Spirit of Discovery blog
Up to the Chilly Climes!
A day at sea, during which we crossed into the Arctic circle, brought us up to northern Norway where we made our way into Tromso in the early hours of Friday the 5th (so early was the fjord entry, that I had to brew 2 cups of tea in succession to help digest my wake-up call).
Breivika pier, in the north of the city, would be our base for the day. Tromso is where the real Arctic fun begins, with organised excursions planned for dogsledding & reindeer sledding adventures as well as visits to the polar museum, a planetarium and the locally famous Arctic Cathedral.
Essentially, all manner of fun could be had here unless one were expecting a tropical swim or some sunbathing – in which case, one had booked the wrong cruise.
I embarked on an afternoon jolly to partake in a new sport to me: reindeer sledding. The brochure advertised that we would get to meet our reindeer, pet our reindeer, enjoy a sleigh ride behind the same reindeer and then…..eat reindeer.
I must say that the entire experience was excellent; the reindeer were lovely creatures and indeed delicious, too. Our local Sami hosts informed us about their lifestyle and even did a bit of singing, which is pronounced ‘yoiking’.
An overnight trip took us to the most northern town settlement in Europe – Honningsvaag. A short drive away lie the famous cliffs of North Cape; ‘mainland’ Europe’s most northerly point. Needless to say, many ventured off on trips to experience this, as well as the surrounding scenery of Mageroy Island, upon which Honningsvaag is situated but connected by road.
There was another interesting excursion on offer here which caught my eye, entailing a couple of hours sitting on a frozen lake dangling a fishing line into it through a hole. At the thought of catching my own supper, I signed up for some ice fishing.
Snowshoeing across the lake to find a little rod and a hole, it became apparent that I would probably not be catching enough to satisfy my appetite once I peered down and noted the diameter of said hole. I did, however, manage to catch a few tiddlers which would be used as bait for larger fish.
It was a great afternoon with plenty of laughs from other guests who joined, and a nice warming hot chocolate and reindeer skin to sit upon (yet another use for Santa’s tasty antlered companions).
With the sun setting early as it does in these parts in winter, it was time to head off to our next Arctic stop: Alta.
Captain Kim Tanner
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