Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Tromso, Norway

I met my friend Tara on the East Coast of Australia - the Whitsunday Islands to be exact. Out of my 3 months in Australia I only spend about 4 days with Tara, but when you're travelling it is so easy to click with people.
Tara lives near Oslo in the south of Norway and we both travelled to the north of Norway to Tromso to stay with Tara's sister Tea. I hadn't seen Tara for a year and a half and it was as if no time had passed at all.
Day 1 & 6
On both of these days I did so much travelling - roughly 12 hours each day! I opted for the cheaper tickets and had to stop in several different places. In one week I had taken off and landed 8 times and had been in 3 different countries. It was a lot!
Day 2
We spent our day relaxing, all the travelling had taken it out of me and the air is thinner then I'm used to. We went shopping and stocked up on lots of food and wine for the week ahead. It is true what they say, food and alcohol is quite expensive compared to here. As well as our shopping, we also got knitting needles and wool. I have always wanted to learn how to knit and both Tara and Tea know how. We spend our evening watching Julie and Julia and knitting with hot chocolate.
Tara has the most cutest dog I've seen! I don't usually like dogs but you couldn't help but love this little fella!

Day 3
Today we went to Polaria which is an Arctic Experience. As well as seeing some wildlife in Norway we also got to watch a video about the Northern Lights and the Wildlife.

After our time at the museum we took a walk around the city. Tromso is known as 'Paris of the North'. I have never been to Paris, but Tromso is a beautiful place! The buildings are old and unique and it's surrounded by water.
We stopped for lunch at De 4 Roser which serves all day breakfast. I chose an American breakfast which was absolutely lovely. Norway seems to have a lot of blueberries and my breakfast come with some beautiful blueberry jam.

In the evening we all went skiing. I've never been skiing before and because I hate ice skating I assumed I wouldn't like this either - but I was so wrong! We did cross country skiing so it was quite flat ground. As we were skiing, it started to snow! It was all very romantic being Valentine's day and all. We even saw green tinted clouds from the Northern Lights! It's the best Valentine's Day I've had!

Day 4
Today was a beautiful day - clear blue sky and fresh air! We decided that it would be a good day to go on some cable cars to the top of the mountains. The view from the top of the mountains looks over the central part of Tromso. It really is such a pretty view. On top of the mountain it was -17 degrees but with the wind it felt like -25! I think I can safely say that this is the coldest I have ever been!! My legs went numb and when I was taking these pictures glove less, I got a massive rash on my hand (like heat rash but the complete opposite!).

We took a picture of us lying in the snow because the last picture we had together was lying on a beach on the Whitsunday Islands!

As it was such a clear day we were hopeful that we would see the Northern Lights in all it's glory! We had seen them a few times before but it was so cloudy it wasn't what I'd hoped! Just as me and Tara were going to have a power nap (I swear the thin air took it out of me on this trip!) Tea got a call from her boyfriend telling us to look outside... and there they were!! A massive green line of light going across the sky! We went for a walk to take some pictures and to see it in real life it breathtaking! My photos didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped (I still don't know how to use my camera properly!) but I am just so happy that I have seen them!

After seeing the Northern Lights we were so happy and totally forgot about the power nap we needed earlier! We decided to go out to the Studenthuset driv (student bar) where the drinks were cheaper but still expensive. When ever I go to a new place, I have to have a beer from that country! I am not sure why - but every time! The beer was called Mack and on the glasses was a map of Norway with Tromso pointed out! The glasses were less then a pint but cost roughly £5!

Day 5
As I had heard that Norway was going to be so expensive, I saved a lot! But as we cooked ourselves I didn't end up spending much, so me and Tara decided to go shopping! I bought a denim shirt, a ring and 3 different nail varnishes! Before we hit the shops we had lunch at the Bla Rock Cafe which is known for it's burgers. We were sat right next to a Duke Box and there was even a drum kit in the ceiling! The walls were covered in posters and photos! I loved the atmosphere and my chicken burger was good too!

For my last night in Tromso, Tara and Tea's mum sent us some money for a meal out which I thought was incredibly kind! We went to Steakers. People that know me in real life will know that I am not a fan of steak, but I did not want to sound ungrateful so I did not mention this to Tara and Tea. I ordered a 5 oz sirloin steak and started to prepare myself! We went on a Thursday and they do a really good deal where all that you pay is for your steak and all the potatoes, sides and sauces are free and as part of a buffet so you can have as much as you like! The time had come for me to man up and have my first steak in years! Oh my god!! I can honestly say that this was the best steak I've ever had!! It was cooked to perfection and I really wish I'd ordered a bigger steak! If you are ever in Tromso, I would highly recommend eating here! If you don't go on a Thursday it will most likely be a really expensive meal but please, just order a steak and enjoy!

I really enjoyed my time in Norway and it was wonderful to see Tara again. It was lovely to meet Tea, her boyfriend and Mio - the cute furry little fella! I am already planning on going back to Norway in the summer but to the south this time, but I would also love to go back to Tromso and see the Midnight Sun.
I really loved having the opportunity to stay with my friends in their home and having them as tour guides! I would love to spend each holiday I go on in someone's home instead of a hotel because you get to discover so much more than what you would find by yourself!

Some interesting facts about Norway:
  • You can not buy alcohol after 6pm.
  • Wine and spirits have to be bought in specific shops - like an Off Licence or Bottle Shops in Australia.
  • Red bull doesn't have as much caffiene in as they do over here.
  • It is the law that if you are between the age of 18 and 25 you have to show ID when buying alcohol.
  • M and M's aren't sold in Norway because of the sugar/colourings/E numbers. Instead they have Non Stop.

Please note: this blog post is not complete yet! I am still waiting to get some more photos from my friends but I wanted to put it up because I was excited to show you my trip to Norway :)


Lottie said...

So jealous Em! Looks like you had a wonderful trip :-)
Northern lights are one of the natural phenomena I'd love to see. You've got me in a reminiscent mood now...might have to post my snaps from Mexico!

Paperbacks and Postcards said...

Oh wow! Looks like you had an amazing time! xx

Temporary:Secretary said...

Aaah, the northern lights look incredible! I bet it was so amazing to see that in person. I loved reading this and seeing the photos, its like experiencing a new place through the eyes of another - i hope to get a chance to go to norway someday! Cant wait for more! x

Elle Croft said...

WOW, WOW, WOW. Amazing photos; looks like your trip was absolutely incredible. I adore the pics from the lookout - just stunning. And I'm SO happy you got to see the Northern Lights, you lucky girl!!! XXX

adoreabubbles said...

Wow some of these photos are out of this world. I need to start saving for an adventure!

Anonymous said...

This trip looks amazing. I am so jealous. I've always dreamed of seeing the Northern Lights and this has spurred me on to do it.