I have always loved towns and cities that sit on the waterside, whether sea or lake, and Tromsø, with its picturesque setting on an island, fits the bill nicely. Its harbour stays ice free even in the depths of winter, and the surrounding mountains, snow-covered when we visited, form a lovely backdrop to both harbour and town. We were staying in an almost-harbourside hotel and were consequently here at all times of day and night and in all weathers, and it always had something to catch my eye. At night (and indeed much of the day, as there are only a few hours of daylight here in January) the lights of the buildings and graceful bridge sparkled, reflected in the water. And when it was light there were reflections of a different kind, with mountains that glowed blue or pink depending on the time of day and whether the elusive sun was lurking just behind them. And always the striking modern Arctic Cathedral on the opposite shore provided a focal point for our photos.
So my next tip is about that Arctic Cathedral.
Tromsø lies 350 kilometres above the Arctic Circle, and that Circle is defined as the line north of which there is at least one day when the sun remains above the horizon for 24 hours (Midnight Sun) and at least one on which it never rises (Polar Night). The further north you go, the greater the number of days on which this occurs. In Tromsø the Polar Night lasts for two months, from 21st November to 21st January – if the surrounding area were flat it would be shorter, from 26th November to 15th January, but the mountains all around ensure that the sun stays below the horizon on a few days either side.
But this doesn’t mean that you will be in total darkness, although the hours of darkness are indeed long. For a few hours in the middle of the day, especially if clear, there is a cool blue twilight with a beauty of its own. By the time the Polar Night is nearly at an end (and certainly when we were there in mid January) you will even experience sunrise and sunset, although only an hour or less apart from each other. And on our final day here the sun did rise, for the first time in months, and the mountains glowed.
Next tip: leaving Tromsø on a Hurtigruten ship
The most common European emergency number 112 (following Directive 2002/22/EC: Universal Service Directive) and also standard on GSM mobile phones. 112 is used in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom in addition to their other emergency numbers.
Here are some useful phone numbers that you might need while in Norway:
Police (non-urgent): 02800
Below few words in Norvegian that you can use while visiting Norway.
Where is ...?: Hvor er ...?
How much is the fare?: Hvor mye koster billetten?
One ticket to ..., please.: En billett til ..., takk.
Subway, Underground: T-bane
Train station = Jernbanestasjon
Bus station: Busstasjon
Are there any vacancies for tonight?: Er det noe ledig for i natt?
No vacancies: Alt opptatt.
How much does this cost?: Hvor mye koster dette?
What is this?: Hva er dette?
I'll buy it.: Jeg kjøper det.
I would like to buy ...: Jeg vil gjerne ha ...
Do you have ...: Har du ...
Do you accept credit cards?: Tar dere kredittkort?
Tourist Information: Turistinformasjon
Police station: Politistasjon
Store, Shop: Butikk
Today: I dag
Yesterday: I går
Tomorrow: I morgen
I hope that somebody will tell me why I love them so much. Let's see some photos and enjoy the shapes and the colours... just three months ago the snow was more than half meter thick.
Fondest memory: The colour of the grass is an unbelievable green... I have never thought that the grass can be so green.
Want to have general information about the city, events, shops, restaurants etc...
I suggest to go and check out the official Tromso city web site, you can also download brochures, maps, etc...
Fondest memory: We were sitting dockside, enjoying a cola (typical Americans, right?), when a certain member of the local population took a keen interest in us. Sara took out the camera and snapped a few photos. Apparently, this local isn't camera shy.
Favorite thing: From the end of may to the end of july the sun never sets in Tromsø. It's daylight all day long. The months before and after also have long days, but in winter they have two months where they don't see the sun at all.
Aurora (light) borealis (northern) is a fantastic phenomenon. It can be seen in many parts of Norway, but the more north the more frequent and magnificent.
This beautiful dancing light occurs when solar wind hits the magnetic fields of the earth. When the particles collide with the gases in the ionosphere they start to glow, and this beautiful, mystical light appears.
Samis (or Lapps) are the indigenous people of Norway. Their native territority stretches in a circle through the north of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.
The history of the samis tells about a people that through many centuries have been driven further and further north by other people.
They have been oppressed by other cultures and countrys for a long time, but the last decades they have slowly started to gain more rights, have their own laws and even their own council.
Most samis live off reindeer-herding, and many still live in a very traditional way. Their culture and Finno–Urgic language is unique, and so are their traditional costume and footwear. Design for life in a harsh environment, nomadic lifestyle, and spiritual and aesthetic preferences.