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Nordic Paradise: Volume IV


My voyage along the Norwegian coast just kept getting better and better! My next stop was Tromsø and it was certainly a highlight for me. When I first arrived, it was covered in beautiful bright white snow, much like some of the ports prior. What I distinctly remember noticing in Tromsø was how cold the air felt. It was the first time I’d really felt the fresh, chilly Arctic breeze and it really added to the atmosphere. I revelled in the polar surroundings for a brief moment, before instantly layering up, merino wool and all, for the day ahead.

Heading into Tromsø just after sunrise. Norway, 2022.

During my first time in Tromsø, I set out on a quest with our Science Co-ordinator Vivi, to help deploy Dora the underwater drone, in the harbour. We set off from the ship, trudging along, sinking one foot at a time in the deep snow. Off we went to collect some underwater footage of the harbour environment and plankton samples, similar to our methodology in Stavanger, to analyse later onboard in the science centre. Whilst droning, we also watched some guests, along with some of the Expedition Team, kayak up and down the harbour on mirror calm waters – they looked very happy, decked head to toe in dry suits and smiles all round. Vivi and I walked to Polaria, an indoor ‘Arctic Experience’, before carrying out our scientific duties. Situated outside Polaria is a statue of a humpback whale comprised of man-made rubbish. It is called Tavaha and symbolises the longevity of the pollution life cycle and how, despite extreme weather conditions, it is not degraded easily over time. Inside Polaria are interesting information boards and displays with starfish and other creatures inside – it is a miniature aquarium of sorts. Unfortunately, they have captive bearded seals, which are native to the high Arctic region. Naturally, I wasn’t a fan… I’d much prefer it if we could see these animals in all their glory in the wild Arctic environment!

Tahava humpback whale statue made from rubbish, situated outside Polaria in Tromsø. Norway, 2022.

My second voyage up the Norwegian coast was one to remember! When we docked in Tromsø, I was to go DOGSLEDDING with the guests and I was so E X C I T E D beyond words! I joined the bus full of eager passengers and headed to the location where the Alaskan huskies were patiently waiting for us. I definitely hadn’t mentally prepared myself for the level of cuteness I was about to experience but don’t worry, I adjusted pretty quickly ;). There were over two hundred gorgeous Alaskan huskies at the centre, all with hilarious names based on their litters and families. A couple of my favourites included Pasta and Makaroni, as well as Stark and Ghost (any GOT fans?). I wasn’t able to actually go dog sledding this time because the sleds were full, but I was extremely happy to be cuddling said doggos for two and a half hours. I have to admit I spent most of my time with one dog in particular, called Folk, who just kept pawing at me and giving me cute, puppy eyes so I stroked her for the majority of the afternoon. I even sent a Whatsapp message to the Expedition Team asking what Norwegian prisons were like because I was seriously contemplating stealing her and taking her home with me. I'm not even joking...

Pasta and Makaroni, two very soft and friendly Alaskan huskies. Tromsø, Norway, 2022.

The day was filled with husky cuddles, reindeer soup and hot chocolate – an amazing day if you ask me!

One of the huskies enjoying a cheeky chin scratch. Tromsø, Norway, 2022.

Giving Folk (my favourite!) my undivided attention. Tromsø, Norway. 2022.

Not forgetting Stark, my personal fluffy foot warmer and salopette chewer. Tromsø, Norway, 2022.

During my final visit to Tromsø, I ventured up the fjellheisen with Marcus and Ted to admire the view of the snow-covered city down below. The cable car took us to the very top of the mountain and there was a niche little café serving hot beverages and snacks. I’d been told they served the best Norwegian waffles, so Ted and I just had to try them. I covered mine in strawberry jam while Ted opted for the jam and brunøst combo… a questionable choice in my opinion! (Brunøst – a weird, sweet brown cheese made with goat’s milk). He said it was delicious and I believed him but I didn’t fancy trying it myself!

Authentic Norwegian waffle at the cable car café (delicious). Tromsø, Norway. 2022.

Marcus and I then headed out to the viewpoint, treading carefully on hard-packed ice (sometimes slipping slightly and resembling Bambi the baby deer) where we snapped some photos of Tromsø from above and it honestly looked magical. The snow, ice and twinkling lights in the chalet windows made it look like something from a Christmas story. I would 100% recommend the cable car ride, waffles and view if you have the chance!

Feeling on top of the world! Tromsø, Norway, 2022.

What I particularly loved about Tromsø was the geography of the area. Glacial systems and landscapes were evident from every angle and I just stood at the top of the mountain revelling in its beauty! Glaciation was always my favourite module in Geography, from school through to University. Tromsø is a living textbook definition of some of the spectacular formations carved by glaciers during the last ice age and you can see U-shaped valleys and evidence of glacial erosion everywhere you look. It is a Geographer’s Arctic dream!

Picture perfect views of Tromsø from atop the fjellheisen. Norway, 2022.

Each trip to Tromsø was a highlight of mine during my 6 weeks in Norway. I’d experienced the underwater world of plankton at Polaria, cuddled more Alaskan huskies that I can count, and jumped on the cable car to what felt like the top of the world. I’m definitely coming back to Tromsø, next time in deep winter, when the orcas and humpback whales descend from the northern fjords!

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