We didn’t sleep too well the first night, our bodies very confused about what time it was. After breakfast at the hotel, it was off to the airport for our charter flight to Tromsö. Less than two hours away, Tromsö is the largest city above the Arctic Circle, with a population of 70,000 at nearly 70 degrees north. Tromsö has the northernmost university, the northernmost brewery, etc. It was founded in the mid 1700’s, but didn’t flourish until the last couple of decades.
We had a buffet lunch at a local hotel, with whale kabobs as one of the offerings. We had seen whale steaks on the menu of a couple of restaurants in Oslo as well. Norway is one of the few countries that still allow whaling, and they claim it is highly regulated and they only take Minke whales, a smallish whale that is very common. The meat looks like beef, only much darker in color, almost purple. We didn’t partake, as we had tried a small bite a few years ago and weren’t too impressed. As one of the guests said, it tastes like dry beef….
After lunch we had an organ concert at the Arctic Cathedral, an A-frame shaped church painted white to look a bit like an iceberg. The only challenge was staying awake, as the lack of sleep the night before was taking it’s toll. Nest stop was the Polar Museum, a nice place to learn about the seals, whales, and other mammals that are in northern Norway and Svalbard. The other half of the museum is dedicated to the Arctic explorers, especially the most prominent Norwegians: Amundsen and Nansen. Amundsen not only went to the South Pole but also flew a dirigible over the North Pole, and died in a plane crash trying to rescue a fellow Italian explorer whose dirigible crashed when he attempted a later trip to the Pole. Nansen used the famous ship the Fram for his attempts to sail to the North Pole. The Fram can be seen in the Oslo, which is pretty awesome ship to see!
Last stop was the Tromsö museum, where we saw a great video of northern lights taken from this area. The Museum also had a collection of fossils found both here and in Svalbard.
We finally boarded ship around 5 and were heartily welcomed by the staff and crew, many of whom we know from past trips. We had a quick buffet dinner then turned in early as the ship started south for tours of some Fjords (Fjording?)….