Our travel day got a little lengthy due to the poor logistics of SAS Scandinavian Airlines (I don't recommend them) but we finally got into Tromsø.
Last summer, Reese and I spent our honeymoon in Iceland during the period of midnight sun where we didn't see darkness for about ten days. This time, it's the exact opposite. It's not dark the entire time, but this is as bright as it gets:
Yesterday, we wandered around town today, taking it easy while everyone recuperates from their exams and lack of sleep. The town center is small but lively, full of people enjoying the holiday market and lights hung across the snow and ice covered streets.
It's not as cold as everyone expected - at least not as cold as I was expecting, thank you Midwest winters. Right now (as the sun is almost down at noon) it's about -1 Celsius or 28 Fahrenheit. Overnight it snowed about two more inches and has been snowing on and off all day. They only use plows when they have to, trying to keep the roads nice for the summer, so they drive around with giant snow blowers to clean the fresh snow off the streets.
Tonight we are chasing the Northern Lights! This is what we came here for, why we even booked the trip - the Northern Lights. High on everyone's bucket list, we were determined to see them and see them we did.
I have pictures. If you're impatient to see them (dad) you can to scroll to the bottom and take a look. But, even though they say a picture is worth a thousand words, there's so much you cannot see in any of these photos.
We drove out with a small group of eight bracing for the colder air as we moved inland towards Sweden. Just a few miles from the border, we stop and pull over to the side of the road. "This is where we'll make our camp for the night," our guide told us. There was nothing in particular around. Our eyes had not adjusted yet. The only tracks in the snow before ours was that of a dog sled pack and the skis. "We'll make our own," the guide said.
Head lamps lit reflected off the snow in front of us making our immediate path bright and narrow as we lifted our legs through the foot and a half of virgin snow. We came to a clearing and set our stuff down. Our guide instructed us to turn off our headlamps and give our eyes a moment to adjust. We were nestled in between three mountains covered in snow bathing in the glow of the stars hanging in the night sky, undisturbed by city lights. It was almost brighter without the lights. The trees around us and up in the mountains had distinct outlines even without the lamps. The ground below us was not true ground but a frozen marsh leading to a lake. Our guide made a fire and hot chocolate and we settled in for the evening.
At first, you notice a cloud but it looks more like a stream in the sky. Your eyes adjust and then the stream is dancing. Then there are more colors. More beams of light. As if we'd summoned them, the lights appeared diffused and then more distinct. For a good portion of the night I captured the light and the colors in my camera, forever a souvenir of this magical night. But I'll be the first to admit, the photos I share are not the greatest lights of the night. No. For those the camera was untouched, unmoved while I laid on the ground in my heavy snowsuit and boots staring up at the sky hand in hand with Reese. Those are our moments.
But I'll share a few moments with the rest of the world and then it's bedtime for me.