A and I did not only travel to Tromsø to see the aurora, although it was one of our main goals. The other one was to see whales. To me whales are the most awesomest creatures in this world, second to A of course. I cannot tell you what this obsession is actually about but to me whales represent something magical. I might have watched Free Willy one too many times when I was young.
So A and I were looking forward to seeing whales for the first time like they are meant to be seen, from afar, on a boat, not disturbing them. Sadly however the whales didn’t get the memo that we were on our way too see them, which is why they left a couple days before we were able to see them. This of course makes me sad, because I was really looking forward to seeing them but on the other hand, it also feels good, that they can roam the world just the way they like it, that makes me very very happy.
And since we couldn’t do anything else we went to the aquarium. And let me tell you, if there was ever a good location for an aquarium, it would be this place. The aquarium was right at the dock next to the fjords and it was stunning. The view was fantastic and this is also why I could understand why people would willingly move to this place called Tromsø. By the way, this photo was taken at about 11 am, when the sun was just about to rise.
The aquarium was small, but A and I enjoyed a private feeding of the seals. Ultimately it would have been obviously better watching them in the open water, I am just saying, but still, it was kind of great to see them up close. We looked at some fish tanks and saw some movies about the aurora borealis and Svalbard before we stepped out into the cold again. Now keep in mind that was the morning after A and I were disappointed by one of natures truest miracles, waiting for it to show up and it never did. We were both tired and exhausted and still frozen, but A has gotten smarter already and did not leave the hotel room without his snow pants!
After the aquarium A and I went back to the hotel room to relax a bit but after a few hours, the wind and the cold gets to you. It sucks out your energy in no time and somehow, the only thing that replenishes your energy is about a pound of chocolate and a warm bath. But being on vacation and having traveled so far up North both A and I felt like we had to go outside again. We are active people, always outside, always doing something, the freezing cold and my windburn were not going to stop us.
So we decided to go to a little lake, that on the map looked like it was right around the corner. They forgot to put in, that it was uphill most of the way, with no public transportation. Guess how happy I was. Not at all happy, right. It seemed like we were walking forever and let me tell you, nothing feels odder than being freezing cold and yet sweating like you are working out and no way to shed any clothes, because hypothermia. After a while though we finally arrived at a barely lit small frozen lake in the middle of nowhere, trying to see if we might get lucky there for our quest of northern lights. It was 4 pm and I am not quite sure why we did this so early in the day, everyone knows that the northern lights usually show up in the middle of the night, so why we were there so early was beyond me. But then again, when it is so dark all the time, you kind of loose your sense of time.
We half-circled the lake when we decided to return, believe it or not, walking in snow in the middle of nowhere with dimly light streets is just not as fun or romantic as it sounds and A and I unfortunately weren’t lucky seeing any lights either. However we got into a few survival situations, when A almost fell into the lake. I mean, not really, he was actually in save distance to the lake but from having seen so many survival-shows, my survival-instinct kicked in, ringing every possible alarm bell my body has.
The disappointment of the day, not being able to see whales, was still sitting deep, so I did the only thing I knew was going to make me happy: eating frozen yogurt in a place where melted ice cream never occurs. A was at first hesitant but when we first put his spoon into the frozen deliciousness he was happy as can be.
We then went further down the street the most northernest pub there apparently is (not quite sure if this is actually true) but we had a couple of beers and enjoyed the ambiente at ølhallen. Thinking we had basically all night to enjoy ourselves. You know how pubs usually are open until late? Let me warn you, this holds not true in Tromsø. Apparently from 10 am to 6 pm is plenty of time for everyone to get drunk and enjoy their time of their lives. Mind you, it was Saturday, so no one ever goes to a pub then. Anywhere. Never. That is apparently unheard of.
A and I then retrieved to the hotel and had a wonderful dinner there, watching Crocodile dundee, a movie about absolutely nothing. I mean less than nothing. Not even a good story line but one hell of a movie to watch when in Tromsø. We were debating whether or not it was worth giving the outside another shot. Both A and I were beat but we looked at the aurora forecasts and thought it would be better to just stay inside and not even bother to go outside.
This however is also the downside of Tromsø. A and I were heavily relying on the forecast for the aurora borealis. Which meant we were constantly checking if there was something worth while happening that we needed to know and check out. We checked several different forecasts all of which said that there was basically no magnetic activity that night, not even a small glimpse of it, so therefore we figured there was nothing that we actually needed to check out, at least so we thought.
We were both physically exhausted and therefore decided to make it an early night. Instead of chasing for what ever glimpse of the arurora we could get. This being said, you might understand our huge disappointment when we found out that the lights were spectacular for that night and that we should have been there and seen it and yes, we should have, especially because that night called for tons and tons and tons of snow, which we did not anticipate.
The lesson to be learnt here is that when you travel to Tromsø, don’t follow your physical instincts but freeze yourself to death and go outside and go try to see the lights instead of watching TV. Seriously. Do it.