A sense of excitement filled me as I peered out of the plane window looking around for any signs of the Aurora Borealis! Arriving in darkness, fluffs of snow on the ground, the crisp bitterly wind of the Arctic hits you as you walked out of the plane; there’s no mistake I have arrived in the Arctic city of Tromso, Norway.
A destination I’m most excited about; I’m here for one thing and that’s to see the Northern Lights and explore this beautiful island.
I’ve been trying to chase the Aurora for a couple of years, once in Reykjavik, Iceland and the northern tip of Scotland both times in late December and both times cloudy with a chance of meatballs. Seriously though, I don’t drive so I rely on tour guides which I prefer as they have the knowledge but the Aurora is unpredictable.
And now I am trying my luck in wintery Tromso, 2 hours by plane from Oslo, it is the most northerly city in Norway smack in the Arctic Circle.
In Winter, the sun never really rises over the horizon, it is meant to rise from 11.30am and you get a lovely Twilight blue light over the city till around 2 pm.
After a few hours of sleep having arrived at midnight and tucking into breakfast, we set off into the city centre, a half an hour walk in the snow.
Who knew that walking in snow is bloody good for the thighs!
We haven’t booked anything in advance.
We visited the tourist centre behind Radisson Blu hotel, where we met a couple from the US who tipped us to visit the Northern shots tour company across the street where they got a good deal for the Northern lights tour that very night.
The tour starts at 6 pm and could last till 1 am. It includes hot cocoa and biscuits and you can request a small tripod for free or a larger one for a fee if you don’t have one but do bring some snacks and water as it will be a long ride!
We have hours to kill and naturally opted for coffee and lunch!
Riso cafe located few doors down from the tourist gift store came highly recommended.
They have one of the best coffee and bread I have ever tasted in a long time!
Chilled and friendly vibe where you just choose your own table and friendly service. The Norwegians are seriously lovely people!
They certainly do filtered coffee right! Also, grinds their own beans.
A single espresso called Half & Half from Oslo served with a short of Arctic fizzy water to cleanse your palette.
Honey omelette with a side salad and homemade bread. Best bread I have ever had in ages. Crusty on the outside and incredibly soft and slightly denser than normal bread.
Chunks of sausages, fried onions and potato topped with fried egg and slice of bread with mustard.
Tummies filled and perked up from the espresso, we head to the tour bus which thankfully came with an on board toilet and heating.
We head out of the city and within 20 minutes, we spotted a streak of green light dancing in front of us.
Super excited at the prospect of finding it so early at half 6.
We arrived at the big snowy field surrounded by mountains over the yonder, minutes later, torch on hand and trudged through thick, deep snow, I thought I almost lost my boot at one point. Winds bitterly cold.
Looking up in the sky and time stood still.
It was incredibly beautiful. Words cannot describe it. It deep green light streaking across the sky, bouncing along creating all sorts of shapes as if its tempting us to join it.
Our tour guide is on hand to set the appropriate setting for your camera to take shots. He also can take shots for you for 350Nok each.
We spent a good few hours here. I realised as the wind becomes stronger, the northern lights becomes more intense. We actually saw pink hues mixed in with the green. The sky filled with spectacular green streaks.
We left this location to our next destination which was on another island. After a strong show earlier on, the lights were not as intense but still beautiful nevertheless. The sky was so clear, you can see the Orion belt and other constellations extremely clearly.
Our dream has finally come true. I don’t know what else to say except how incredibly blessed I am to have been able to witness such a beautiful sight that nature provides us.
Hopefully to see another show the next night!
If you like to know more about the hotel I stayed in – check out my other post on Sydspissen Hotell here – the view is brilliant!
Sarah Courtney (@heywhatsupcourtney) 26th June 2017