Norway Day Two: Tromso “Paris Of The North”: A Quick Tour
It was a long flight and I was very tired when I left the airport after my arrival in Tromso. I was also a little anxious about renting a car and driving in Norway. I had never driven in a foreign country before. No problem.
The folks at Hertz rental center were quick and friendly and soon had me in a Peugeot SUV. It took a bit to get used to the European automatic shifting but I was soon on the road. And soon stopping to take in the amazing scenery just outside the airport.
Tromso is essentially an island city located about 30 miles from the ocean in one of Norway’s numerous fjords. It is also located north of the Arctic Circle. So, for about three months of the year, the sun doesn’t set. And this is what I came to see. Even with the 24 hour sunshine there was still snow on some of the mountain tops.
I followed the navigation system on my phone but was surprised when it lead me into a tunnel. The main road follows this tunnel right through the center of the island. It was dark, scary and confusing, especially the round-abouts. Welcome to European Driving. Well I passed the test and I made it through the tunnel and soon found my hotel, the recently built Clarion Edge.
I was able to check in but was advised there was no parking. I was told the best place to park would be the underground parking lot a short distance from the hotel. I took my luggage to the room and drove the “short distance” to the underground parking.
The “short distance” turned out to be almost a half mile. It was a 1/4 mile to the entrance and then, the tunnels were endless, and filled with automobiles. They love tunnels here in Tromso. I drove another 1/4 mile underground until I found a place to park.
It wasn’t a bad thing since I got my first real feel for Tromso walking back to the hotel. Shops, hotels ,restaurants, churches and a lot of folks enjoying the sunshine. Here is a link to some more photographs from my ride from the airport and walk back to the hotel. Norway Day Two Airport ride June 1 2018.
I returned to my room, grabbed my camera and immediately set out exploring the streets of Tromso. My hotel was located on the waterfront and the first thing you noticed were the numerous sea gulls and their high pitched cries. They were everywhere.
I decided to walk south along the docks and take in the water and spectacular view of the mountains surrounding the town.
I love harbor towns and have visited many in remote parts of our planet. Tromso is unique in that even though it is hundreds of miles north of the Arctic Circle the warms waters of the Gulf Stream moderate it’s temperatures. It still gets cold but not as bitter cold as other ports at this latitude would be.
It was partly sunny with a cool breeze and temperatures in the mid 50’s while I walked along the waterfront. The air was so fresh and invigorating.
I made my way to Polaria one of the many museums in Tromso. I didn’t stop in to visit since I wanted to see more of the city.
I walked down into the center of town past Mack Brewery, I believe the northernmost brewery in the world.
I love roaming foreign cities. I love to see the shops , churches, residences and restaurants of the local folks. I stopped in a small grocery store and was surprised at the fresh produce so far north.
I made my way to Storgata the main pedestrian street, still lined with the old wooden houses that Tromso is famous for.
I walked past the Cathedral which is under repair,
and a Catholic Church were I stopped in for a quick visit.
I heard they have been getting a lot of rain in Tromso. It is usually a dry month and the reason I decided to visit now. The locals and tourist were enjoying the sunshine and the streets were crowded.
I walked to the dockside again and enjoyed the view. Here is a link to some photographs from my walk. Tromso afternoon walk part one. June 1 2018.
I continued to see and hear the many seagulls flying overhead.
I was enjoying my walk and wanted to continue but I was tired and wanted to get some sleep so I could get up to see the famous midnight sun. So, reluctantly, I returned to my hotel making a few stops along the way to observe the local shops. Tromso afternoon walk part two June 1 2018.
Once at my room, I checked out the weather forecast It was calling for rain later in the evening. I had planned to take the Fjellheisen or cable car and watch the midnight sun from atop a mountain overlooking Tromso. I decided to change my plans and visit the cable car while the sun was shinning. So I made my way to a local bus stop and took bus 26 to the cable car located across the water from my hotel.
It was a pleasant 15 minute ride and I was soon leaving the bus and enjoying the more rural residential neighborhood,
I arrived at the entrance, paid for my ticket and was soon riding the cable car to the top of the mountain.
The island on which Tromso is located sits in the middle of a fjord connecting to the sea about 30 miles west of the city.
It was cold up there and clouds were moving in and confirming I made the right decision.
I took in the view and also was treated to a show from this hang glider as he made his way off of the mountain.
It was well worth the trip. I stayed a half hour and took the next cable car down since I was tired and wanted to get some sleep in case the skies cleared at midnight. Here are some more photographs from my visit to Fjellheisen. Norway Day Two cable car visit June 1 2018.
I returned to my hotel, showered and visited a nice restaurant next to my hotel, the Vertshuset Skarven where I enjoyed a wonderful meal of seafood soup
I returned to my hotel and was able to sleep two hours. I set the alarm for 11 p.m. hoping the skies would have cleared. They didn’t and, although it was still light I wasn’t able to see the midnight sun on my first night in Norway. This was the view from my hotel. I wasn’t disappointed, I had a remarkable journey and adventure exploring the far north of Norway. And I knew there would be more adventures in store for me on this trip.
“A city isn’t so unlike a person. They both have the marks to show they have many stories to tell. They see many faces. They tear things down and make new again.”
― Rasmenia Massoud