Those with good memories may remember that we embarked on a Norway tour this January and that I had left off with our time in Narvik and our side trip by train to Abisko in Sweden, plus an unfulfilled attempt to catch the Aurora Borealis.
So having visited Oslo, Trondheim, Fauske and Narvik, we now reached out final destination a week after we had set off.
When we arrived in the city of Tromsø I had reached my most northerly destination to date, some 350 KM inside the Arctic Circle.
Mrs Wilbur & I had taken the bus from the port of Narvik, another journey cutting through stunning landscapes and remote settlements.
Some Bridges En-Route From Narvik To Tromso
We were dropped in the centre by our scheduled transport and taxied to our lovely apartment booked through Airbnb. Our hostess happened to be a very personable Sami news reporter named Mariela who was most helpful in answering all of our dumb questions!
Tromsø is situated on islands and we had crossed a bridge away from the centre, past the Arctic Cathedral and into our residential area. The journey lasted 8 minutes and cost €20 – happily we sourced the bus app for the rest of our stay!
It was already dark by the time we arrived at 3.30. We decided to stop in that night to recharge the batteries ahead of our activities planned for the next day. The local supermarket provided gorgeous fish soup and rye bread, whilst we still had some red wine left that we had brought from the U.K. – all in about £10 for a feast, absolute bargain by Norwegian standards.
Arising bright and early, I looked across the water and viewed an amazing moon, yet to slip out of vision behind the snow-capped peaks.
After a yoghurt & coffee we slipped out to catch a bus to the Radisson for our coach out to some dog sledding activities. There was time to take a few early morning shots of the harbour and main connecting bridge in the early morning light and to take coffee at a waterfront hotel (complete with menacing polar bear positioned outside the toilets), before catching the transport for some canine led entertainment.
After a picturesque journey we were decked out in warm overalls before being introduced to our huskies and getting informed about life looking after & training the dog teams.
Each kennel was a twin with dogs paired up for R&R time, each having their name painted above their shelter. I was delighted to see that one pairing was named Will & London, my name and city. Very apt I thought. I was less enamoured with wasp & bee however!
Next we were introduced to our musher, a Swiss guy named Johann who would steer our team. We were whizzed around for 45 minutes, the dogs following all commands to the letter. It was great fun, as you can see if you click on the shaky video HERE.
More coffee, this time with cookies, followed by a session with husky puppies, a favourite time for Mrs Wilbur and the other ladies!
At around £170 each this experience did not come cheap, but the memories will last forever, so money well spent in my book and I definitely had plenty of credit in the brownie point bank!
Upon our return we embarked on a tour around the small city, a very pleasant place with some lovely architecture, notably the traditional wooden cathedral and the state of the art public library, which was all glass & glow. We also saw the impressive Hurtigruten dock.
We then embarked on a mission to buy a bottle of red. Supermarkets were unable to supply wine due to the 4.7% alcohol limit imposed on them. We therefore had to locate the State run Vinmonopolet, the only outlet licensed to sell something a little stronger in modern Norway, and only then with appropriate ID. £15 bought us some average plonk, me baulking at the £30 Malbec.
All the days’ fresh air and most of the vino meant we slept well that night. We only had 36 hours to go of our Nordic adventure and still had reindeer sledding, a cable car into the mountains and a final pursuit of the Northern Lights to come……