Arctic Cathedral, Aurora Borealis, Finnsnes, Hurtigruten, MS Trollfjord, North Cape, Northern Lights, Norway, Sami, Tromsø, Tromso
11.00. We’re three-quarters of the way up the Norwegian coast now, and that twilight period is short. We moored for 30 minutes at Finnsnes, and I first took some pictures from deck 8, behind glass. I’ve managed to crop some of the reflections from the last two.
The remainder were taken from outside, on deck 9. Minus 3° C.
The English-speaking briefing was held at 11.30. It included details about the four excursions for the following day. I was booked on to the first, a trip to the very northernmost part of the country, the North Cape.
I can’t now recall why they were so in advance about one excursion for two days on, a visit to a snow hotel and to huskies. Perhaps they were short of bookings.
This was followed by a short talk on the Sami people, which I found a very informative supplement to what I had learned when I had spent the New Year 2004/5 in northern Finland, aka Lapland, when a Sami called Sepo was one of our guides.
14.15 we pulled into Tromsø, 69.6°N. With four hours available I reckoned I couldn’t go wrong. There was only one excursion, a husky tour, but I just went for a walk. I needed a focal point, so I decided to make for the ‘Arctic Cathedral’. A midnight concert there had been scheduled for the return trip, but I now knew it would not be happening, and I wanted to see the building. It would mean going across the kilometre-long Tromsø Bridge, the city itself being on an island, so I assumed that there would be strong winds and dressed accordingly. In fact there was no wind, and I was plenty warm enough.
The Arctic Cathedral is not actually a cathedral, but a parish church seating 600 people, built in 1965 in the ‘long church‘ style. Sadly it was closed.
Has it been open, it would have been lit, and this magnificent stained glass window occupying the whole of the west end would have been visible from the outside. I took this picture of it from a very small backlit display panel.
As I walked back across the bridge, I turned round to take this. The light top centre is of the cable car terminal.
Back on the island. It was a real pleasure to walk in these conditions, with crunchy crisp snow underfoot.
I arrived at a small square and was just wondering what this sculpture represented, when I noticed a couple of people looking up to the sky… through their phones…
After the previous day’s talk I knew what that probably meant. Yes, there was some wispy ‘cloud’, and through my phone it gave this.
My first definite Northern Lights. And without being summoned on deck to see them, though no doubt those on board had been informed.
I continued making my way back towards MS Trollfjord.
I still had two hours in hand so allowed myself a slight deviation to the main, pedestrianised, shopping street.
I watched these two having fun for a couple of minutes.
Back on the boat, at 17.30 we were invited up on deck to see the Lights.
Not brilliant pictures, nor indeed a great manifestation of the Northern Lights, but mine own.