skiing in the winter, when of course it is dark for 24 hours a day as we were located well inside the Arctic Circle.
After a while we diverted off down footpaths through the countryside, mostly woodland of birch and spruce, but with glades containing wild flowers including orchids, and wild berries. The path was quite damp and/or muddy in places, so I was glad of my walking boots. After a while we passed a traditional ski hut:
Every so often we paused to allow the slower members of the tour to catch up, and once they had done so the tour guides explained about the plants and trees, the wildlife, and about skiing and the lifestyle generally this far north. The last pause was located under the ski jumping towers, and it was interesting to see these up close. There were several towers of different heights, and our guides explained that children around 3 to 5 years old start learning to jump on the smallest one, and by around 12 years old they have usually advanced to the tallest one, 120m high. From here there were good views across the fjord to the mainland, and to parts of Tromsø itself:
This proved to be a very enjoyable tour, especially in the lovely sunny weather, and it was a good opportunity to see and learn about the nature and way of life in northern Norway.
Postscript At midnight I went up on deck to verify that we really were in the land – or should that be sea – of the midnight sun: