It had always been on our list to once be able to see natures very own laser show- The Aurora Borealis (also known as the Northern Lights). In Feb 2012 we set out to Tromso in Norway to fulfill this dream. It took a lot of research to find the best location where there was high possibility of seeing this natural phenomenon. We zeroed in on Tromso which is one of the closest towns to the arctic pole and is in the arctic circle. Given that, it was obviously going to be freezing and as we dint have clothing that could withstand such extreme conditions, we had to go for some shopping!! 😛
With the flight tickets booked with a change over in Oslo, adventure sports booked and the Northen lights tour booked; we were all set.
We landed in Tromso and took a cab to our hotel which was right in centre of town- not that we were planning on using the public transport there anyway, but was good for finding something to eat and also had a supermarket close by for anything we needed.
It was our first night and armed with our SLR cameras, we were picked up by the Photography tour company that we had booked. I wanted to book with Kjetil Skogli but he was fully booked until almost 2013 winter!! So, after some research,we booked a night tour with Creative Vacations.
We went with another couple, so all of us were picked up from nearby our hotel and taken to a place (which was the photographers house) where he gave us a presentation about how to use the camera to its fullest ability to capture the beautiful event we were going to witness in the next couple of hours. This really helped as we had just bought an SLR to make sure we capture the lights and knew very little! 🙂 After some snacks to eat and a hot cuppa we set out on our chase. We were in a minivan with around 8-10 people. We reached a good spot with open sky all around us and set up our camera. Then it was wait wait wait for it to happen. The prediction for that day wasn’t great- was around 2-3 out of 10. Nothing happened for an hour or two, so we were driven again towards the Finnish border. At our next stop we were told it was almost Finland!! Again, we waited in the freezing temperature of -10 degrees( it was not very bad that weekend- lucky us:)). I had 4-5 layers on with a Balaclava and snow boots and I was still cold!! So nothing happened that day and we came back to our hotel disappointed at around 2am early next morning. Whoever we booked the tour with,wouldn’t have mattered that day as mother nature was not ready for the show yet.
With a few hours sleep, and a good breakfast later we set out for the next activity. Snow Mobile Safari!
Yes, making the giant bikes move according to how you want them to was quite some task. We booked this through lyngsfjord adventure. They were very good, timely pickup from a specified hotel in town, an hours journey through the beautiful locales of Tromso, good instruction about what we need to do and not during our ride and they also provided an overall to wear to protect from the cold. The safari lasted for around 3 in total ( both ways). While on the safari we were taken to a place which had knee high snow and when asked I was told it a lake! Yes, a frozen lake!! I was super excited on our way back after being given that information. Saw a couple of the bikes topple over as well. Back we were served some hot soup inside the SAMI tent before being driven back to our hotel.
That evening we were debating about what to do about our Aurora chase and we finally decided to book a local bus tour for our chase which was quite cheap and all these activities had already made a hole in our pockets 🙂 The bus was full with tourists from every part of the world hoping to get a glimpse of Aurora in all her splendor. The prediction that day was a little higher than the previous day and our hopes were high after the disappointment. Our bus driver got a call from someone saying they had spotted the lights somewhere and he drove to a location with open sky and we just had enough time to set up our camera before the magic began! I experienced something that I had never done before and I don’t think i will again unless we go on another trip to the Arctic. Aurora made her appearance and our joy knew no bounds when she started her beautiful dance 🙂 It was breathtaking- Green, Red and Purple were the colours on display! This was quite early in the night at around 9pm. Stayed there for a couple of hours and after the lights died down we made our way back to the hotel. On the way back we spotted the lights again and asked the driver to stop so we could click some more pictures. And I thought to myself that Aurora din’t disappoint me the 2nd time around…
I slept really well that night and we just couldn’t stop talking about it the next day. We had the whole day to ourselves and all we did was relax 🙂 We strolled through the town of Tromso and also found an Indian restaurant! Can you believe it- in the arctic!! We are everywhere these days 😛
The food was yummy, we ate till we thought our tummy would rip apart and prepared ourselves for what would come next- Dog Sledging Safari!
This was booked through the Lyngsfjord again but this time was in the evening (night I can say- it was dark at 4pm). I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had done this during the day as I wasn’t very comfortable with the pitch darkness of the night along with the snowing blowing in my face. One person had to stand on the sledge bars and guide the dogs/ brake at the right times and the other person would sit on the sledge. We had 5 hyper active dogs and they were all about chasing the sledge in front- very competitive!! Overall, it was a good experience- fell off the sledge into the snow a couple of times thanks to my hubby not braking at the right time! And almost went into a freezing water hole in the ice but thanks to my hubby for Braking at the right time this time!! lol! I made him fall as well- so no complaints 🙂
All this activity and the freezing temperatures had drained all our energy and tired we set out to catch our return flight on the 4th day of our trip. A few hours in Oslo for our connection, gave us time to walk through the city. There was nothing much to see, we just went to city centre had lunch and bought some souvenirs.
I found the below hilarious…it was in one of the shops in Oslo. All in all a much satisfying trip and we got to see what we had hoped to- The spectacular NORTHERN LIGHTS!